The Application Process For TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid and SCHIP

The Application Process For TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid and SCHIP

Issues For Agencies and Applicants, Including Immigrants and Limited English Speakers

Abstract

This report explores the application and eligibility determination process for immigrants and limited-English speakers for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in six localities across the country. In general, the application process is easiest for Medicaid and SCHIP. There are more points of access for these programs, and outreach for them is more widespread and effective. The complexity of the application process, however, varies greatly across states and within states by locality. Social service agencies use a combination of strategies to provide interpretation for limited English speakers, including: bilingual staff, contracted interpreters, telephone language lines, and reliance on applicants' friends and family members.

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