US welfare eligibility?

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Welfare is government aid for low-income individuals, including cash assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid. Eligibility requires proof of financial need, citizenship or legal residence, a Social Security number, job-seeking efforts, and meeting family obligations. Some states may have additional requirements, such as drug testing or community service.

Welfare is government aid that is intended to help people who have little or no income, including the working poor. Aimed primarily at families with children, the elderly, and the disabled, this help can include cash assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid. In some states, welfare may also take the form of vouchers, credits or grants. To be eligible for welfare in the United States, a person must apply, provide proof of financial need, and meet certain federal and state requirements. Must typically be a legal citizen or resident, have a Social Security number and be seeking work, training or education, and may also be required to meet certain family obligations.

Citizenship and Residence

To be eligible for welfare, the applicant must be a US citizen or legally admitted to the country for permanent residence. Some exceptions may apply to the citizenship rules. When an individual applies for welfare, their citizenship status is reviewed, along with the status of each family member, before assistance is granted. Each state also has its own residency conditions that must be met. For example, to be eligible in Pennsylvania, an individual must live in that state and intend to stay there.

Social Security number

A Social Security number is required for someone to receive welfare benefits, even for a child. If someone in an applicant household does not have a Social Security number, they must apply for one, provide proof that they applied for a number, and provide the number to their social worker after they are released. The social worker may also need a copy of the person’s social security card.

Employment, training and education

Adults often have to meet certain job requirements to be eligible. These can vary depending on the programs and the states in which they ask for help. In general, recipients are expected to seek employment or training. Some states provide job training and job search programs geared specifically to welfare recipients.

Under certain circumstances, a person may be exempt from work requirements. For example, an individual in a single parent household that includes a child under the age of 12 months may be temporarily relieved of having to look for a job. Recipients with temporary or permanent disabilities or people who are enrolled in substance abuse programs may also be exempt. Also, people who are eligible for aid but are in college may be eligible for a work exemption.

family obligations

Depending on the state and specific program, there may be special requirements for single and separated parents regarding dependent children and child support. Typically, recipients must seek child support and meet certain child support and parenting requirements, including efforts to find an absent parent. After child support is granted, the government may require some or all of it to compensate for the help that is provided. Child support cooperation waivers are made for a good cause, such as proven domestic violence situations.
Other conditions
As of 2012, many states were considering additional eligibility requirements. For example, some states were debating whether applicants should be drug tested on a regular basis. Other states were considering requiring photo identification to apply for a social security check. Some states were also debating whether recipients should perform community service.

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