Low Income Assistance Programs in the State of Mississippi

 The state of Mississippi has a population of approximately 3 million with a poverty rate of 21.5% which is the highest in the country, with the poverty rate in children at a staggering 29%. This means there are over 625 000 single parents, families and individuals living in a state of poverty. Many families struggle to provide basic necessities for their children to ensure they live happy childhoods. Fortunately, there are many assistance programs available in Mississippi. This article will list and explain the assistance programs available.

Financial Assistance in Mississippi

Many families struggle with basic expenses and bills, and are in great need of financial assistance. Fortunately there is some financial assistance available in Mississippi.

Mississippi Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Mississippi TANF program provides temporary financial relief payments to low income families in Mississippi. This program also aims to promote job readiness and training to help parents find better employment.

To be eligible for this program you must be considered low income, and have a children under the age of 19 living in your household. To learn more about this program and to apply visit the Mississippi TANF webpage.

Mississippi Unemployment Insurance (UI)

The Mississippi UI program provides financial relief payments to those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The amount you made with your latest employer factors into the amounts you will receive. It is important to note that you must be actively looking for work each week that you are reaching benefits.

To learn more and to apply, visit the Mississippi UI webpage

Food Assistance in Mississippi

Food costs are difficult for some low income families, as they struggle to provide the food needed to keep their family healthy. Fortunately, there are numerous food assistance program available.

Mississippi Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Mississippi SNAP program provides food assistance benefits to low income families in Mississippi. The benefits are received onto a card with funds loaded onto it called the Mississippi EBT Card. The card works similar to a debit card, simply swipe the card at the checkout with your food and you are good to go.

To be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more and to apply visit the Mississippi SNAP website.

Mississippi Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (WIC)

The Mississippi WIC program provides food assistance, nutrition education, and even health care referrals and assistance for pregnant, postpartum women and their children up to age 5.

To be eligible for this program you must be considered a nutritional health risk or have strict dietary restrictions stated by a health care professional. You must also met the low income requirements. In order to apply you must contact a WIC office in your area of Mississippi. To learn more, visit the Mississippi WIC webpage.

Mississippi School Breakfast and Lunch Program

The Mississippi School Breakfast and Lunch Program provides free or low cost breakfasts’ and lunches to children of low income families while they are attending school. Your income in relation to household size determine if the meals are free or low costs. If you are enrolled under the TANF program, you child will automatically be eligible for this program.

To qualify for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To apply for this program you must directly contact the school that your child attends. A list of all the schools in Mississippi can be found here. To learn more about this program, visit the Mississippi School Nutrition website.

Mississippi Food Banks

If you and your family are faced with hunger, there are several food banks located throughout Mississippi. The food offered is free and nutritious. To find a food bank near you, check out this list of Mississippi Food Banks.

Health Assistance in Mississippi

Medical costs are very high making it necessary for everyone including the low income to have some sort of health coverage. If you are of low income, you can qualify for health coverage in Mississippi.

Mississippi Medicaid

The Mississippi Medicaid program provides health insurance coverage to those who are of low income and do not have any medical health insurance. Mississippi Medicaid covers a variety of health services which including:

  • 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 in relation to the number of people living in your household. You must be considered of low income or very low income. Not all the services will be covered completely as some might require co-payment depending on the service. You might have to pay monthly premiums based off your income. To learn more and to apply, you can visit the Mississippi Medicaid webpage.

Mississippi Health Benefits – Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Mississippi CHIP program provides health insurance benefits to children who do not qualify under any other help plan including Medicaid. This program covers all the services that are covered under Medicaid, including vision care.

The income limits required are lower, making it easier to qualify for CHIP over Medicaid. Depending on your income, there is some minimal premiums that need to be paid. To learn more and to apply, visit the Mississippi CHIP webpage.

Child Care Assistance in Mississippi

Child care costs can be quite costly, making it difficult for low income single parents and families to receive proper child care. Some parents have to resort to part time work because they need to care for their child. Fortunately, there are child care assistance programs available in Mississippi.

Mississippi Child Care Certificate Program

The Mississippi Child Care Certificate Program will pay a portion of your child care costs with the parent paying the other portion as a co-payment. The parents have the freedom to choose any child care provider that they prefer.

To be eligible for this program you must be considered low income, and be employed or attend school. To learn more and to apply, visit the Mississippi Child Care Program webpage.

