Recession has affected millions of families in the country and Oklahomans are not spared from this economic crisis.
The state of Oklahoma understands the plight of its most disadvantaged residents — particularly single mothers from lower income families.
And to make life easier for them, a set of support programs has been made available to provide a “safety net” for these families.
From food, medical to child care assistance, the state government looks after their most basic needs while they work toward becoming self-reliant.
01Oklahoma Earned Income Tax Credit
Oklahoma’s EITC is the little sister of the federal EITC — a tax credit designed to benefit working families. Taxpayers who receive the federal credit automatically qualify for the state credit, which is equal to 5% of the amount claimed on IRS returns.
The state of Oklahoma once allowed the EITC to be both non-refundable and refundable. However, for the 2016 filing year, Oklahoma’s EITC has been made non-refundable.1
Qualifying taxpayers could still claim the credit to offset any taxes they owe, but could no longer use the credit to claim cash refund beyond their tax liability.
Oklahoma TANF provides public assistance programs for eligible families with children under the age of 18, on a time-limited basis. Oklahoma’s maximum cash benefit is $292 per month for a family of three.2
Among the program’s purposes are to provide temporary assistance to needy families as well as to end dependency of needy parents by promoting job preparation and work.
As a result, TANF recipients are required to participate in work related activities for a specified number of hours per week.
To apply for TANF, you must submit completed form 08MP001 (Request for Benefits) to your local DHS Human Services Center near you. If help is needed, call 1-866-411-1877 for assistance.
SNAP serves to improve the diets of low-income Oklahomans, regardless of age, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost and serves as the first line of defense against hunger.
In Oklahoma, SNAP benefits are issued to more than 600,000 adults and children each month — more than 70% participants are lower income families with children.
The benefit amount varies from family to family according to income, family size, and available resources. If eligible, you’ll receive your benefits through the “Access Oklahoma EBT” card.
You can apply for SNAP and other programs at any DHS office. If you have ever had a DHS case number, you can apply online at www.OKDHSLive.org.
SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, guarantees coverage for basic health and long-term care services for eligible Oklahoma residents — mostly uninsured children under age 19, parents, and pregnant women.
SoonerCare is free for those who meet the income guidelines; however, co-pays may apply to some services. If you are uninsured, call 1-800-987-7767 to find out if SoonerCare is the right option for you.
As Oklahoma is not expanding coverage, Medicaid eligibility for non-disabled adults is limited to parents with incomes below 39% of poverty. Pregnant women are covered up to 133% of poverty.
CCAP in Oklahoma is available for children under age 13 or up to age 18 for children with special needs whose parent is either employed or enrolled in school.
Eligibility is based on family size, the number of children in care and amount of income. Families earning approximately $2,425/month or less with one child in care, and $3,625/month with three or more children in care may qualify.
The program pays for part of the child care costs, and you co-pay for a portion based on the size of the family, the amount of your income, and the number of children in care.3
Oklahoma is one of three states in the nation to offer free voluntary pre-Kindergarten to all 4-year-olds in participating school districts. Most of Oklahoma’s public school districts voluntarily offer half-day or full-day Pre-K classes.
Although pre-Kindergarten is free, there is typically a charge for before- and after-school care to complete day for working families. To enroll your child in Pre-K, call your local elementary school.
Oklahoma Section 8 is a federally funded State’s program which assists low income families in paying their rent and utilities. Eligible families will have part of their rent paid each month by the Oklahoma City Housing Authority.
Families determined eligible for the program will receive a Housing Choice Voucher to rent a unit of their choice within the Oklahoma City limits. When the voucher is issued, the family has 60 days to locate a suitable unit.
OHFA’s Section 8 Housing Choice Waiting List has been closed effective June 1, 2016. Applications will not be accepted on or after this date.
LIHEAP provides eligible low-income Oklahoma households with winter heating bill assistance. The program also pays for summer cooling and/or weatherization aid.
Eligibility for the LIHEAP program is based on a household’s total income, household size, dwelling type, and type of heating fuel, among others. Application begins in the month of December and will be accepted until the state runs out of money.
Crisis assistance is also available to provide help for families who have received utility cut-off notices. Proof of identification, and the most recent heating bill is required.
To apply for LIHEAP, you need to visit
Unemployment Insurance is a program of social insurance that provides a temporary source of income for Oklahomans unemployed through no fault of their own — up to a maximum of $520 per week.
You can apply by telephone or by using the Internet. To file over the Internet, just go to Oklahoma Network Initial Claims (ONIC) to file your claim for benefits.
To file by telephone, call (405) 525-1500 if you live within the metropolitan calling area of Oklahoma City or 1-800-555-1554 if you live anywhere outside.
As a condition of eligibility, you are required to register for employment services at OKJobMatch.com within seven (7) days of filing your initial claim. This interactive job search tool is designed to help you connect with employers and their job openings.
OTAG is a grant offered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) to residents of Oklahoma who attend Oklahoma’s public and private colleges and universities.
The current maximum annual award is $1,000 for students attending public colleges, universities or career technology centers, and $1,300 for students attending eligible private colleges or universities.
Application is made through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available through the financial aid office at the college you are planning to attend, or at FAFSA.gov.
Oklahoma PROMISE allows students in the 8th through 10th grades4 whose parents earning less than $55,000 in income apply for free college tuition. Some 76,000 Oklahomans have received the scholarship over the years.5
The award amount is determined annually by the Oklahoma State Regents — the amount of which depends upon the type of institution attended and the number of hours in which the student enrolls.6
Application for Oklahoma PROMISE is available online. For more information, call the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s information hotline at 800-858-1840.References
- NewsOK, Oklahoma House votes to trim earned income tax credit
- How much do you get for TANF in Oklahoma?
- Oklahoma DHS, Child Care Eligibility/Co-payment Chart
- Homeschool students must be age 13, 14 or 15.
- NewsOK, Oklahoma’s Promise turns 25: Scholarship income limit would rise under bill
- 2017-18 Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship Rates