Top 5 assistance programs to apply to when low/no income

I have this section on applying for programs as the first step since it can take time for the application process and sometimes your first application might be denied. Do not let that deter you instead find a community partner to help you figure everything out. A community partner is someone that has been OK’d by the program to help people through the application process. Usually you can find a list on the federal or state website – be careful of scams.


First see if you are eligible for SNAP (formally known as food stamps). There is a federal web site where it gives you the criteria for this program based on income and family size to see if you are eligible. You can also visit the state web site in which you live and it should also have information on the requirements and how to apply. This program can free up your cash to spend on other bills. It is a great help for those who are really feeling the squeeze especially with the recent increase in the price of literally everything.


You should check to see if you are eligible for Medicare or here in MA it is called MassHealth – you can either get it fully funded or get a lower price depending on what you can afford. This is usually applied for through the state in which you live.

Fuel Assistance

A lot of places have a fuel assistance programs, to help you pay to heat/cool your home. You can contact your local office to see if you can apply. Keep in mind most of these programs pay after the fact – so this will not be something you get until after the bills are all paid. This knowledge can help when you create your budget.

ACP – Affordable Connectivity Program

There is an Affordable Connectivity Program for cell phone/internet which decreases one or the other by $30. This plan is only for cell phone or internet not both. You can contact your internet provider and ask how to apply for the ACP plan through them. Then you can look to see if that internet provider has an affordable plan.

Where I am I have Comcast and then have an essentials plan which costs the same as the $30 the ACP puts toward the bill. So, if your internet provider does not have an affordable plan you can also look into using cellular router to cover your internet access.

I went via the internet company route, but I have heard that it may be possible to purchase a cellular Wi-Fi router and put a cell phone card into it from like T-Mobile which I believe has a truly unlimited data plan and then have the ACP applied to your cellular bill. To understand how best to utilize this program you should do your own research.

Extend SNAP

You may find that the amount of SNAP you get, just does not cover a full months of food. This is where you should take a look into the local farmers markets since there are a lot of programs that increase your SNAP when you shop with local farmers. For example currently 1/2024 the Providence Farmer’s Market on Saturday from 9-1 has a program that for each dollar you spend from SNAP at the market you get an extra dollar to spend on fresh veggies and fruit! It is an amazing program that can really help stretch your dollars and encourages you to eat healthy at the same time. And let’s be honest it is really great idea to support small local farms.

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