How Does Welfare Work?


Welfare is issued by the U.S. Department of Human Services, also called social services. Welfare is only issued based on a family's income level. The income for the household must be at or below the poverty level set by the state. So a family of three may make up to $1,200 a month, but a family of five would be able to make up to $1,400. The amount is also different from state to state. Interested parties should apply at their local social services office. An application and proof of income must be submitted to find out if you qualify.

Cash Assistance

Cash assistance is given out in small amounts. The amount of cash dispersed depends on a person's income level and family size. The cash is given either on a debit card or direct deposit into a person's bank account. It is dispersed once per month. The cash is usually not enough to pay bills, so welfare is not a complete solution to your financial problems. It is just a temporary help until you find another job. When a person is on cash assistance, they must also cooperate with each state's Work First program. The Work First program will get individuals involved in job training programs and encourage individuals to get back to work.

Food Stamps

Food stamps are also issued based on family size and income. Unlike cash assistance, a family is allowed to make more money and still qualify for food stamps. Food stamps used to be given out on paper like dollar bills, but today they are placed on a credit card-type device. Each month, the designated amount goes on the card and the family can then use it at the grocery store. The store automatically deducts the amount from the card. You can call the 800 number on the back of the card to check the balance at any time.

Child Care

Welfare pays for child care for individuals who meet the financial requirements. Child care is only provided for individuals who need to work but can't afford daycare. Those who receive child care must find a child care provider that will agree to get paid what welfare is offering to pay. The person must also be willing to get paid once per month. Plus, the person providing the care must fill out a form each month that states the dates and times they provided the child care.