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Low-Income Benefit Program Resources Available Online


The five main state-administered low-income benefit programs — SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps), Medicaid, CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and child care assistance — provide a critical safety net to tens of millions of Americans.

Virtually all states now provide information on these programs and related services on their agency websites.  Some states provide both online and printable applications, pre-screening tools, and the policy and procedure manuals that state agency eligibility workers use.  A number of states allow individuals to apply for benefits and transact certain related business online.

The Center has updated two papers that round up these resources, state by state:  one specific to SNAP and another with links across each of the five programs. Individuals seeking information about eligibility and benefits in a particular state will find these papers a useful place to start.

Most state human service agencies also provide phone numbers for families to seek additional information.  In addition, individuals in most states (as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) can call 2-1-1 on any type of telephone for help finding out about many kinds of assistance, including emergency help with food, housing, or clothing, physical or mental health treatment, and assistance for the aged, people with disabilities, and families with children.