The state of Massachusetts has a population of 6.8 million with a poverty rate of 11.6 %. The poverty rate in children is even higher at 14.9%. This means that over 750 000 people in the state of Massachusetts live in poverty. Fortunately there are many financial assistance programs available to the single parents, families and individuals who are in need. This guide will list and explain all the assistance programs available and how to apply for them.
Financial Assistance in Massachusetts
If single parents/families or struggling to make ends meet with bills and expenses there are few programs available that will help you out.
Massachusetts Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC)
This program will provide temporary cash assistance as well as support services to children and their families. If you are unable to work, cannot find a job, or do not make enough to keep up with your expenses, you might be eligible to receive the financial assistance. The amount you will receive depends on your income in relation to the amount of people living in your household.
To be eligible for this program you must be a legal resident of Massachusetts, having child under the age of 19 living in your household and meet the low income requirements. To apply for this program and to learn more check out the Massachusetts TAFDC webpage.
Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC)
The Massachusetts EAEDC program provides cash assistance to those who need to stabilize their lives. If you are caring for the elderly, someone who is disabled, or a child that is living in your home that is not related to you, you can possibly qualify for this program. You must also meet income requirements to qualify. To learn more about this program check out the Massachusetts EAEDC webpage.
Massachusetts Unemployment Assistance
This program provides you with financial relief cash payments if you happen to lose your job through no fault of your own. The amount you will receive depends in large part with how much you made with your previous employer.
To be eligible for this program you must have worked in Massachusetts within the last 12 to 18 months within applying. To learn more and to apply check out the Massachusetts Labor Board webpage.
Food Assistance In Massachusetts
If you are struggling to provide adequate food for you and your family, there are many options that will provide you with free or reduced costs on foods in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The SNAP program provides and assists low income families afford the necessary nutritional foods needed on a daily basis. The benefits are received in the form of an Electronic Benefits Transfer(EBT) card that is reloaded with more funds on a monthly basis. When you are ready to check out with your food, simply swipe your EBT at the register.
Massachusetts Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC)
The Massachusetts WIC program provides numerous nutritious foods, nutrition advice, as well as health care advice for pregnant, postpartum women, and their children up to age 5. In order to be eligible for this program you must be meet the low income requirements, and be deemed at a nutritional risk by a health care provider. The WIC food benefits are provided on the same EBT card as SNAP benefits.
To apply for this program you must contact the WIC center in your area of Massachusetts. You can use the WIC locator to find the center nearest you. To learn more about the WIC program check out the state’s WIC webpage.
Massachusetts School Breakfast and Lunch Program
This program provides schools with nutritious foods to allow them to serve free or low cost breakfasts’ and lunches to children living in low income households. In order to be eligible for this program, you must be a resident of Massachusetts and meet the low income requirements. The income guidelines for this program are based on your income in relation to the number of people living in your household. To apply for this program, you must directly contact the school that your child attends. This Massachusetts school locator will help you find your child’s school quickly.
Medical Assistance In Massachusetts
If you are of low income, avoiding health care because of the costs, you don’t have to as you can likely qualify for one of the state’s medical programs outlined below.
Massachusetts Mass Health
Massachusetts Mass Health is the state’s Medicaid program. The program will cover the costs of your health care in a variety of areas such as:
- doctor’s visits
- prescription drugs
- lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
- hospital care
- eye care
- dental care
Depending on you and your family’s specific situation and the number of people in your household, not all services will necessarily be covered, or some services might require co-pay. Eligibility for Medicaid is strongly based on your income levels in relation to your age, if you have children etc. To learn more about Mass Health and to apply check out the Mass Health webpage.
Massachusetts Mass Health (CHIP)
The Mass Health CHIP program is basically the Mass Health program for children. All the same services are covered as the regular Mass Health as listed above. The core difference between these programs is if your child does not qualify for regular Mass Health because your income is to high, CHIP has lower income limits making it a lot easier for your child to qualify for health care.
In order to be eligible for this program you must have a child under the age of 19 living in your household, or be the primary caregiver of a child, and be considered low income. Click here to take look at the income guidelines required for CHIP. Check out the MASS CHIP webpage to learn more and to apply.
Medicaid Expansion – Affordable Care Act
Fortunately, Massachusetts is one of the states that have adopted the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care. The Affordable Care Act makes it easier for residents of Massachusetts to qualify for Medicaid, as the income levels required to qualify are lower, thus lowering the gap of resident who can’t qualify for health care. Check out this Massachusetts Obamacare webpage to learn more.
