Need help right now? Here’s a list of some government programs that can help.
Did we miss one? Email us.
Philadelphia has a program to help tenants who need rent assistance. To be eligible, you need to rent an apartment or house in Philly, have a current written lease signed by your landlord, and have lost income because of COVID-19. You also need to meet other eligibility requirements. Apply here.
Public housing is government-owned, affordable rental houses or apartments for low-income families, people who are elderly, and people with disabilities. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Find out if you are eligible. Some of the factors: Your gross annual income, whether you qualify as elderly, if you have a disability, U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.
If you need public housing help or want to find out about other housing programs such as housing choice vouchers, reach out to your local public housing agency.
Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) help with pay medical costs for children of families who cannot afford health insurance or don’t get it through their work.
There are two ways to apply for Medicaid.
Contact your state agency:
Here is how to apply in New Jersey: njhelps.org
Here is how to apply in Pennsylvania: compass.state.pa.us/compass.web/Public/CMPHome
Apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
The CARES Act provides for Economic Impact Payments to American households of up to $1,200 per adult for individuals whose income was less than $99,000 (or $198,000 for joint filers) and $500 per child under 17 years old, or up to $3,400 for a family of four.
Finding status of your stimulus check
TANF is a federally funded, state-run benefits program, also known as welfare. Apply at your local or county social services agency:
LIHEAP helps families with energy costs.
To apply, either contact the local LIHEAP office. Here is a list of all offices by state.
Also in Philadelphia is the new Water Payment Program available for low-income Philadelphia residents. Starting July 1, the Philadelphia Water Department will offer a low-income assistance program that will offer payments based on household income, not water usage, making monthly bills more affordable and consistent. For more information, call the Water Department at 215-685-6300.
To get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP benefits, more commonly referred to as food stamps, you must apply in the state in which you currently live and you must meet some eligibility criteria (which looks at things like your income).
The City of Philadelphia maintains this list of where you can get free food and meals.
The Small Business Paycheck Protection Program established by the CARES Act provides small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, veterans’ organizations, and tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. Apply here.
To apply for unemployment benefits: here is the unemployment link for New Jersey. https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/UnemploymentBenefits/Find-Unemployment-Benefits.aspx?newsearch=true&location=NJ&persist=
Here is the unemployment link for Pennsylvania. https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/UnemploymentBenefits/Find-Unemployment-Benefits.aspx?newsearch=true&location=PA&persist=
PUA is available if you haven’t been eligible for unemployment benefits, including if you’re self-employed, an independent contractor or a gig worker.
New Jersey’s WIC is a preventive public health nutrition program that provides nutrition and breastfeeding education, nutritious foods, and improved access to regular health care and social services to low and moderate-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women and young children with, or at risk of developing nutrition-related health problems. Find out here if you are eligible. Apply through your local WiC agency or clinic.