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Public benefits and community resources

Common Public Benefits

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Even if you or your family already has health insurance, you may be eligible for the CHIP program if your family's income is low to moderate and you have a child under age 19.

Fuel Assistance: Fuel Assistance provides eligible households with help in paying winter heating bills. The program pays benefits of fixed amounts based on household income.

Head Start: Head Start is a Federal program that promotes the school readiness of children from low-income families from birth to age five by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. Head Start programs provide a learning environment that supports children's growth in many areas such as language, literacy, and social and emotional development. Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child's first and most important teacher. These programs help build relationships with families that support family well-being and many other important areas.

Medicaid: Medicaid pays for healthcare for certain people with low and moderate incomes. Medicaid offers healthcare benefits directly or by paying part or all of your health insurance premiums.

School Breakfast and Lunch Program: The goal of the School Breakfast and Lunch Programs is to safeguard the health and well being of school children by establishing good eating habits through the availability of adequate food. Public and nonprofit schools, residential child care institutions, juvenile correctional institutions, and boarding schools may participate in these programs.

Special Milk Program: The Special Milk Program (SMP) reimburses contractors for milk that they serve to school and preschool aged children who do not otherwise participate in a Federal child nutrition meal service program. SMP clients include children who are enrolled in private nonprofit schools, child care facilities, or summer camps.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): The WIC Program provides supplemental food, nutrition education and referrals to health care, at no cost, to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are determined to be at nutritional risk.

Summer Food Service: The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free, nutritious meals to children who might otherwise go hungry when the school year has ended or is closed. The meals are usually provided along with educational or recreational activities. The program reimburses contractors who serve meals that meet certain nutritional standards to children.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), began in the United States in the late 1930's to help people buy and eat nutritious food, be stronger, and make up a more productive society. In 1971, the Food Stamp Program became a nationwide entitlement program. That means that as long as you meet the rules for SNAP, you have a legal right to the benefit.

Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children: Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program provides temporary cash assistance and supportive services to children, individuals, and their families. Every person has the right, and is afforded the opportunity, to apply for any category of assistance administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance.

Unemployment Insurance: Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own that meet their state's eligibility requirements.

Weatherization Assistance Program: The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for low-income households includes the installation of weather stripping, caulking, storm windows, insulation, and other materials as well as burner testing, tune-up, and minor repairs.

Common Community Resources

Temporary Financial Assistance: Some cities, towns, and community based organizations offer short-term cash assistance to households in need.

Food Pantries: Local organizations offer food and sometimes household items to community members in need.

Fuel Cooperatives for Oil Heat: Local cooperatives that negotiate lower price heating oil for copperative members.