Do you know that there are a wide range of government assistance programs in Oklahoma that can help you live an easier life?
In this coming new year, when it comes to tackling financial challenges, you won't have to do it all alone. In this guide, you will learn about the steps you need to take to make use of the various Oklahoma government assistance programs that will help improve your life quality, be it about housing, healthcare, nutrition, or education for your children.
Let's get started with the help that will change your life.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, was set up to provide needy families and individuals with payment assistance to buy nutritious food. The program's basic eligibility requirements include identity (U.S. citizen or legal alien), work requirements and income limits.
Under SNAP, the benefits are deposited directly into Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. SNAP recipients can use them the same way as they do for debit cards to buy eligible food in authorized food stores or Farmers' Markets.
Eligible items include most basic food, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, breads and cereals. Recipients are not allowed to use the EBT cards to buy non-essential items, such as beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, vitamins, medicines, and supplements.
Oklahoma Women, Infants & Children Program (WIC)
Women and children typically require more nutritious food and supplements, especially during specific periods. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and need support on nutritious foods or breastfeeding, WIC is the program you need.
The program offers supplemental food packages to help participants maintain a nutritious diet, along with nutrition education classes and free consultation sessions with registered dietitian. WIC also supports women have recently given birth, infants and children who meet the requirements.
To qualify for the program in Oklahoma, you must live in the state and meet the family income limits. If you are a recipient of Medicaid, SNAP or TANF, you will be automatically eligible for WIC.
Employment & Training Support
Trade Adjustment Assistance
While bringing cheaper products, the expansion of international trade has had negative impact on many workers in Oklahoma. The manufacturing sector, for example, is one of the industries that has been hit hard.
If you are one of the lucky workers who got laid off from a certified company, you can get the assistance needed to get reemployed. Eligible workers can receive assistance on job search, training, relocation and other related benefits.
Child Care Subsidy
Oklahoma offers child care subsidy through the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant. This program aims to assist parents who are working, attending school, or participating in job training by providing subsidy for licensed child care services.
The program is primarily intended to support low-income families with children aged 13 or younger. To qualify for the child care subsidy, you have to meet certain eligibility criteria, including income limits and employment or education requirements.
The subsidy will be paid directly to the child care provider on your behalf. The amount is determined based on a combination of factors such as family size, income, and the number of children in care. Families with lower incomes typically receive a higher level of assistance.
SoonerCare (Oklahoma Medicaid)
If you are grappling with mounting medical bills, SoonerCareis exactly what you need in Oklahoma. The program is designed to support low income individuals and families who have difficulties in paying medical bills.
As long as you are a U.S. citizen or qualified alien that live in Oklahoma, and meet certain financial income and resources standards, your medical bills will be taken care by the government. This includes doctor visits, hospitalization and prescriptions.
Medicare, on the other hand, offers financial assistance mainly to seniors or disabled younger individuals. In Oklahoma, Medicare operates similarly to how it does in other states, offering coverage for various healthcare services through health plans provided by private companies that contract with Medicare.
To get specific information about Medicare plans or enrollment periods in Oklahoma, you can contact or visit the official website of the Oklahoma Human Services for personalised guidance.
Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) offers two rental assistance programs to assist low-income families in paying their rent.
One of the assistance programs is the Housing Choice Voucher program. It offers rental assistance to eligible families, allowing them to choose an apartment in any location as long as the property owner accepts the voucher. The chosen apartment also needs to meet the Housing Quality Standards inspection criteria. Once approved, the benefit will remain with you, even if you decide to move to a different property.
The other program is Performance Based Contract Administration. Under this program, you can directly apply for qualifying apartments by contacting the property management offices, and inquire about the specific selection criteria for each property. Unlike the Housing Choice Voucher program, the rental subsidy is tied to the apartment itself. Therefore, if you decide to move, you will need to reapply for assistance.
Cost of Living Support
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Heating or cooling can cost more than expected amid high inflation. Instead of putting up with adverse living conditions, you can apply for the LIHEAP subsidy to reduce your burden.
The program pays utilities bills on be half of eligible low income households, allowing them to access uninterrupted services. Eligibility requirements include income, household size, available resources and responsibility for payment.
It's important to note that Oklahoma Department of Human Services ceased accepting LIHEAP applications since August 11 this year. If you are planning to apply for the benefit in the coming year, make sure to pay close attention to any updates or changes.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
The ACP is a federal program that enables low income 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 programs 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 low-income 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 programs 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 a FREE smartphone by applying directly with EASY Wireless. The EASY Wireless Unlimited Plan also include:
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