First, an explanation, in case you are just totally new around these parts. By profession, I'm an eligibility specialist--I determine eligibility for Food Stamps, as administered by the Department of Agriculture, TANF, (temporary aid for needy families, a monthly or year cash grant), and certain types of Medicaid. There is one food stamp program. There is three different TANF programs. There are *a lot* of Medicaid programs.
I'll get to that later. Bookmark this if someone you know is affected by breast or cervical cancer.
Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer.
The base eligibility requirements are right there. This does not mean you qualify instantly--these are guidelines, but a lot more goes into eligibility. I always, and I mean, *always*, say go in and apply. We're not going to laugh you out of the office if you don't. But seriously, a *lot* more people qualify than they think they do.
Again, this isn't my speciality--I certainly won't be determining your case eligibility. But I'm passing familiar with how it's done. So. There you go.
Now, more specifically. If you think you may qualify for assistance, if you think you may need it in the future, if you think that you know someone who might, this entry is for you. I'll try to explain, as best I can, exactly what it is and what we do, so you know where to go and what to ask.
Disclaimer: This is informational. Do not, and I repeat this, do *not* read this and cite it to a caseworker as a reason you are eligible. Thsi is a very loose explantion of benefits available by my department, and pretty much already public information anyway.
Instituted before my mother was born, or near about. It is funded by the department of agriculture and falls under what's called 'entitlements'. That means you, as a citizen, or your child, as a citizen, is entitled to the use of foodstamps to supplment your monthly income if you qualify under eligibility rules. This means if you are *not* a citizen, but you have a citizen child, that child may qualify. This means if you, a single man or woman, is a citizen, you may qualify, with certain restriction and limits that your caseworker will discuss with you. This is not welfare. Your taxes fund this for the very real possibility that you may one day need it. So please. I get the entire pride and Bowie/Crockett nonsense of self-reliance and going to kill your own buffalo for dinner. But buffalo these days are far and in between, and let's face it, you and the family aren't the best butchers in history, and is your fridge big enough for all that meat? Thought not.
Get to it. My job exists to serve. Pride has its place, but I see the gamut, from Dell execs on layoff, programmers, lawyers, doctors, dentists, to prostitutes, addicts, and homeless people. You cannot surprise us.
Anyone who is a citizen or in certain legal alien status categories, and if you ask me what they are, I can and will stick my tongue out at you, because there's a *lot*, can apply for food stamps. If you don't know? Ask. It's a huge help.
TANF is temporary aid for dependent children. It acts as a replacement for child support and comes in grant (money) form. It is an amazing hoop-jumping circus to get it, requires volunteer service and orientation, and the amount is the second lowest in the country. We beat Arkansas, people. It's *low*. The restrictions are too many to even adequately describe. There are provisions for two parent families available.
Let me say this again. TANF is a nightmare. When you apply for it, your caseworker will explain it, but suffice to say, it's only redeeming value is the fact it comes with free child care for single parents. I love that bit so much.
TANF requires well below poverty level income. When I say below poverty level, we all know that the federal income poverty level is ridiculously low. Cut that in about a fourth and you have the TANF limit. It is not easy to get or to keep. But. You're a single paretn with a kid, or a family with kids, always ask. Even a relatively new caseworker who has TANF training can take a look at your app and give you your chances on receiving it.
Medical care, funded by the federal government. There are more programs then I can count. I only specialize in a few of the simple ones: Children below eighteen, Pregnant Women, and Parents With Children. If you have a child below the age of eighteen and without health insurance or with insufficient health insurance, I'd go in and ask someone to read the chart to see if your income qualifies. Give them gross, not net. We are gross-type people.
If you have an aged or disabled person, go to Aged adn Disabled Services. Ask about it. Our clerks are pretty well informed. If you are in teh Austin area, go to the Airport Blvd office, second floor.
Children's Health Insurance Program -- Perry gutted it beautifully, but there's some life left in it. For basic medical care and for advanced, it's not bad at all, about on par with any normal health insurance you cna get commerically. No dental. Higher income limits than Medicaid. The easiest way to apply is to go in and apply for Medicaid, then if you don't qualify, we send a referral automatically, and an application will be sent to you in the mail. If it's not, call CHIP and they will mail you one. This is *not* one of my program specialities, so I'm pretty much teling you teh same thing I'd tell you in teh office.
Medicare Cost Share Programs
If you have an elderly relative on Medicare, this is for you. Cost Share helps pay the cost of the Medicare premium. Ask about it. Badger about it. Your local human services office might look blank, and if they do, ask to speak to a supervisor or a caseworker. I *am* trained in this and eligibility specialists in Austin and San Marcos were trained in this. Outer regions, not so sure of this. Otherwise, you can get it from Aged and Disabled services.
Say the entire thing. Medicare Cost Share Programs. Then they will know you mean business.
As with everything else, this information comes wiht a price. Please, do not print this out and wave it at eligibility specialists. Anyone who has met me will pretty much instantly recognize who this is, or start tracking down with a really high chance of success, since we are not a huge office and really, I have done enough in this LJ to seriously narrow down the possibilities. And I can and will cry about it on LJ for so many long, depressing posts that it will be unbelievable and so dreadfully boring.
Yeah. That was cheering.
Now, for more general.
Your state has specific programs for different kinds of medical care. Your absolute best bet is finding the *people* that determine it. Ask at the local office. Email at the websites. Put in +Medicaid and +your state name and hit google. That's pretty much what I do at the office when tracking down what people got as benefits recnetly in another state. I'm still searching through the DADS website for the otehr Medicaid programs, since health care is a biggie with most people, and if and when I find anything, I will link up.
Wow, wnas't this a post of big fun? *sighs* I wnat my friendslist icons back now.