Much of Spokane’s population may qualify for government assistance

I was interested to look a bit deeper into the data that says nearly 20% of Spokane income comes from (mostly) government assistance in the form of transfer payments and a recent Spokesman-Review article that erroneously claimed 56% of Spokane students lived in poverty (not true – its about 18% and the real number is bad enough.)

It appears that nearly half the homes in Spokane have the potential to qualify for some assistance program such as WIC, CHIP, free and reduced price breakfast and lunch programs, Summer Food Service or Medicaid payments for medical services. There are other transfer payments besides these, such as retirement and unemployment payments. This post focuses in on the need-based assistance programs – and looks at the qualifications to receive assistance. Not all homes, even within the basic income bands, below, will actually qualify; for example, if you already have employer provided health care, you do not qualify for the government assistance program for health care.

First, let’s revisit the income distribution in Spokane:

Please see the original post on that topic for more information and data source citation.

As you can see from the chart, most households in Spokane earned less than $40,000 to $50,000 per year.

Let us use that income level – and below – to look at what type of assistance that household might qualify for from various levels of government. As we can see from the above chart (which is 2008 incomes) and the below income guidelines (for 2010), a large number of households might qualify for assistance from one or more programs.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) eligibility guidelines:

Persons in Family or Household Size Annual Monthly Twice-Monthly Bi-Weekly Weekly
1 $20,036.00 $1,670.00 $835.00 $771.00 $386.00
2 26955 2247 1124 1037 519
3 33,874 2823 1412 1303 652
4 40793 3400 1700 1569 785
5 47712 3976 1988 1836 918
6 54631 4553 2277 2102 1051
7 61550 5130 2565 2368 1184
8 68469 5706 2853 2634 1317
Each Add’l Member Add $6,919.00 577 289 267 134

I believe this program is run by each state and a small amount of information on Washington’s program is available here.

Washington Children’s Health Insurance Program

(Partial list of qualifications and income table shown – more at the above link. The number of people shown below refers to household size.)

  • Qualifications: Be under age 19 and not have health insurance.
  • 2 people: $35,004
  • 3 people: $44,004
  • 4 people: $53,004
  • 5 people: $62,004

Washington Energy Assistance Program

  • 1 person: $13,537
  • 2 people: $18,212
  • 3 people: $22,887
  • 4 people: $27,562
  • 5 people: $32,237

Washington Head Start (children aged 3 to 5)

Provides school readiness for young children, health and nutritional services, and assistance with childcare.

  • 1 person: $10,830
  • 2 people: $14.570
  • 3 people: $18,310
  • 4 people: $22,050
  • 5 people: $25,790

Washington Medicaid

Provides assistance to pay for medical services for the disabled, those 65 and over, children and their caretakers and pregnant women. The eligibility requirements were a bit confusing to me but I believe these are the basic income levels, given in monthly income figures (see main page here). These refer to the maximum possible income levels – actual benefits will vary from partial to full assistance with lower incomes receiving greater assistance. An unborn child is counted in the household size, so that a couple where the wife is pregnant, counts as 3 people. Some one who has employer provided pre-paid health service/insurance is not eligible.

  • 1 person: $2,708 ($32,496)
  • 2 people: $3,643 ($43,716 annual)
  • 3 people: $4,578 ($54,936 annual)
  • 4 people: $5,513 ($66,156 annual)
  • 5 people: $6,448 ($77,376 annual)

As shown here, almost half of the births in Spokane are paid for by Medicaid.

Washington School Breakfast and Lunch Program

Provides free or reduced cost breakfast and lunch to school students.

  • 2 people: $26,955
  • 3 people: $33,874
  • 4 people: $40,793
  • 5 people: $47,712

There is a related program that provides access to milk for those who are not in the above program.

Washington Summer Food Service

Offers free or reduced price meals to children in parks, day camps, churches, community centers and other locations when school is out for the summer.

  • 1 person: $20,036
  • 2 people: $26,955
  • 3 people: $33,874
  • 4 people: $40,793
  • 5 people: $47,712

Washington Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Qualifications: Bank account of less than $2,001, or less than $3,001 if someone is age 60 or older or disabled in the household:

  • 1 person: $14,079
  • 2 people: $18,941
  • 3 people: $23,803
  • 4 people: $28,665
  • 5 people: $33,527

The above is not a full list of benefits available.  Some may also qualify for Washington WorkFirst, Social Security benefits programs, Veteran’s Assistance programs, Medicare, Health Care for Workers with Disabilities, and others.

Summary

It appears that about half the homes in Spokane have the potential to qualify for some programs such as WIC, CHIP, free and reduced price breakfast and lunch programs, Summer Food Service and Medicaid payments for medical services.

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One Response to Much of Spokane’s population may qualify for government assistance

  1. Pingback: Greater Spokane, Inc continues to promote poverty as Spokane’s comparative advantage « Spokane Economic And Demographic Data

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