Benefits, Grants, Loans

    • Affordable Rental Housing
    • Benefits
    • Financial Aid for Students
    • Food Assistance
    • Grants and Loans
    • Help with Bills
    • Military Programs and Benefits
    • Retirement
    • Social Security Questions
    • State Social Service Agencies
    • Unemployment Help

    Learn about government programs to help pay for phone bills, medical bills, and other expenses. Find out about COVID rent assistance. And see if you qualify for welfare.

    On This Page

    • Get Help with Your Home Energy Bill
    • COVID-19 Rental Assistance
    • How Do I Get Help With My Medical Bills?
    • Welfare or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    • Get Help Paying for Telephone Service
    • Help with Prescription Drug Costs

    Get Help with Your Home Energy Bill

    If you can't afford to pay your home heating or cooling bill, you may be able to get help from the government or your local social services agency or nonprofit. 

    What help is available for my home energy bill?

    The  Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be able to help with:

    • Assistance to pay your heating or cooling bills
    • Emergency services in cases of energy crisis, such as utility shutoffs
    • Low-cost home improvements, known as  weatherization , that make your home more energy efficient and lower your utility bills.

    LIHEAP funds may not be used to pay water and sewer bills.

    Am I eligible for LIHEAP?

    This chart from shows the average LIHEAP eligibility requirements . Actual requirements may vary by state, city, or region. Each local LIHEAP office sets its own eligibility requirements.

    • A person or family participating in certain other benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF or welfare), or certain needs-tested veterans benefits may be automatically eligible.
    • Being qualified for LIHEAP does not guarantee that you will receive help. Whether or not you receive help depends on how much LIHEAP funding is available for the year.
    • On average, about 20% of households that are qualified for LIHEAP receive benefits. When LIHEAP funds run out for the year, no more benefits can be given until Congress makes more funds available.

    How do I apply for LIHEAP?

    Each state has different rules about when you can apply, how you apply, and the criteria you have to meet to get help.

    • Contact your  local LIHEAP office for application details.
    • Find a list of local intake agencies for your county at  LIHEAP Local Providers  or  202-401-9351

    Who do I contact for extra LIHEAP help?

    • To learn more about LIHEAP, see the program’s  frequently asked questions list.
    • If you need help with your LIHEAP application, contact your  local LIHEAP office  or  202-401-9351 .

    Are there other places I can get help if I don't qualify for LIHEAP?

    If your income is too high to qualify for LIHEAP but you need help paying for your energy bills, your local  social services agency or a nonprofit organization may have funds to help. You can also contact your gas, oil, or electric company about budget billing programs or new payment options especially for customers with disabilities who are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    COVID-19 Rental Assistance

    The government COVID-19 eviction moratorium has ended. Landlords now have the ability to evict renters who are not able to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a renter or as a landlord, government programs can help you with rent money and advice for your situation.

    Emergency Rental Assistance 

    Find rental assistance programs near you  from your state, local, or tribal government.

    Get Advice for Renters from a Housing Counselor

    • Speak with a HUD-approved housing counselor near you for advice on your specific situation.
    • HUD's  COVID-19 Resources for Renters page offers detailed advice if you're struggling to pay rent or are facing eviction. 

    Learn How to Avoid Eviction as a Renter

    Learn how to avoid eviction and how to make a payment plan with your landlord.

    Find Emergency Housing

    If you are going to be evicted and need emergency housing, call 211 for local housing help or search using HUD's Find Shelter tool .

    Recover Back Rent as a Landlord

    Learn how to recover back rent and find out about mortgage forbearance for your property if you are a landlord.

    How Do I Get Help With My Medical Bills?

    Learn how to find help from the government with medical bills and insurance options.

    Medicaid and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program)

    What help is available?

    Medicaid and CHIP help with medical bills for kids whose families cannot afford health insurance or cannot get it through work. Learn more about eligibility and how to sign up for Medicaid and CHIP .

    Social Security and Medicare

    What help is available?

    Local Social Security Administration (SSA ) offices help those on Social Security and Medicare find help. People over 65, people with disabilities under 65, and people with end-stage kidney disease are eligible for Medicare. Learn more about how to apply for Medicare .

    Medicaid for Adults

    What help is available?

    You may qualify for Medicaid , a joint federal/state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income.

    Am I eligible?

    Each state has different rules about eligibility and applying for Medicaid for adults. Learn more about eligibility.

    How do I apply?

    Each state has different application requirements for Medicaid for adults. Contact your state Medicaid program to see if you qualify and to learn how to apply.

    Health Insurance Through the Health Insurance Marketplace

    What help is available? helps you find insurance options, compare care, learn about preventive services, and more. If your employer does not offer insurance, you're self-employed, or you want to buy your own insurance, you can get it through the Marketplace. The Health Insurance Marketplace offers health, vision, and dental insurance for you and your family.

    Am I eligible?

    Everyone is eligible for health insurance through the Marketplace. You may also qualify for subsidies to help pay your premiums. If you’ve experienced a life change like childbirth or loss of a job, you may be able to make changes to your insurance in a special enrollment period .

    How do I apply?

    How you apply for a plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace depends on what plan you choose. Learn more about applying .

    How do I complain or where do I call for extra help?

