Assistance Programs in the State of Idaho

The state of Idaho has a population of 1.65 million with a poverty rate of 15% which is about average. The poverty rate among children is higher at 18%. There are over 237 000 Idaho residents living in a state of poverty. Many single parents, families, and individuals struggle with basic necessities and bills. Fortunately, there are many assistance programs in Idaho available to the low income. This guide will list and explain the assistance programs available in Idaho.

Financial Assistance in Idaho

Many Idaho families are in need of financial assistance as they struggle with basic bill payments. There is a cash assistance program available in Idaho as explained below.

Idaho Temporary Assistance for Families in Idaho (TAFI)

The Idaho TAFI program provides financial relief payments to the low income families of Idaho.The cash assistance is meant to be used to help with payments and bills. This program also assists parents with job training and preparation to help them locate better employment.

To be eligible for this program, you must be a resident of Idaho, and have a child under the age of 19 living in your household. To learn more, and to apply, visit the Idaho TAFI webpage

Idaho Unemployment Insurance (UI)

The Idaho UI program provides financial relief payments to those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. You will receive weekly/bi-weekly payments based on the amounts you made with your last employer.

To learn more and UI and to apply, visit the Idaho UI webpage.

Food Assistance In Idaho

Some families face difficulties providing their family with the necessary nutritious food to stay healthy. There are some useful food assistance programs in Idaho for the low income.

Idaho Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Idaho SNAP program provides food assistance benefits to the low income households of Idaho. The food assistance is received onto a card loaded with funds, called the Idaho Quest Card. The Idaho Quest card functions like a debit card, simply swipe the card at participating grocery stores when paying for your food.

In order to be eligible for the SNAP program, you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more about SNAP and to apply check out the Idaho SNAP webpage.

Idaho Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Idaho WIC program provides nutrition assistance with food benefits, nutrition education, as well as health care and social service referrals to pregnant, postpartum women, and their children up to age 5. In order to be eligible for this program you must be considered low income, and be considered at a nutritional risk by a health care provider.

To be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To apply for WIC you must contact the WIC area nearest your location. You can use this Idaho WIC locator to find the WIC office closest to you. To learn more about WIC, visit the Idaho WIC website.

Idaho School Breakfast and Lunch Program

The Idaho School Breakfast and Lunch Program provides free or lost cost breakfasts’ and lunches to under privileged school children while they are attending school. Your household income and family size decide whether or not the meals are free or low cost.

To be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To apply for this program you must contact the school your child attends. You can use this list of Idaho Schools to find your child’s school. To learn more about this program, visit the Idaho Child Nutrition website.

Idaho Food Banks

If your are really struggling with food and hunger, there are many food banks located throughout Idaho. The food offered is nutritious and also free of charge. To locate a food bank in your area, take a look at this list of Idaho Food Banks.

Medical Assistance in Idaho

Medical costs are very expensive making it essential to have a health insurance plan. If you are of low income you can qualify for Medicaid in Idaho.

Idaho Medicaid Program

The Idaho Medicaid Program offers health insurance to those who currently do not have any health insurance. Idaho Medicaid covers a variety of health services which include:

  • doctor’s visits
  • prescription drugs
  • lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
  • hospital care
  • eye care
  • dental care
  • treatments
  • vaccination
  • MRI’s

Medicaid eligibility is based on your income along with  the number of people living in your household. It is important to note that not all services will necessarily be covered, and some services might require you to pay a portion of the costs depending on the service and your income. To learn more about Medicaid including how to apply, check out the Idaho Medicaid webpage.

Idaho Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP)

Idaho Children’s health Insurance Plan SCHIP is the health insurance plan for the children of Idaho who do not qualify under any other plan. Idaho SCHIP covers all the same medical services that Medicaid covers. Depending on your family’s income, there are some premiums that will have to be paid, however they are usually very inexpensive.

The income levels required are a lower then Medicaid, making it easier to qualify. To learn more about SCHIP and to apply, check out the Idaho SCHIP webpage.

Child Care Assistance in Idaho

Many low income single parents and families simply cannot afford child care due to the costs. Some parents are unable to work full time because they have to stay home and care for their child. Fortunately, there are some child care assistance programs available in Idaho.

Idaho Child Care Program (ICCP)

The Idaho Child Care Program provides child care assistance by paying a portion of your child care costs. The amount of your child care costs that are paid by the ICCP depend on your income, household size etc.

You must be of low income to qualify. Also the parents must either be working, or participating in job training, or attending school. To learn more about this program and to apply, visit the Idaho Child Care Program website.

