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Out of jobless benefits? There's more government aid

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A growing number of jobless Americans are maxing out their unemployment benefits. There are a handful of other lifeline benefits that the unemployed may qualify for.

For a comprehensive list of federal, state and local government benefit and assistance programs and eligibility requirements, visit GovBenefits.gov. These programs usually vary by state, or even city by city.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Better known as food stamps, SNAP is one of the most universal government programs since it is aimed at a broader population including singles, couples and families. Households must earn less than 130% of poverty guidelines -- which on an annual basis is below $14,079 for individuals and $28,665 for a family of four -- and have no more than $2,000 in the bank. The maximum monthly allotment for a family of four is $668.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: The federally-funded program provides money to states to help low-income households cope with the financial strain of high heating and cooling bills, and in some states, home weatherization. Eligible household incomes cannot exceed 150% of poverty guidelines -- $16,245 for individuals and $33,075 for a family of four.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: The federal government provides block grants to states to develop and implement a variety of welfare programs for families who have children 18-years-old and younger or are pregnant and earn a low income or are unemployed. Experts say that the unemployed with children, especially single mothers, are in most cases likely to qualify for the cash assistance program.

A $5 billion TANF Emergency Fund was authorized under the Recovery Act but expires at the end of September. In addition to providing cash assistance, the fund also subsidizes jobs with private companies, nonprofits and government agencies.

General assistance: Most states have a general assistance fund to aid low-income, childless singles and couples. These grants are typically limited. To top of page

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