I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends (and Government)


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There are times when the going gets tough and we might need a little help. Unfortunately, in today’s economic climate more and more people are looking to family and friends for a little boost. And sometimes that is not enough. However, when just a little boost isn’t enough, the U.S government offers federal AND state programs to support those in need. So what exactly does that mean? And how do they work?

Federal programs are applied equally in every state, while state programs vary and the state decides how the money they have should be distributed. The majority of these types of programs are set up as temporary assistance for those in need. Benefits tend to expire after a set period of time. The general goal of these government programs is to provide a temporary safety net. However, there is a well known long-term assistance program: Social Security. It offers a secure income after retirement, once the person has paid enough into the program. Other types of Social Security help the disabled or survivors of a family member.SNAP

Another great federal program is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. SNAP is designed to help families in need that have real concerns about their family’s nutrition and food security. Certain requirements can vary the amount of help an individual receives. The amount of income earned, number of household members, and ages greatly influence the assistance amount. SNAP provides families with a card, very similar to a gift card or prepaid debit card, which allows them to pay for food only.

The government also offers unemployment insurance for working adults who have unexpectedly lost their jobs. This program aids the individual as long as they are looking for employment. Each state determines the quantity offered to the unemployed.

There are also health care programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid is meant to help low-income families while Medicare is meant for individuals over the age of 65. Medicaid, unlike Medicare, is also funded by the state.medicare/medicade

There are many more programs to look into, and depending on your state and city, you may be lucky enough to find programs that fit your needs. Don’t forget to do your research, because the number of federal, state, and local programs that can help you are great and are always there when you need them.
One can never be fully prepared for tough times, and the government is there to help when you need it. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these programs are almost always temporary and can sometimes be just enough to get by. Relying solely on these programs is no match to a stable income from a job. In fact, most individuals earn more by returning to work. The government is there to help, but it also its duty to encourage citizens to attain a great sense of self‐sufficiency and independence that will lead to their health and well-being.

Student Editor: