Low-income families can obtain additional money by applying for state and federal assistance programs that offer cash aid and other forms of compensation for specific purchases, as well as by applying for private and public grants. Students in low-income families can also qualify for special scholarships and educational grants, while some families may be able to claim other benefits under certain circumstances.
Many states operate some forms of assistance programs for families and individuals who fall below the state or federal poverty levels, with each state having different requirements for the application process. In most cases, one member of the family needs to apply and provide proof of income or other economic hardship, as well as submit details about the family size and needs. This determines how much aid the family may receive, which can include monthly payments as well as access to electronic benefits for purchasing food. Some programs also pay for services such as child care or offer stipends for buying clothing.
Some low-income families may be able to apply for special grants to help cover expenses if they meet certain criteria, such as belonging to a specific ethnic group or immigrating from a certain country. Similarly, students are able to apply for free federal aid to help cover education costs, both for tuition and related expenses. If a member of a low-income family is unable to work for a physical or mental reason, she may also apply for disability compensation.