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PROGRAMS ASSISTING THOSE LIVING IN POVERTY

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In Georgia, there are various programs that help people living in poverty.  These programs include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), Head Start, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). SNAP is a program that provides low-income households with food stamps to help pay for the cost of food. In order to be eligible for SNAP in Georgia, you must be a resident of the state and have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) of under $3,001 if you share your household with a person with a disability or person over age 60. If you do not fit into these categories, your bank balance must be under $2,001. You must also have an annual household income (before taxes) below a certain amount (for example, no more than $32,630 for a family of 4).

Another program supporting low-income families is TANF, which provides temporary assistance to families. This program has four goals, which includes giving families support and job preparation.  In order to be eligible for TANF, you must be a US citizen, national, legal alien, or permanent resident, and also have a low income. For example, a family of three must have an income of less than $784/month to qualify for TANF. The amount of cash benefit this program provides depends on the county you live in and your family’s income.  However, there is a five year lifetime limit on TANF benefits.

Head Start, a federal program, educates and supports infants and children up to five years old in families with incomes under the national poverty level. Head Start programs enhance young children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development and work to prepare them for success in school. There are also some Early Head Start programs which support pregnant women and babies living in poverty. The maximum income eligibility for Head Start depends on your household size. However, there are groups eligible for Head Start programs regardless of income including:

  • Children in foster care
  • Homeless children
  • Children from families receiving public assistance (such as TANF or SSI)

Due to limited government funding, Head Start cannot accept every eligible child and frequently has wait lists.

There are also housing vouchers available in Georgia which help some struggling with finances to pay their rent, such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8). You can check on the waiting list status in your county and submit an application here. This voucher program is not available for those living in 10 Georgian counties (including DeKalb and Fulton counties).  If you live in these counties, you may contact your local housing authority for assistance.

There are other programs helping Georgians, including Georgia Energy Assistance Program, Unemployment Insurance, The School Breakfast Program, and Summer Food Service Program. For a useful, user-friendly application to apply for food stamps, TANF, refugee cash assistance, and/or Medicaid, please click here.

 If you have any questions about programs assisting those living in poverty, please contact this law firm.