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Cash or Rental Assistance Options during COVID-19

Authored By: Alaska Legal Services
Contents

Cash or Rental Assistance Options During COVID-19

Many Alaskans are facing financial difficulties in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some government services that provide cash or rental assistance based on income. If you have been laid off, either get a letter from your past employer stating your last working date, or have your past employer’s phone number ready.

Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP)

  • What it does: ATAP provides families with time-limited cash assistance to low-income families with children.
  • Whether you qualify: Your family must have less than $2,000 in countable resources, or less than $3,000 if a member of your family is over 60. Resources that do not count include the home, household and personal goods, and most vehicles. Many Alaska Native tribes run a sister program called TANF which may have different eligibility rules.
  • How to apply: ATAP uses the same application as many programs run by the Division of Public Assistance. You must submit a written application to DPA by mail, fax, email, or drop off at a DPA office. A PDF of the application is available online at the Division of Public Assistance website. The DPA website has a contact list for local DPA offices. You can get help finding the phone number or address of your local DPA office from Alaska 211: 1-800-478-2221

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

  • What it does: TANF provides time limited cash assistance to families with children when the family cannot meet it's basic needs. This program is similar to ATAP, but TANF programs are run by Alaska Native Tribes, not the State of Alaska.
  • Whether you qualify: A least one member of the household must be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe, and you will need to prove that you need financial help, but each tribe's program may have different rules. A tribal member may be eligible for ATAP or for TANF, but not for both.
  • How to apply: You should contact your local tribal authority to learn if a tribal TANF program is available. The directory of Federally Recognized Alaska Tribes can help you find contact information.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • What it does: SNAP provides monthly payments for low income Alaskans to purchase food.
  • Whether you qualify: You must be a resident of Alaska, a U.S. citizen (though there are exceptions), have assets less than $2,500 for most households, and $3,500 for households containing a member who is disabled or 60 years or older.
  • Normally, there is a work requirement for able-bodied applicants between the ages of 16 and 59, but that requirement has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • More information about SNAP and application assistance is available online from the Foodbank of Alaska. You can also get help by calling (907) 222-3119 or texting SNAP to (907) 891-8913.
  • The State must issue SNAP benefits to eligible individuals within 30 days after receiving an application.  If you have submitted a SNAP application but have not received benefits within 30 days, please contact Alaska Legal Services’ statewide intake line at 1-888-478-2572.

Rent and Utility Relief

  • Alaska Housing Rent and Utility Relief
  • Local and Tribal Rent and Utility Assistance
    • Many local governments and tribes have established rental assistance and utility assistance programs. 

General Relief Assistance

  • What it does: This is a last resort, one-time payment of at most $120 to any household in an emergency situation.
  • Whether you qualify: The household must have an emergency need for shelter, utilities, food, clothing, or burial. The household must have no more than $500 in resources, such as cash or other property. This does not include your house, property necessary for employment, or your vehicle. The household also cannot receive more than $300 in net income per month if the household is made up of 1 person, although that number is higher for households with more than 1 person.
  • How to apply: General Relief uses the same application as many programs run by the Division of Public Assistance. You must submit a written application to DPA by mail, fax, email, or drop off at a DPA office. A PDF of the application is available online at the Division of Public Assistance website. The DPA website has a contact list for local DPA offices. You can get help finding the phone number or address of your local DPA office from Alaska 211: 1-800-478-2221

Heating Assistance Program (HAP)

  • What it does: HAP provides a once-per-year payment towards a household’s heating bill.
  • Whether you qualify: Your household’s monthly income must not exceed $1,950 for 1-person households, $2,641 for 2-person households, $3,332 for 3-person households, and $4,023 for 4-person households. See the applications for limits for larger households. Your monthly heating bill must be $200 minimum.
  • How to apply: The application deadline is August 31 of each year. The application is available at www.heatinghelp.alaska.gov, or call 1-800-470-3058.
  • The State must process applications within 45 days.  If you are out of heating fuel or are within 48 hours of having your utilities shut off, you may be able to have your application processed more quickly.  Use this DPA paperwork to ask for emergency processing.
  • If your application for heating assistance has been denied or delayed, please contact Alaska Legal Services’ statewide intake line at 1-888-478-2572.

Adult Public Assistance (APA)

  • What it does: APA provides cash assistance to the aged, blind, or disabled.
  • Whether you qualify: If under 65, you must be blind or disabled. Your resources must not exceed $2,000 for an individual, and $3,000 for a couple. There is also an income limit, which varies based on individual needs. You must also be seeking all other benefits available to you, including SSI, unemployment, worker’s compensation, and disability.
  • How to apply: APA uses the same application as some other Division of Public Assistance run programs. You must submit a written application to DPA by mail, fax, email, or drop off at a DPA office. A PDF of the application is available online at the Division of Public Assistance website. The DPA website has a contact list for local DPA offices. You can get help finding the phone number or address of your local DPA office from Alaska 211: 1-800-478-2221

Senior Benefits

  • What it does: Senior Benefits provides cash assistance to Alaskans age 65 and older with low to moderate income.
  • Whether you qualify: You must be at least 65 years of age, an Alaska resident, a U.S. citizen or qualified alien, and have a social security number or proof one has been applied for. Possible payments are $250, $175, or $76 per month. The amount of your cash assistance varies based on your income and whether you are married. For example, if you are single and make under $11,963, you are eligible for $250 per month.
  • How to apply: You must submit a written application to the Division of Public Assistance by mail, fax, email, or drop off at a DPA office. The paper application for Senior Benefits can be downloaded. The DPA website has a contact list for local DPA offices. You can get help finding the phone number or address of your local DPA office from Alaska 211: 1-800-478-2221

2021 Child Tax Credit

  • What it does: To help families cover their children’s basic needs, Congress expanded the Child Tax Credit for this year. The IRS will be sending out monthly checks to families with children, starting in July. You can receive up to $300 a month for every child ages 0-5 and $250 a month for every child ages 6-17 living in your household.
  • Whether you qualify: You do not need to earn any income.
  • How to apply: You need to file your 2020 tax return (the IRS has free file optionsor use the IRS' non-filer sign-up tool. No other action is necessary.

 

Last Review and Update: Jun 29, 2021