    Visit the Health Insurance Marketplace's top questions section for more help with finding or applying for health care. To file a complaint, call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325 ).

    Is there anything else I need to know?

    If you need more help getting or paying for medical care, try these resources:

    • Contact your state or local social services agencies to find out if you qualify for any health care programs in your area.

    • Community clinics offer free or low-cost medical services including prenatal care.

    • Contact research institutes like the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health. They often list clinical trials seeking participants for research on medical conditions.

    • Find out how you may be able to lower the cost of your prescription drugs and medical devices .

    • Charity care programs help uninsured patients who cannot afford to pay their medical bills and do not qualify for government aid. The patient services department of your local hospital can help you find out if you're eligible. Reach out to the hospital before your medical service and explain your situation. If you do not qualify, the hospital may offer you a payment plan.

    • Learn about dental coverage options for people with limited incomes from:

      • Local and state health programs

      • Government insurance plans

      • Dental schools

      • Dental clinical trials

    • You may qualify for financial assistance programs to help with eye exams, surgery, prescriptions, or glasses.

    If you are uninsured or underinsured and must seek emergency medical treatment:

    • The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) guarantees you can get an emergency medical evaluation even if you cannot pay. Hospitals that get Medicare funding and provide emergency services must evaluate anyone who requests treatment. If your exam confirms that you have an emergency, including labor, they must stabilize you.

    Welfare or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federally funded, state-run benefits program. Also known as welfare, TANF helps families achieve independence after experiencing temporary difficulties.

    Learn About TANF

    Recipients may qualify for help with:

    • Food
    • Housing
    • Home energy
    • Child care
    • Job training

    Each state runs its TANF program differently and has a different name . Some tribal groups operate their own TANF programs.

    Find Out If You're Eligible for TANF 

    • Each state or tribal territory has its own rules for who is eligible for financial help, services, or other benefits.
    • You must be a resident of the state where you are applying.

    Apply for TANF

    Contact your nearest TANF office to sign-up for benefits.

    Report TANF Fraud

    If you suspect possible welfare fraud, contact:

    • Your local TANF office 
    • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General’s Fraud Hotline

    Get Help Paying for Telephone Service

    Find out how you can get help paying for landline or cell (wireless) telephone service.

    What help is available to pay for phone service?

    Lifeline is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program. It helps individuals and families who have a low income get discounted landline or cell phone service. Some people also qualify for a free phone.    

    Am I eligible for the Lifeline program?

    You may qualify for this program if you or your family meet one of the following:

    • Have income at 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines
    • Participate in a government program including:
      • Head Start (if you meet income eligibility criteria)
      • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
      • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
      • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamps or SNAP)
      • Medicaid
      • Live on tribal land and qualify for certain tribal programs
      • Receive a federal veterans pension

    How do I apply for Lifeline?

    Find a company in your area that offers Lifeline. You must apply through a local participating company.

    • Ask the company for a Lifeline application. They will need the following information from you:
      • First and last name
      • Address
      • Date of birth
      • Last 4 digits of your Social Security number (or tribal identification number)
    • You will also need to show at least one of these items:
      • Unexpired ID such as a driver's license
      • Prior year's tax return
      • Social Security card
      • Other documents to prove your identity
    • You will need to prove your eligibility by:
      • Showing a pay stub or tax return to prove that your income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines , or by
      • Showing a card or award letter to prove that you or your family participate in one of the following government programs:
        • Medicaid
        • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamps or SNAP)
        • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
        • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
        • Other qualifying programs

    Who do I contact for extra help with Lifeline?

    Your local phone company has the responsibility of helping you apply for Lifeline. They can also help you resolve any issues with your Lifeline service. To call them, look up your company's contact information .

    If you need more help or your company isn’t responding, contact the Lifeline Support Center .

    They can:

    • Find companies that offer Lifeline-supported service
    • Look up which company you are using
    • Help if your company refuses to help you or is unresponsive
    • Answer questions about how the program works

    They cannot:

    • Help you apply for Lifeline
    • Buy more minutes
    • Sort out your bill
    • Replace lost or broken handsets
    • Help you get specific information about your service plan

    Is there anything else I need to know about the Lifeline program?

    • To continue with your Lifeline service, you must recertify every year .
    • If you can't afford a telephone, contact your local government or state social service agency . Local and state government agencies can help you find an emergency cell phone donation program near you.

    Help with Prescription Drug Costs

    Programs from government agencies and pharmaceutical companies can help you pay for prescription drugs. Check with each program to find out if you’re eligible and how to apply.

    Find Programs to Help With Prescription Drug Costs

    • Contact the pharmaceutical companies that make your prescription drugs or devices, and ask for any low-cost options, samples, or discounts.

    • Learn about finding generic drugs to lower your costs.

    • State social services agencies and local health centers provide direct assistance to people in distress or with limited access to health care with assistance and referrals to other local organizations that may be able to help.

    • You or your child may qualify for Medicaid or CHIP. Learn more about these programs.

    • If you are eligible for Medicare, you can get help paying for your prescriptions through Medicare Part D .

    Get Help Choosing the Right Program for You

    If you need additional help finding the right patient assistance program for you, or you want to make a complaint about a program, contact RXAssist .

    Last Updated: July 8, 2022

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