Guide to Missouri Low Income Assistance Programs

Low-income families in Missouri are about to access enhanced housing assistance!

The Missouri Housing Development Commission announced the approval of 24 low-income housing projects with $380 Million from state and federal tax credits. These projects will add more than 1,500 new housing units to the market.

Housing assistance is merely one example of the types of assistance you can get from the government in Missouri if you recently lost your job or simply grapple with financial difficulties. In this blog, we'll equip you with all available resources by guiding you through the most useful assistance programs in the state.

Now, read on and explore programs you may qualify for!

1. Subsidized Apartment

During economic downturns, the weight of rental and mortgage can be overwhelming for many of us. Luckily, in Missouri, there are various existing public housing resources to lend you a hand if your income is no more than 80% of the area median income.

Missouri provides two types of rental subsidies for low-income families and individuals. One of these options is the Subsidized Apartment. Eligible individuals are allowed to choose their preferred apartment from a list of qualifying housing options.

2. Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)

The other option is Section 8, which allows greater flexibility in housing choices by offering eligible individuals rental vouchers that can be used towards housing expenses. You can contact the Public and Indian Housing (PIH) Information Resource Center to request additional information regarding these programs.

3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP is a federal food assistance program that provides monthly financial assistance to needy families. To apply for the benefit, you must live in Missouri, have a social security number for all members of your family, and meet income and resources requirements. More details about the requirements can be found here.

Typically, the review process takes around 30 days upon receiving your application documents. The benefit you can receive depends on your income and the household size. Once your application is approved, you will receive an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card by email, which can be used to purchase eligible food items like milk, vegetables, and meat at authorised retailers across Missouri.

4. Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program

If you are pregnant, or recently gave birth to a child, you may qualify for WIC. The program aims to provide nutritious food and nutrition education for women, infants and children.

WIC has 115 local agencies across the state that can help with the application process. All WIC applicants must be certified in person, and need to prove that the household income is at or less than 185% of the federal poverty income guidelines.

Fathers, grandparents, or other guardians may also apply on behalf of their children. Furthermore, families that qualify for SNAP or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) automatically qualify.

 5. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

5. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

If you are a participant of child care centers, after-school programs, or emergency shelters, you may qualify for the CACFP and receive reimbursement for well-balanced meals and snacks. It aims to serve nutritious food to children, disabled adults, and seniors aged 60 and above. The CACFP also provides training and technical assistance on nutrition, and nutrition education.

Your eligibility depends on several factors, including:

  • Children age 12 and under
  • Migrant children age 15 and younger
  • Youths through age 18 in the Area Eligible Snack Program and in emergency shelters
  • Functionally impaired children through age 18 in child care centers or day care homes.
  • Functionally impaired adult participants or adults age 60 and older enrolled in an adult day care center

You can visit a nearby CACFP office to apply for the benefit or get more information you need regarding the application process.

6. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

The ACP is a federal program that enables needy families to access affordable high-quality phone and internet connection. If your family income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or any family member participates in government assistance schemes like SNAP or WIC, your family will be eligible families for the benefit.

Upon qualifying for the ACP, you can receive up to a $30 monthly discount on internet service (up to $75 if you live on tribal lands). It also comes with additional perks like a one-time discount of up to $100 for a tablet or computer.

7. The Lifeline Program

Similar as ACP, Lifeline provides discounted mobile service to financially disadvantaged individuals and families. If your or your family income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or you participate in government assistance schemes like SSI, SNAP and Medicaid, you will qualify for the program.

Lifeline offers a basic phone service discount of at least $9.25 each month (up to $34.25 if you're living on tribal lands).

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Or you can drop by one of the EASY Wireless's retail stores, where our customer service agent will help you apply for the benefits.

8. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Energy costs during harsh winters and scorching summers in Missouri can be a heavy burden for low-income families. If you are struggling with such costs, LIHEAP is the assistance you need to pay heating bills and cooling bills, and cope with emergency energy needs when facing risks of disconnection.

LIHEAP offers a one-time payment to assist with your cooling or heating bills from October to May each year. To qualify for LIHEAP, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, including citizenship, income limits and family resources requirements. You will need to prove your responsibility to pay the bill and provide documents showing that you have $3,000 or less in all types of bank and investment accounts.

If you have received a termination or disconnect notice with a specific cutoff date from your energy provider, you can seek cash assistance through Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP), a special service provided by the program. The ECIP offers financial assistance up to $800 and $600 respectively in winter and summer.

9. Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

9. Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

Similar as LIHEAP, LIHWAP is a federal program that assists with your water or sewer bills from November to September. If you qualify for LIHEAP, chances are that you are also eligible for LIHWAP, as the requirements are identical.

LIHWAP offers up to $750 to help cover disconnection or re-connection fees, as well as overdue and current bills. You may apply online or call 855-373-4636 to mail you an application through a team member. Your application will be reviewed within around 30 business days upon submitting required documents.

If you need help with your water or sewer bill, don't forget to check your eligibility and apply before the deadline of December 31, 2023!

10. MO HealthNet (Medicaid)

Access to affordable healthcare is crucial for each member of low-income families. In Missouri, the government provides comprehensive coverage to less advantage groups such as children, pregnant women and elderly through MO HealthNet, the state Medicaid program.

MO HealthNet covers a wide range of healthcare needs, including outpatient, preventative care, vision care, dental services, hospital care as well as prescription coverage.

To qualify for MO HealthNet, you must be a low-income resident of the state of Missouri, a U.S. national, citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien that is in need of health care assistance. More details of the qualification requirements can be found here.