How to Apply for Welfare

Knowing how to apply for welfare ensures that a family in need will get assistance as soon as possible. However, some people may be too embarrassed to ask or just don't know where to begin. Before you investigate your welfare options, you should know that not just everyone can apply for welfare-certain income, asset and ability criteria must be met.

Each state sets a maximum income limit for applicants. If the household income is at or below a certain level, the applicant will qualify. The number of people in the home can also affect that income level-the more people in the home, the higher the income level can be.

1. Visit your state's department of health and human services. If you don't have Internet access, visit the nearest office in person. Ask for help when you are assigned a caseworker.

2. Fill out an application for welfare assistance. Include the full name and social security number of everyone in the household, including children.

3. Provide proof of income. Proof could include the last month's worth of pay stubs or the last year's tax return.

4. Present any additional information. The state office might require proof of residency, child support or spousal support orders, birth certificates and even mortgage or rent agreements. The particular details can vary from state to state, so inquire about which documents you will need.

5. Submit to an interview by the caseworker to outline your needs. The interview can be done by phone if the applicant is unable to get transportation or is disabled in any way.

6. Allow some time for the caseworker to review the application. Short-term emergency assistance can be offered for families in dire need while the application is processed. Be prepared to provide any additional documents to the caseworker as requested.

7. Receive the various forms of welfare. Food stamps and cash assistance will be distributed via a charge card, which is re-supplied with a specified amount each month. Medicaid cards will be issued to the applicant for medical assistance.

8. Report any changes in your living conditions to your caseworker immediately. If you get a new job, you lose a job, a teenage child moves out for college or a spouse's job situation changes, then the amount you receive will adjust accordingly.

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