Idaho Head Start Program

The Idaho Head Start Program provides child care assistance and increases readiness of young children from the ages of 0-5 by enhancing their social and emotional development in preparation for school. In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements.To learn more and to apply check out the Idaho Head Start website.

Housing and Rental Assistance in Idaho

Housing and rent costs are difficult for many low income singe parents and families, placing a financial burden on them. Fortunately, there are many housing and rental assistance programs available.

Idaho Low Income Public Housing Program

The Idaho Low Income Public Housing Program provides residents of Idaho with greatly reduced rent payments in housing arrangements owned by the local Public Housing Agencies in your area of the state. Usually you will be placed in an apartment, however it can also be single houses or condos. The housing Agencies receive funding from the state, who then use the funds to provide the low income with very low rent payments in safe and sanitary living conditions. To be eligible you must be of low income, usually set at 50% at the median income in the area you live, however this is just a guideline which needs to be discussed with the Housing Agency.

To apply, you must go through your local Housing Agency. This list of Idaho Housing Agencies provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across Idaho. Once you find the Housing Agency in your area, you can contact them to find out the specific income guidelines required, as well as any details or questions you might have about the program.

Idaho Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Idaho Housing Choice Voucher Program also provides reduced rent costs, however with this program you are able to choose your own living arrangements. It can be difficult locating a well priced apparent that is large enough in size and of high quality, as a result this program enables you to afford high quality apartments. Once you have chosen your home, the Housing Agency provides a voucher to your landlord which covers a good portion of your rent payments. You will only pay a portion of your total rent payment, usually 30-40% of the total rent cost.

To be eligible you must be of low income. To apply you must set up an appointment with your local Housing Agency where you will discuss your income and more.

Idaho Affordable Apartment Search

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development department along with the state of Idaho offers a useful tool, that allows you to search for well priced apartments that are located in you area of the state. To use this tool, check out the Affordable Apartment locator.

Idaho Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Idaho LIHEAP program assist low income households in paying their energy bills, primarily heating and cooling bills. Depending on your income, LIHEAP can also provide a one time utility payment to those who qualify.

To be eligible for this program, you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more and to apply, you can visit the Idaho LIHEAP webpage.

Idaho Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The Idaho WAP program ensures homes are energy and fuel efficient, thus resulting in cheaper energy bills. The WAP program will check for air leaks, add insulation, and even fix/replace AC units or furnaces.

To be eligible for this program you must meet the low income requirements.

Idaho First Time Home Buyers Programs

The state of Idaho offers various First Time Home Buyers Programs aimed towards those looking to purchase their first house/mortgage.The programs offer down payment assistance up to 5%, help with closing costs, and help you find a low mortgage rate, along with income tax credits. Check out the Idaho Housing and Finance website for a list of Home Buyer Programs.

Transportation Assistance in Idaho

Transportation and driving costs can be difficult for the low income who do not own a vehicle. Taking a taxi frequently can be very expensive. There are cheaper alternatives to taxis, and you can also receive free medical transportation in Idaho.

Idaho Medical Transportation

The state of Idaho offers free rides to and from any doctors appointments, tests, and medical treatments you might have. The rides are serviced by a medical transport company called American Medical Response. In order to receive these complimentary rides you must be enrolled in Medicaid. To learn more about this service, visit the Idaho Medical Transportation webpage.


You can use two intuitive driving services called Uber and Lyft that work like a taxi service, however ordinary people drive you where you need to go in their own vehicles. The prices are cheaper than taking a cab, saving you good money over time. Check out and to learn more.

Legal Assistance in Idaho

Legal service and advice is very expensive making it hard for the low income to receive legal advice they might need. Fortunately, there is some free/discounted legal advice available in Idaho.

Idaho Legal Aid Organization

The Idaho Legal Aid Organization offers free/discounted legal advice and services you might need. It has information on how and where to find legal advice based on your needs. Many of the legal services provided helps with issues such as domestic violence, immigration issues, employment issues, evictions, foreclosure  and more. To learn more check out the Idaho Legal Aid website.

The state of Idaho offers many quality assistance programs in a variety of areas to meet the needs of the low income residents of the state. If you are of low income, do not hesitate to apply for any of these programs that will help you the most.

Links and Resources

Idaho Benefits Page

Idaho Housing and Rental Assistance Resource


Find Local State Assistance Financial Help Programs for Single Mothers

Click on any one of the states below on the map (or via the table) to go to our local state assistance guide for that specific state