Assistance Programs in Virginia
The state of Virginia has a population of approximately 8.4 million people with a poverty rate of about 18%. The poverty rate among children is even higher at 24%. This means there are over 327 000 residents of Virginia living in a state of poverty, struggling to pay basic expenses and bills. Many people struggle providing everything their family needs to live a happy and healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, there are numerous assistance programs available to help the low income residents of Virginia who are in need. This guide will list and explain the assistance programs available.
Financial Assistance in Virginia
Many single parents and families need some financial assistance to help pay the bills and expenses for their families. The state of Virginia has a few useful cash assistance programs abatable to single parents and families.
Virginia Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
The Virginia TANF program provides families with monthly cash payments to help pay for basic expenses and bills. Furthermore, the TANF program provides job training and eduction helping parents locate employment, or if they already have employment it assists in finding higher paying employment, enabling them to better support their families.
To be eligible for this program, you must be a legal resident of Virginia, be of very low income, and have a child under the age of 19 living in their household. To learn more and to apply for TANF check out the Virginia TANF webpage.
Virginia Unemployment Insurance (UI)
Virginia UI provides temporary cash relief payments to those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The amount you will receive depends on the amounts made with your most previous employer. The financial payments are usually made on a weekly/biweekly basis. To learn more about UI and to apply check out the Virginia UI webpage.
Food Assistance in Virginia
No families or individuals should have to struggle with ensuring their family has enough food to stay healthy. If you are struggling in purchasing adequate food, there are definitely some useful food assistance programs that can be of a big help.
Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Virginia SNAP program provides low income single parents, families and individuals with food assistance so they have the adequate food need to remain healthy. The food benefits are administered onto a card called a Virginia EBT card which functions similar to a debit card. When you ready to check out with your groceries, simply check out with your Virginia EBT card and you are all set to go.
In order to qualify for SNAP, you must be a resident of Virginia, be of low income, meeting the income requirements, and have a checking and savings account balance under $2000, or $3000 if you have a senior, or a person with a disability living in your household. To learn more and to apply check out the Virginia SNAP webpage.
Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
The Virginia 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 deemed at a nutritional risk by a health care provider.
To qualify for WIC, you must meet the low income requirements.To apply for WIC you must contact a WIC Office in your area of the state. You can do so using this Virginia WIC locator. To learn more about WIC, you can visit the state of Virginia’s WIC webpage.
Virginia School Breakfast and Lunch Program
The Virginia School Breakfast and Lunch Program provides children of low income families with low cost or free nutritional breakfasts’ and lunches while they are at school. This program is available to kids through high school. To be eligible you must meet the income requirements, and have a child or be the caretaker of a children under the age of 19.
To apply you must directly contact the school that your child attends, you can use this list of Virginia’s Schools to find your child’s school. To learn more about this program, you can visit the School Breakfast and Lunch Program webpage.
Virginia Food Banks
If you are still struggling with food costs, or facing hunger, there are numerous food banks located throughout the state of Virginia that offer free food to those in need. You can use this Virginia Food Bank Locator, to find the food bank nearest your area.
Medical Assistance in Virginia
Medical costs are very high making it difficult for everyone, not only the low income to afford medical care. If you do not have health insurance you can qualify for free medical care in Virginia.
The Virginia Medicaid program provides free health care services to low income families across the state of Virginia. It covers the cost of a variety of health related expenses such as:
- doctor’s visits
- prescription drugs
- lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
- hospital care
- eye care
- dental care
Medicaid eligibility in Virginia is based on your income in relation to the number of people living in your household. Depending on you and your family’s specific situation, not all services will always be covered, or some services might require you to pay a portion of the costs. However, it is easier for children and pregnant women to qualify for medical assistance as the income guidelines required are lower. To learn more about Medicaid in Virginia, you can visit the state of Virginia’s Medical Assistance website.
FAMIS – Health Insurance for Children
The Virginia FAMIS program is the health Insurance Plan for the children of Virginia. FAMIS covers all of the medical expenses that Medicaid covers as well as mental help care and regular baby and child checkups. There are no monthly premiums under FAMIS, however there is sometimes very inexpensive co-payment fees ranging from $2 to $5. The income limits required are lower, making it easier for children to qualify. To check out the income limits, apply and to learn more check out the Virginia FAMIS webpage.
