Assistance Programs in Montana
The state of Montana has a population of over 1 million with a poverty rate of 15.4%. The poverty rate among children is even higher at 18.1%.
There are over 150 000 Montana residents living in a state of poverty. Many families struggle providing their children everything they need to live a normal lifestyle. Fortunately, there are many assistance programs in Montana designed for the low income. This guide will list and explain the assistance programs available in Montana.
Financial Assistance in Montana
Many families struggle with basic expenses and bills, and will benefit from financial assistance. If you are struggling with your bills there is some financial assistance available.
Montana Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
The Montana TANF program provides financial relief to low income families to assist them with their bills and expenses. This program also provides job training and education to parents to help them find better employment.
To be eligible for this program you must be of low income and have a child under the age of 19 living in your household.
To learn more about TANF and to apply, you can visit the Montana TANF website.
Montana Unemployment Insurance (UI)
The Montana UI program offers financial relief to those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The program offers weekly/biweekly monetary payments with the amount of payments based on your earnings from your most previous employer.
To learn more about UI and to apply, visit the Montana UI webpage.
Food Assistance in Montana
If you are struggling in providing your family with enough food to maintain a healthy lifestyle there are food assistance programs available.
Montana Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Montana SNAP program provides food assistance to low income single parents, families and individuals throughout Montana. The food benefits are administered on a card that works similar to a debit card called the Montana Access Card. Simply swipe the card at the register when paying for groceries and you will be all set. Each month the Montana Access card is loaded with additional funds.
Montana Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
The Montana WIC program provides nutrition assistance with food benefits, nutrition education, as well as health care and social service referrals to pregnant, postpartum, 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 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 Montana WIC locator to find the WIC office closest to you. To learn more about WIC, visit the Montana WIC website.
Montana School Nutrition Breakfast and Lunch Program
The Montana School Breakfast and Lunch Program provides low cost or free breakfasts’ and lunches to under privileged school children. The family income in relation to household size factor into 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 to this program you must directly contact the school your child attends. If your family is currently receiving Montana TANF benefits, then your child will automatically be eligible for this program.To learn more about this program and to apply, check out the Montana School Nutrition webpage.
Montana Food Banks
If your are really struggling with food and hunger, there are many food banks located throughout the state of Montana. The food offered is free of charge. To locate a food bank in your are, take a look at this list of Montana Food Banks.
Medical Assistance in Montana
Medical costs are very high making it essential to have a health insurance plan. If you do not have health insurance there is a good chance you can qualify under Medicaid.
Montana Medicaid provides health insurance coverage to those who are of low income and do not have any medical health insurance. Montana 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
Medicaid eligibility in Montana is based on your income in relation to the number of people living in your household. It is important to note that, depending on you and your family’s specific situation, not all services will necessarily be covered, or some services might require you to pay a portion of the costs. To learn more about Medicaid including how to apply, check out the Montana Medicaid webpage.
Healthy Montana Kids Plan
The Healthy Montana Kids Plan is the health plan for the kids of Montana who do not qualify under any other plan. Healthy Montana covers all the same medical services that Medicaid covers. Depending on your family’s income, some co-payments for certain services might be required.
Child Care Assistance in Montana
Child care costs are very expensive making it difficult for low income families to work full time because they need to stay home to watch their child. There are child care assistance programs available in Montana.
Best Beginnings Child Care Program
The Best Beginnings Child Care program assists low income families with their child care costs by paying a portion of their child care bills. To be eligible you must be of low income, and the parents must either be working, or engaged in job training/education. To learn more and to apply you can visit the Montana Best Beginnings webpage.
Montana Head Start Program
The Montana Head Start program provides child care assistance and helps the readiness of young children from the ages of 0-5 by enhancing their cognitive, 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 Montana Head Start website.
Housing Assistance in Montana
Housing and rental costs are expensive making it difficult for low income families to make rent payments and provide everything their family needs. Fortunately, there some useful housing and rental programs in Montana.
Montana Low Income Public Housing Program
The Montana 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 begin the application process, you must go through your local Housing Agency. This list of Montana Housing Agencies provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across Montana.
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.
Montana Housing Choice Voucher Program
The Montana 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 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 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 among other things.
Montana Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)
The Montana LIHEAP program provides assistance with the costs of heating and cooling bills to low income residents of Montana.
LIEAP will make direct payments to your vendor for a portion of your heating and cooling bills. The amount of your bill that is paid by LIEAP depends on your income and household size.
Montana Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
The Montana WAP program help homes become more energy and fuel efficient, thus resulting in cheaper energy bills. The WAP program will check for air leaks, add insulation, ensure A/C units are functioning properly and a lot more.
Montana First Time Home Buyer Programs
The state of Montana offers programs for those who need help in purchasing their first home/mortgage. The programs will offers down payment assistance up to 5%, offer help with closing costs, and help find a low mortgage rate. Check out the Montana Housing website for a list of Home Buyer Programs.
Montana Affordable Apartment Search
You can use this affordable apartment search tool to help you located high quality, affordable apartments in your area of Montana.
Transportation Assistance in Montana
Transportation costs can be difficult for the low income who do not own a vehicle. If you frequently take a taxi there are cheaper options. You can also receive free medical transportation.
Medical Transportation Services
You can receive free rides to any doctors appointments, tests, and medical treatments you might have. In order to receive these complimentary rides you must be enrolled in either Medicaid or the Healthy Montana Kids Plan. To learn more, check out the Montana Medical Transportation webpage.
There are two 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.
Legal Assistance in Montana
Legal costs are expensive making it difficult for low income people to receive any legal help or advice they might need. In Montana you can receive free or discounted legal services — you just need to actually apply.
Montana Legal Services Association
The Montana Legal Services Association offers legal information and advice free of charge to low income residents of Montana. To learn more, visit the Montana Legal Services Association website.
Montana Law Help Organization
The Montana Law Help Organization offers free/discounted 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 Montana Legal Aid website.
The State of Montana offers a wide variety of assistance programs that are very helpful to it’s low income residents. If you are of low income and need help do not hesitate to apply for any of these programs.
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