For many of us in Missouri, it has been undoubtedly a year filled with challenges and unexpected twists and turns. As we move forward, it's only natural to hope for a brighter year. However, the forecast results from the experts are not painting a rosy picture.
If you've been grappling with financial difficulties this past year or find yourself concerned about what lies ahead, now is the moment to fasten your seat belt and equip yourself with all available resources and support to navigate the uncertainties and perhaps more challenges of the coming year.
So here we are, gathering key information of the most important Missouri low income assistance programs that can lend you a helping hand during tough times. Now, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, read on and explore the resources available for low income families and individuals in Missouri!
Food Assistance Programs
Struggling with food insecurity? In Missouri, there are many government funded programs that provide vital assistance to low income residents.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP provides monthly financial assistance to needy families through electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, which can be used to purchase eligible food items at authorized retailers. The benefit amount depends on your income and the household size.
To apply for the benefit, you must live in Missouri and meet income and resources requirements. It typically takes around 30 days to process your application. Once you're approved, you will receive your EBT card to buy nutritious food and improve your life.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program
WIC priorities nutrition education and access to healthy food for women, infants and children. To qualify for the benefit, you need to provide proof that your household income is at or less than 185% of the federal poverty income guidelines.
Whether you are pregnant or a new mom, you can apply for the benefit by contacting WIC local agency. 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.
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
If you are a participant of child care centers, family child care homes or emergency shelters, you may qualify for the CACFP and receive reimbursement for well-balanced meals and snacks.
The program aims to serve nutritious food to children, disabled adults, and seniors aged 60 and above. CACFP also provides training and technical assistance on nutrition, and nutrition education.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
During harsh Missouri winters and scorching summers, energy costs can become a burden for low-income households. LIHEAP is designed to assist eligible Missourians in paying their energy bills and provide emergency services to those at risk of disconnection.
LIHEAP offers a one-time payment to assist with your cooling or heating bills from October to May each year. If you've received a termination or disconnect notice with a specific cutoff date from your energy provider, you can also seek cash assistance through the program's Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP). The ECIP provides financial assistance up to $800 in winter. During the summer, the maximum amount you can get is $600.
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.
Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
Similar as LIHEAP, LIHWAP is another federal program that helps with your water or sewer bills. 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 reconnection fees, as well as overdue and current bills. If you find yourself in need of help with your water or sewer bill, don't forget to apply before the deadline of December 31, 2023!
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.
During economic downturns, the weight of rental and mortgage can be overwhelming for many of us. Luckily, in Missouri, there are various resources to help you get through the difficult times.
There are two types of rental subsidies for low-income families in Missouri. One of these options is the Subsidized Apartment, which enables eligible individuals to choose their preferred apartment from a list of qualifying housing options.
Public Housing and 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.
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.
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).
If you qualify for the ACP or Lifeline, you may score the EASY Wireless Unlimited Plan, which includes a FREE smartphone by applying directly through EASY Wireless. The plan also include:
- FREE Unlimited Data
- FREE Unlimited Talk
- FREE Unlimited Text
- FREE SIM Card Kit and Activation
- Choose to Keep Your Number or Get a New One
To get started with EASY Wireless, apply online by clicking the below:
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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.
Visit us for all your cell phone and wireless service needs today!