Bridge to Benefits
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Learn about Programs


  1. Medicaid
  2. Healthy Montana Kids (HMK)
  3. Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)
  4. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  5. School Meal Program
  6. Child Care Assistance Program (Child Care Scholarships)
  7. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

1. Medicaid
Medicaid is a health insurance program for some Montanans with lower incomes and resources.  It is usually a free program, although there are some small costs (co-pays). Children 18 and younger, parents (or caretaker relatives [adults who are related within the fifth degree of kinship such as a grandparent]), pregnant women, and people who are aged, blind or disabled can all get Medicaid. Medicaid for children 18 and younger is called Healthy Montana Kids Plus.  Medicaid looks at every family member individually to see who can get help. Some people in your family may be able to get Medicaid, but others may not.  You have to be a U.S. Citizen or a legal immigrant to get Medicaid, unless you are pregnant. Most people also have to have income and assets below the limits to get Medicaid. Click here to learn more about Medicaid.

2. Healthy Montana Kids (HMK)
Healthy Montana Kids (HMK) is a free or low-cost health coverage plan for Montana children and teenagers up to age 19.  Children qualify for HMK based on family size and income.  A household's assets are not considered when determining HMK eligibility.  

HMK covers medical office and clinic visits, emergency services, vision and eyeglasses, dental services, mental health services, prescription drugs, and more.  

There is no pre-existing condition limitation for HMK coverage. 

Click here to learn more about Healthy Montana Kids. 

3. Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) helps people with lower incomes to pay their heating/energy bills during the winter months. Energy Assistance eligibility offices around the state take applications for the program and decide how much help each household can get to pay their heating bills. LIEAP is available to many households with lower incomes, including homeowners and renters. Click here to learn more about the Energy Assistance Program.

4. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP is a program that helps people with lower incomes pay for nutritious food, which helps kids to grow up strong and helps adults to stay healthy. SNAP does not pay for all the food that a person or a family needs each month, just some of it. Lots of people can get SNAP, including single adults, families and seniors. Some legal immigrants can get SNAP. You also have to have income and assets below the limits. If you get SNAP, you will get a plastic card that looks like a credit or debit card. Every month, the card will be filled up with the money for you to buy food at places that accept SNAP, such as grocery stores. The amount of money you will get each month depends on your income, expenses and the number of people who live with you. Click here to learn more about SNAP.

5. School Meal Program
The School Meal Program pays for all or part of the cost of meals for children at school (kindergarten through 12th grade). By offering healthy and nutritious meals, the program also helps children to learn and grow. All foster children can get free meals. If your family is getting help from Food Support (stamps) or FDPIR (Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations), you can get free meals. Otherwise, if you are not on these programs, your family has to have an income below the limits to get help. Some families can get free meals and others can get a reduced (lower) price on their meals. Click here to learn more about the School Meal Program.

6. Child Care Assistance Program (Child Care Scholarships)
The Child Care Assistance Program (Child Care Scholarships) helps working parents (or parents who are full time students) who have lower incomes pay for child care. CCAP is for families with children under age 13 (and under age 18 for children who are handicapped or have special needs). To get CCAP, your income has to be below the limits. Parents also have to work or look for work to get CCAP. 

CCAP is not a free program. All parents have to pay part of the cost of child care each month (a co-payment). CCAP has a sliding fee system — that means families that make more money pay more every month than families who make less money. If you get CCAP, you have to find a child care provider who accepts CCAP. Click here to learn more about the Child Care Assistance Program.

7. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit. It is mostly for low-income working parents (or others such as grandparents, relatives or foster parents) raising children. If you get it, you will either pay less on your federal income tax, or get a larger refund (money given back to you). Most people, who get the EITC, get a refund. The largest refund you can get from the EITC during Tax Year 2007 is $2,853 (if you have one child) or $4,716 (if you have two or more children).  Click here to learn more about the EITC.