Mississippi Head Start Program

The Mississippi Head Start Program provides child care and helps young children from the ages of 0-5 with their social and behavioural skills in preparation for school. In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the low income requirements. There are many several Head Start locations throughout Mississippi. To find programs in your area and to learn more visit the Mississippi Head Start Program webpage.

Housing and Rental Assistance in Mississippi

Housing and rental costs are always on the rise making it difficult for the low income to manage their housing and rent costs. Fortunately there are some useful housing and rental assistance programs available.

Mississippi Low Income Public Housing Program

The Mississippi Low Income Public Housing Program offers low income residents the opportunity to living in housing owned by Local Housing Agencies with reduced rent costs. The living arrangements are 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 ranging between 50% – 80% of the average income in the area you live, however this is just a guideline.

To apply you must get in contact with your local Housing Agency. You can use this list of Mississippi Housing Agencies to find the agency nearest you. An appointment will be made where you will discuss your income and current situation. To learn more and to apply, visit the Mississippi Housing Program Resource.

Mississippi Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Mississippi Housing Choice program allows low income residents to receive reduced rent payments in housing arrangements of their own choice. Unlike the Low Income Public Housing Program, this program actually allows you to choose your own living place on the housing market. It can be difficult locating a well priced apartment that is large enough and of high quality, so this program enables you to afford higher quality, apartments with rent payments you wouldn’t otherwise afford to pay. Once you have chosen your home, the Housing Agency provides a voucher to your landlord which covers a portion of your rent payments. You will only pay a portion of your total rent payment, ranging from approximately 30-40% of the total rent cost, however it varies depending on your income.

To qualify you must be considered low income. This program also requires you to get in touch with your nearest Housing Agency to set up an appointment where you income and situation will be discussed.

Mississippi Affordable Apartment Search

You can use this useful tool that allows you to search for well priced apartments that are located in you area of Mississippi. To use this tool, check out the Mississippi Affordable Apartment locator.

Mississippi Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Mississippi LIHEAP program provides energy assistance by paying a portion of your energy bills, primarily you heating and cooling bills. The amount of you bill that is paid on your behalf is based on income and household size.

To qualify for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more and to apply, visit the Mississippi LIHEAP program.

Mississippi Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The Mississippi WAP program improves the conditions of homes by making them more energy efficient which results in lower energy bills. This program will check windows for leaks, repairing any leaks found, replacing A/C units etc.

To be eligible for this program you must meet the low income requirements. To learn more and to apply, visit the Mississippi WAP webpage.

Mississippi First Time Home Buyers Programs

The Mississippi Home Corporation offers programs designed for this looking to buy their first home/mortgage. Programs such as the Smart Solution Program offers down payment assistance up to 4% and also allows the homeowner to lock in lower mortgage interest rates. You can also receive a Homebuyer Tax Reduction, through a mortgage credit certificate. There are also homeowner grants available to first time home buyers. To take a look at all the programs available, check out the Mississippi Home Corporation Programs webpage.

Transportation Assistance in Mississippi

Transportation costs can be an issue for those who do not own a vehicle, as taxi fares can be quite expensive. There are more cost efficient alternatives, and you can receive free transportation for medical services.

Mississippi Medical Transportation Service

Mississippi along with the Mississippi Transpiration Management service offer free rides to and from any medical appointments, tests and treatments you might have. You will be picked up from your home and dropped off back at your home after the appointment. To be eligible you must be enrolled under medicaid. To learn more, visit the Mississippi Medical Transportation Service website.

Uber/Lyft

You can use two unique driving services called Uber and the other service called Lyft that will drive you to your designation in their own vehicles. This results in fares significantly cheaper than taxi prices. To learn more check out uber.com and lyft.com.

Legal Assistance in Mississippi

Legal costs are very expensive, making it difficult for the low income to get the legal help they might need. Fortunately, you can find free and discounted legal assistance in Mississippi.

Mississippi Legal Services Organization

The Mississippi Legal Service Organization offers legal assistance to low income individuals of Mississippi. This service will offer legal assistance with eviction, foreclosure, domestic violence, legal rights and a lot more. To learn more, visit the Mississippi Legal Service website.

The state of Mississippi offers many assistance programs in an attempt to decrease the high poverty rate in the state. If you are of low income and in living in a state of poverty, apply for the programs that will best assist you to help you get through tough times.

Links and Resources

Mississippi Benefits Page

Mississippi Housing and Rental Assistance Resource

Mississippi.Gov

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