Child Care Assistance In Massachusetts
Many single parents and families struggle with child care costs, with some parents unable to work because they need to stay home with their child. Fortunately there are some programs that can help with child care costs.
Massachusetts Head Start Program
This program will provide a learning environment and supervision for children ages 0-5 to help enhance their emotional, cognitive, and social development. This program is only available to low income families. You are eligible based on your household income compared to how many people live in your household. To look at the income limits and to learn more check out the Massachusetts Head Start webpage.
Child Care Assistance through Transitional Aid to Families With Dependent Children (TAFDC)
If you are receiving benefits under the TAFDC program, part of the financial assistance provided in the program includes cash assistance for child care costs. To learn more and to apply for the TAFDC program, check out the Massachusetts TAFDC webpage.
Housing Assistance in Massachusetts
Many single parents and families struggle to make their rent payments needed. Many times families are forced to live in small, unsanitary levying arrangements because they can’t afford a decent living space. Fortunately, there are a few really useful rental assistance programs in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Low Income Public Housing Program
This program will allow residents across the state of Pennsylvania to receive reduced rent payments in dwellings owned by the local Public Housing Agencies in your area of the state, whether it be an apartment, single standing house or condos. The state of Massachusetts provides funding to local housing agencies (HAs) as the local housing agencies then provide safe and sanitary place to live for low income families to ensure they have rent payments that they can afford to pay.
The eligibility depends by income limits determined not only by the state of Massachusetts, but the specific county or city that you live in. To begin the application process, you must go through your local Housing Agency. This list of Housing Agencies in Massachusetts provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across Massachusetts. 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.
Massachusetts Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
The Massachusetts Housing Choice Voucher program is very similar to the Low Income Public Housing Program, as everything is done through your local Housing Agency. This program also provides rental assistance to low income single parents and families by providing families with ‘vouchers’ that will allow you to only have to pay a portion of their rent costs. This program allows you to choose your own living place rather then live in a pre determined living space like in the low income public housing program. This program provides direct payments to your landlord, which pays a good portion of your rent payment with you paying the remaining portion of the rent. Many times you will only have to pay 30% to 40% of your total rent payment, depending on your income.
To apply for this program you have to be of low income and set up an appointment with your local Housing Agency.
Massachusetts Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
This program provides financial assistance to Massachusetts residents by paying a portion of their energy bills, primarily helping with heating bills. The amount of your bills that are paid are based on your household income. To apply for this program you must be considered low income and meet the income requirements. To learn more and to apply check out the Massachusetts LIHEAP page.
Massachusetts Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
This program helps to reduce the amount of energy your home will use, making your home more energy efficient, which results in low energy bills. To qualify for this program you must meet the income requirements and be a legal resident of Massachusetts. To learn more and to apply check out the state’s WAP webpage.
Massachusetts First Time Home Buyer Programs (FTHB)
The State of Massachusetts have a variety of first time home buyer programs that help with down payment and closing costs, help find an affordable property, and help offer the lowest possible interest rates. Take a look at the Mass Housing webpage to learn about all the programs that can be of use to you.
Transportation Assistance in Massachusetts
You can get free transportation for medical related trips, and can save money on cab fares using other alternatives.
Massachusetts Medical Transportation Programs
Massachusetts has a variety of free medical transportation programs available. The transportation will drive you to any of your doctors appointments, tests and treatments you might have. To take a look at your options and to learn more check out the Massachusetts Medical Transportation webpage.
Taxi fares can be really high making transportation to expensive for many. Using Uber or Lyft offers a more affordable option, as individuals drive people where they need to be in their own vehicles, allow for cheap fares then cabs. You can save a lot of money using Uber or Lyft over taxis, so keep this in mind.
Legal Assistance In Massachusetts
The simplest legal advice can be quite expensive as lawyers charge ridiculous prices for any legal service. Fortunately, Massachusetts has some services that provide free legal advice for low income individuals and families.
Massachusetts Legal Help Organization
This organization features a large database of discounted or free legal help that is available throughout the state in a variety of subjects. Most of the legal services provided helps with issues such as, domestic violence, immigration issues, employment issues, evictions, family law and much more. There is no legal assistance when it comes to personal criminal charges you could be facing. Some of the assistance is only available to those of low income, however some are available to everyone. Check out MassLegalHelp.Org for more information.
Links and Resources
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