The FAMIS MOMS program is Virginia health insurance program for pregnant women. This program covers all the expenses related to pregnancy, including ultrasounds, doctors visits, delivery, tests, emergency services and medicine. To be eligible for this program you cannot already be covered under Medicaid. The income limits required are quite low, making it easy to qualify. To learn more and to apply check out the FAMIS MOMS webpage.
Housing Assistance in Virginia
Housing and rental costs are very high, making it difficult for low income and single parents and families to keep up with their housing costs. Fortunately, there are numerous programs available that can assist the low income people of Virginia with their housing costs.
Virginia Low Income Housing Program
This program allows residents of Virginia to receive reduced rent payments in dwellings 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 authorities 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 around 50% of the average income in the area you live, however this is just a guideline.
To begin the application process, you must go through your local Housing Agency. This list of Virginia Public Housing Agencies provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across Virginia. 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.
Virginia Housing Voucher Program
The Virginia Housing Voucher Program makes it easier for low income single parents and families to be able to afford their housing of choice on the housing market by reducing their rent costs. This program is somewhat similar to the Public Housing program except with this program you get to choose your apartment/home. It can be difficult locating a well priced apartment that is safe and sanitary, so 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 for this program you must be of low income and meet the income requirements. Similar to the Public Housing Program,, you must apply through your local Virginia Housing Agencies to get started.
Virginia Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The Virginia LIHEAP program assists low income single parents and families with their energy bills. The LIHEAP program will pay a portion of your bills with you paying the remaining portion. The amount of your bill that is paid by the LIHEAP program depends on your income in relation to your household size.
Virginia Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
The Virginia WAP program provides services to help homes become more energy efficient, thus resulting in cheaper energy bills. The WAP program will fix or replace A/C units, check for air leaks and more.
Virginia First Time Home Buyer Programs
Virginia offers a variety of programs designed towards those looking to buy their first house/mortgage. The programs offer down payment assistance, closing cost assistance, and help with finding low interest rate mortgages. To learn more about the different programs offered check out the Virginia Housing Department website.
Child Care Assistance in Virginia
Child care costs can be very high making it difficult for parents to work full time because they need to care for their child. Fortunately there are some child care assistance programs available to help with the costs.
Virginia Child Care Subsidy Program
The Virginia Child Care Subsidy Program provides financial assistance with child care payments to allow parents to be able to work or attend school. To be eligible for this program you must be of low income. To learn more and to apply check out the Virginia Child Care Subsidy Program website.
Virginia Head Start Program
The Virginia Head Start Programs provides child care and help young children from the ages of 0-5 to enhance the social and behavioural skills in preparation for school. In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income. To take a look at the income guidelines please click here. Check out the Virginia Head Start website to learn more and to apply.
Transportation Assistance in Virginia
Transportation costs can be difficult especially for those who do not own a vehicle and have to take cabs frequently. Fortunately there are some other options available.
Virginia Easy Access Program
The Virginia Easy Access Program provides assistance by helping Virginia residents find access to transportation when they cannot drive or need helping finding public transportation. Check out the Virginia Easy Access website to learn more.
Virginia Medical Transportation
Virginia Medical Transportation offers free transportation to any doctors appointments, tests, and medical treatments you might have. These services are offered through LogistiCare. In order to receive the free rides you must be enrolled under Medicaid or CHIP. You can call 1-866-386-8331 to learn more. You can also visit the medical transportation section on the Virginia Easy Access website.
There are two driving services 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 uber.com and lyft.com to learn more.
Legal Assistance in Virginia
Legal assistance is very expensive, making it difficult for the low income to get the legal support they need. Fortunately, there are some discounted legal services available.
Virginia Legal Aid Organization
The Virginia Legal Aid Organization provides several different areas of legal advice and services you might need. It has a variety of information on how and where to find legal advice based on your issue. Many of the legal services provided helps with issues such as, domestic violence, immigration issues, employment issues, evictions, family law and more. To learn more check out the Virginia Legal Aid Organization website.
The state of Virginia has many useful assistance programs in place, especially for single parents and low income families. If you fall under this category you should qualify for assistance to help you get through tough times.
Links and Resources
State Assistance Map
Click on any one of the states below to go to our assistance article for that state