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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Top Government Programs Providing Aid to Americans


Amid a slowly recovering economy, government cuts, and the most recent government shutdown, it's good to be reminded of programs that are still being offered to help low-income and other Americans. Here is a guide to some of the top government assistance programs:

Social Security

Social Security has been around since 1935 and continues to pay benefits to working Americans when they retire. Full benefits are generally drawn when a person reaches age 65, but they can also retire at age 62 but with a reduced benefit amount. During the recent government shutdown, social security payments continued.

Medicare

Medicare has been providing health insurance benefits for people 65 years of age or older since 1965. When people retire, Medicare benefits provide them with health insurance. The biggest expense, inpatient care in hospitals or nursing facilities (Part A) is usually provided at no cost to the insured person. Health care providers are reimbursed by the government for services they provide to Medicare participants.

Medicaid

The Medicaid Program provides medical benefits to low-income people who have no medical insurance coverage. The Federal government establishes general guidelines for Medicaid benefits. Each state has its own criteria for eligibility, but all states provide Medicaid benefits for low income or very low income residents.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps)

SNAP benefits puts food on the table for 28 million Americans every month. Those who qualify are low-wage earners, the unemployed, the elderly, disabled and homeless.

Public Housing Assistance Program

The federal government established the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Public Housing assistance program to help low-income families afford a safe and decent place to call home. Generally, the qualifying individual or family pays about 30 percent of their monthly wages on rent and a government subsidy pays the rest. Affordable housing continues to be a priority in states across the country.
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