The State of Texas receives block and formula grant funding from the federal government and pairs this with state revenue to provide benefit programs for Texans on the local level. This acts as a safety net for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, offering basic services and programs that provide food, health care, education and household assistance. Here you will find a brief description of what each program does and information about how to apply in your area.
Energy and Weatherization Assistance
The Texas Department of Community Affairs offers several programs to help low-income Texans deal with heating and cooling costs. The Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program or CEAP will pay for up to the highest four monthly energy bills a year for qualifying customers. The Weatherization Assistance Program or WAP helps low-income households better prepare their housing for winter and summer months to lower yearly energy costs. To apply for either program, simply visit the Help for Texans page on the DHCA website and select either Utility Bill Help or Weatherization. To apply by phone for energy assistance, call 1-877-399-8939. For weatherization, call 1-888-606-8889. Both numbers are available Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM.
Both Head Start and Early Head Start programs are offered in some areas across Texas, providing early childhood education to low-income children. Head Start works with children ages 3 to 5, to best prepare them for the start of elementary school. Early Head Start works with pregnant women, infants and toddlers. To find out if a Head Start program is available in your area, use the Department of Health and Human Services Head Start locator.
Health and Human Services Commission
What was formerly called the food stamp program is handled by the HHSC and now called the SNAP program. Available to low-income families, the elderly and even single adults, SNAP provides nutritional support through electronic debit cards called Lone Star Cards. Apply for help at yourtexasbenefits.com or simply call 211.
This state and federal partnership provides medical coverage to needy Texans who might otherwise have no access to medical insurance. The program works with pregnant women, parents with children under 19, those with disabilities and residents that are 65 years of age or older. To apply for Medicaid, visit yourtexasbenefits.com or call the Texas Medicaid hotline at 1-800-252-8263.
School Nutrition Programs
The Texas Department of Agriculture offers several food and nutrition programs to feed low-income Texas school children. It provides the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs inside Texas public schools. This makes free or reduced school lunches available to kids from low-income families across Texas. To apply for either of these programs, you simply contact your child’s school. It also runs the Special Milk Program, that provides milk in other settings like camps and child care facilities. And to ensure that the same children helped by programs during the school year do not go without, the Summer Food Service Program sets up summer feeding centers that feed kids while school is out.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children
This nutritional program helps pregnant women, new mothers and young children inside the State of Texas with two main types of support. WIC offers a supply of food and access to quality health care to those found to be nutritionally at-risk who have low-income. Find out if you are eligible for the program by visiting the Department of State Health Services website. Use the zip code locator to find the WIC clinic near you or call 1-800-942-3678 to inquire about the program.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
The state provides support to low-income families through the Texas Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF program. Cash assistance and medical coverage is available through the program to pregnant women and parents with children under the age of 19. To get help under TANF, you must either be under-employed, unemployed or about to lose your job. You can apply for the program by using yourtexasbenefits.com or by calling the Texas Department of Human Services at 1-800-448-3927.
TexCare Children’s Health Insurance
Families that earn too much money to apply for Medicare can still provide health insurance to their minor children through the TexCare Children’s Health Insurance Program. The program even covers working parents who either have health insurance that doesn’t cover children or in situations when the insurance offered by the parent’s employer is too expensive for the family to purchase. The program is open to children under the age of 19. Most eligible families receive free care but depending on income will pay a maximum of $50 per year. You can check your eligibility for the program online. If eligible, you can also apply online or call toll-free 1-877-543-7669 to start the application process.
If you find yourself unemployed through no fault of your own, you may be eligible to receive unemployment insurance from the State of Texas. You will have had to have worked between the last 12 to 18 months, be available for work and looking for a job to receive benefits under the program. Visit the Texas Workforce Commission website to apply for benefits or call 1-800-939-6631 with any questions.
Category: Grants By States