Assistance Programs in the State of Iowa

The State of Iowa has a population of over  3.1 million people with a poverty rate of 12.2%. The poverty rate among children is currently at 14.9%. These numbers are respectable, however that means there is still over 370 000 residents of Iowa living in a state of poverty. Many single parents, families, and individuals struggle with basic expenses and bills on a frequent basis. Fortunately the state of Iowa has a variety of assistance programs available for the low income people of the state. This guide will list and explain the assistance programs available in Iowa.

Financial Assistance in Iowa

Many families struggle with providing everything their family needs to living a normal, healthy lifestyle. They are several in need of funds to help them out. There is some financial assistance available to these families in Iowa.

Iowa Family Investment Program

The Iowa Family Investment Program offers financial assistance to families to help them with their basic bills and expenses. The amount you will receive depends only your income and household size. This program also provides job training and education, helping parents seek better employment so they will no longer be living in a state of poverty.

To be eligible for this program you must be a legal resident of Iowa, and be of very low income. To apply online, please click here. To learner about this program check out the Iowa Family Investment Program webpage.

Iowa Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Iowa UI provides financial relief to those have have lost their job through no fault of their own. You will receive financial relief payments based on the amounts you made with your previous employer.

To learn more and to apply, you can visit the Iowa UI webpage.

Food Assistance in Iowa

If you are struggling with food expenses there are definitely some useful food assistance programs available in Iowa.

Iowa Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Iowa SNAP program provides food benefits to low income families. The food benefits are received onto a card called an Electronic Benefits Card (EBT) that works similar to a debit card. The card is loaded with funds on a monthly basis. To use the card simply swipe the card when you are checking out with your groceries just like you would with a debit card.

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

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

The Iowa WIC program provides nutrition assistance, 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 be eligible for WIC you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To apply for WIC, you must contact the WIC office nearest your location of Iowa. You can use this Iowa WIC Locator to find your local WIC office. To learn more about the WIC program you can visit the Iowa WIC webpage.

Iowa School Breakfast and Lunch Program

The Iowa School Breakfast and Lunch Program provides free or low cost breakfasts’ and lunches to under privileged school children. Your income level in relation to household size factors into whether the meals are free or reduced in price. Please note that if you are receiving cash assistance under the Iowa Family Investment Program, then your child will automatically be eligible for benefits.

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

To apply please click here.To learn more about this program check out the Iowa School Nutrition webpage.

Iowa Food Banks

If you are really struggling with food for you and your family, there are always food banks available throughout the state of Iowa. Food banks give out free feed to the needy. There are numerous food banks around Iowa, which can be found by using this Iowa Food Bank Locator.

Medical Assistance in Iowa

Medical costs are very high making it next to impossible for those who do not have health insurance to get the health care they need. Fortunately Iowa has a good Medicaid system in place.

Iowa Medicaid Program

The Iowa Medicaid program offers health care to eligible individuals who do not have a health insurance plan. The program provides free health care services, covering 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
  • treatments
  • vaccination
  • MRI’s

Medicaid eligibility in Iowa is based on your income in relation to the number of people living in your household. Also not all of these services will be completely free, as some of the services will require you to pay a small portion of the cost. To learn more about Medicaid in Iowa, and to apply, you can visit the Iowa Medicaid webpage.

Iowa – Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa (HAWK-i)

The Iowa HAWK-i program is the state of Iowa’s health insurance program for children who do not have any other medical health insurance plan. This program covers all the costs of health care a child might need similar to the Medicaid program. This program does have a monthly premium, however the premiums range in price based on your income, with the highest monthly premium being $40.

To learn more and to apply for HAWK-i, visit the Hawk-i website.

Child Care Assistance in Iowa

Child care costs are very expensive making it difficult for low income single parents and families to afford child care expenses. Fortunately there is some child care assistance available.

Iowa Child Care Assistance Program

The Iowa Child Care Assistance Program provides child care assistance to income eligible parents who are working, engaging in work training or school or in PROMISE Jobs activities. To learn more about this program and to apply check out the Iowa Child Care Program website.

Iowa Head Start Program

The Iowa Head Start Program provides child care assistance and help the readiness of young children from the ages of 0-5 by enhancing their cognitive and social development in preparation for school. In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. There are multiple Head Start Programs located throughout Iowa, to learn more and to apply check out the Iowa Head Start website.

Housing Assistance in Iowa

Housing and rental costs put a financial strain on many single parents and families in Iowa. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of housing and rental assistance programs available.

Iowa Low Income Public Housing Program

The Iowa Low Income Public Housing Program will allow low income single parents and families across Iowa to receive reduced rent payments in housing arrangements owned by the local Public Housing Agencies in your area of the state, whether it be an apartment, single houses or condos. The Local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) use funding from the state that allows them to provide the low income families or single parents with adequate housing along with very affordable rent payments.

To apply, you must get in contact with local Housing Agency in your area of the state. This list of Iowa Public Housing Agencies provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across Iowa. 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. An appointment will be arranged to discuss your financial situation and more.

Iowa Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Iowa Housing Choice Voucher Program allows for low income single parents and families to be able to afford their housing of choice on the housing market by helping them with their rent payments. 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 apparent that is safe and sanitary, so this program enables you to afford high quality apartments. Once you have chosen your home, the Housing Agencies 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.

You also have to be of low income to be eligible for this program. In order to apply you must set up an appointment with your Local Housing Agency to discuss your finances and personal situation etc.

Iowa Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Iowa LIHEAP program assists low income households by paying a portion of their energy bills, primarily heating and cooling bills. The amount of your bills that will be paid depends largely on your income in relation to the number of people living in your household.

To be eligible you must meet the low income requirements. To learn more bout LIHEAP, check out the Iowa LIHEAP webpage.

Iowa Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The Iowa WAP program helps to decrease the heating and cooling costs of homes by making the homes more energy efficient. This is done by replacing or fixing furnaces or AC units, checking for air leaks and more. This will result in lower prices energy bills.

To be eligible for this program you must meet the low income requirements. To learn more and to apply for the Iowa WAP program check out the Iowa WAP webpage.

Iowa First Time Home Buyers Programs

Iowa First Time Home Buyers Programs are programs that help people with purchasing their first home through down payments and closing cost assistance, as well as offering low interest rates on the mortgages. To take a look at the first time home buyers programs available, check out this list of Iowa First Time Home Buyer Programs.

Transportation Assistance in Iowa

Transportation costs can be very high, especially for those who take taxis frequently. There are some cheaper alternatives, and you can also get free rides to medical services.

Iowa NEMT Medical Transportation

Iowa NEMT Medical transportation is a services that will pick you up from your home, and drive you to any doctors appointments, tests, treatments etc. that you might have. You simply call the service before hand and you can get the free ride. In order to be eligible for this service, you must be enrolled under Medicaid or the HAWK-i programs. Visit the Iowa NEMT webpage to learn more.

Uber/Lyft

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 Iowa

Legal costs are very expensive making it difficult for the low income to get the legal help or advice they really need. Iowa has a great organization that provides free or discounted legal services.

Iowa Legal Aid Organization

The Iowa Legal Aid Organization features 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 needs. 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 and to find assistance for your needs check out the Iowa Legal Services website.

Iowa has many assistance programs available for the low income residents of Iowa. If you are struggling do not hesitate to call and apply for any of these programs, as they will help you improve your current situation.

Links and resources

Iowa Benefits Page

Iowa Housing and Rental Assistance Resource

iowa.Gov

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