Lost Your Job and Need Help?
Authored By: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (New Orleans office)
Where can I find help?
Several government programs might help you. Most of these were created by federal law. Most are run in Louisiana by state agencies, but some are run directly by federal government agencies. Each program has its own rules about who is eligible. Some programs have different kinds of services and benefits. You may be eligible for some services or benefits but not others. You can get more information on this website about these programs, by looking at the list of sub-topics under the heading "Government Benefits."
Veterans Benefits. Many think that 1/3 of the U.S. population is eligible for some kind of federal veterans benefits, either as a veteran, or as a dependent or survivor of a veteran. Contact the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. Its website is www.va.gov.
Food Stamps. Most persons and families with low income and few resources are eligible for food stamps. This program helps you buy food. It's run by Louisiana's Department of Children and Family Services (formerly Louisiana Department of Social Services), Office of Family Support. Its website is http://www.dss.louisiana.gov/. Here is a link to the office directory[DHW1] at http://www.dss.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=directory&tmp=home&nid=143&pnid=0&pid=0
Other food programs. The federal government gives help through other programs, such as the school meals programs, the WIC ("Women, Infants, and Children") program, and free food distributions. Check with the Louisiana Department of Social Services, Office of Family Support.
Cash assistance for families with dependent children. Cash payments are available to many people with low income and few resources, who are caring for their own or related children. There are different programs run by the state of Louisiana's Department of Social Services, Office of Family Support. These programs include what is called FITAP (the old "welfare") and KCSP (Kinship Care Subsidy Program).
Medicaid. Medical help for low-income people who fall into certain groups. Doctors and hospitals who agree to be in the program are paid back later by the government. Not everyone who is poor can get Medicaid. Even if you don't think of yourself as poor, you might be able to get Medicaid if you have lots of unpaid medical bills. Many children from birth to age 19 are covered by a Medicaid program called "LaChip." LaChip covers children up to 255% of poverty levels. See if your children can get LaChip Medicaid by checking the income levels on the agency's website, or call the toll-free number 1-877-2LaChip(252-2447). You can also apply online[DHW2] at http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/page/237. The state's Medicaid program is run by Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals. Its website is www.dhh.state.la.us.
Unemployment insurance. If you recently lost your job - either because you quit or were fired or laid off, you may be able to get these benefits. The federal program is run in Louisiana by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. You do not need a pink slip (separation notice) to apply, but if you have one, take it with you when you apply. You may also be eligible even if you quit. You may also be able to get these benefits while working. The Louisiana Workforce Commission’s website is .http://www.laworks.net. To find the office nearest you, check http://www.laworks.net/ServiceLocator.asp.
Social Security Insurance. The Social Security Administration runs this program. It gives different kinds of benefits if you are eligible because of a disability, retirement or being a survivor or dependent of an insured wage earner. This federal agency's website is www.ssa.gov. You can apply online or call its toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213.
SSI (Supplemental Security Income). Elderly, disabled and blind persons with low income may be able to get monthly cash payments through this federal program, also run by the Social Security Administration.