With a rise in the U.S. population throughout the years, there has been a greater emphasis placed on assisting those who earn lower incomes. To mitigate some of the issues brought on by poverty, food assistance programs in Indiana were set in place. Food assistance programs provide support in the form of benefits than can be used to purchase necessary nutritional items. In order to qualify for a food assistance program in Indiana, there are three main criteria that must be met: income, household and citizenship. However, some programs may have additional special requirements such as the Women, Infant and Children’s (WIC) program. Once an Indiana resident has managed to meet all three categories of requirements, the benefits will be disbursed in a variety of ways. There are many different types of food assistance programs available in the state of Indiana, so be sure to consider all of the available programs before choosing one.
Women, Infants and Children’s Program (WIC) in Indiana
WIC is a nationally recognized nutrition program that aims to provide assistance to mothers who are pregnant or have young children with no way to provide adequate nutrition. Some of the services offered by the WIC program are nutrition education, nutrition and health screenings, support for breastfeeding and referrals to different services such as social services. The program also provides assistance to women so they can purchase healthy foods.
In order to qualify for the WIC program, each applicant must schedule a WIC consultation. If a child is being considered for WIC, the guardians or caretakers must be present. Proof of identity should also be provided, such as a driver’s license or state issued ID card. If neither of those are available, hospital records or birth certificates are also accepted. Other documentation includes proof of address, proof of income and immunization records if any infants or children up to age two are being considered for the WIC program.
When an applicant is approved to receive benefits, an eWIC card will be sent out. This eWIC card contains all benefits provided from the WIC program. This card works similar to an ATM card. Just swipe it and enter in the personal identification number that came with the card. However, keep in mind to choose grocery stores that accept WIC benefits, as not all grocery stores do.
Indiana Temporary Cash Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
The Temporary Cash Assistance program provides a variety of services to families to ensure children can remain in the comfort of a family’s home. The program also promotes preventative measures for out-of-wedlock pregnancies, reducing the dependency of parents by training them for jobs, and the program encourages families to reamin a two-parent household.
In order to become eligible for TANF, an applicant must meet a rigorous set of requirements. These requirements include an applicant being a U.S. citizen and all children being citizens or possessing alien status. Additionally, children must be under the age of 18 to qualify and living with parents or relatives. Applicants are expected to have Social Security Numbers. TANF also requires a family to earn less than the expected income of a typical household size per month. For example, in Indiana, a household of three is eligible in terms of income if the household’s net income is around $288 dollars, but these numbers are subject to change.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) In Indiana
TEFAP was created to provide commodity foods to those who otherwise could not purchase them during times of emergency. The state provides a selection of foods to local agencies that distribute the food to the appropriate food assistance organizations such as food pantries and soup kitchens. Each state receives a different amount of food based on the low-income and unemployed populations. In order to qualify for TEFAP, certain income requirements must be met.
In general, a household will be considered eligible for TEFAP if it falls below 185 percent of the set poverty line. Once the income requirement has been settled and residency has been established, the household will sign an Eligibility Contract. No other forms of identification, such as Social Security Numbers, will be required to determine eligibility once the Eligibility Contract has been signed.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) In Indiana
The SNAP program provides food assistance to households that have low-income or no income at all. SNAP provides benefits than can be used to purchase nutritional foods to supplement a healthy diet. The benefits will be provided on an EBT card. The amount of benefits provided will depend on a few different factors such as income, household size and disability.
In order to qualify for SNAP a household must be living in the United States and have means to establish residency such as mortgages, current rental receipts or utility bills. Other forms of required documentation are Social Security Numbers, proof of income and proof of any disabilities, if applicable. In general, a household’s income should be at or below 130 percent of the set poverty level to qualify. Benefits can only be used on approved food items with approved vendors.