Montana Earned Income Tax Credit #
Montana’s EITC will come into effect in 2019, meaning low-income working families in Montana can begin to claim the state’s EITC beginning with the 2020 income tax filing season.
The state EITC is available only to working families and it’s fully refundable, meaning those who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund.
At 3 percent, Montana’s credit would be the lowest of the 29 states that offer their own EITCs. While modest in comparison, families could use the extra money to “pay down bills, put food on the table and buy school clothes.”
Montana Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) #
Montana TANF program provides temporary financial assistance for needy families with children under the age of 18. The aim is to end dependency on government benefits by promoting job preparation and work.
TANF cash assistance is a not free ride. You are required to participate in the Work Readiness Component (WoRC) program which is a job training and employment program for TANF participants.
If you are a single mother, you are required to participate in a minimum of 33 hours per week (132 hours per month) of WoRC approved activities.
How do I apply for TANF in Montana?
The most convenient way to apply for TANF in Montana is through apply.mt.gov — the official self-service web-based portal managed by the state of Montana.
Montana Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) #
Montana SNAP (formerly Montana Food Stamps) helps low-income people and families in Montana with cash assistance to buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet.
Eligible SNAP participants are issued a Montana Access Card used to make food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets, in lieu of paper food stamp coupons.
Unless otherwise exempt, all participants ages 18—49 must register for work, and may be required to participate in a Food Stamp Employment and Training Program.
How do I apply for food stamps in Montana?
You may apply for food stamps online at apply.mt.gov, under “Apply for Assistance”. If you don’t already have an account, please create one.
Montana School Meal Program #
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) will issue Pandemic Electronic Transfer (P-EBT) benefits to eligible families whose children lost access to free or reduced priced meals. All eligible families will be issued a new EBT card specifically for the P-EBT program.
Administered by the Montana Office of Public Instruction, School Meal Program is a program that pays for all or part of the cost of breakfast and lunch for children at school.
In Montana, any family who qualifies by income can receive free or reduced priced meals at a cost of 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch. Families at or below 130% FPL qualify for free school meals.
The free and reduced price meal applications are mailed to every student household in August of each year, but you may apply at anytime during the school year.
Montana Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) #
WIC Program provides supplemental foods, nutrition education and referrals to health care, at no cost, to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5 who qualify.
To be eligible, you must be a resident of the state of Montana with income not exceeding 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. Montana WIC does not require proof of pregnancy.
All WIC participants will receive an eWIC card which can be used like a debit-card with a 4-digit PIN wherever Montana eWIC is accepted.
Montana WIC Program
Montana Medicaid #
Montana Medicaid is a health care coverage for low-income Montanans. Priority is given to those most in need — mostly uninsured children under age 18, pregnant women, disabled adults, as well as seniors.
In Montana, Medicaid is divided into two main categories: family-related Medicaid and Medicaid for people who are aged, blind, or disabled. Medicaid for children, ages 0-19, is known as Healthy Montana Kids Plus.
How do I apply for Montana Medicaid?
As Montana is expanding coverage, Medicaid is now available to all adults age between 19-64 with income up to 138% of the federal poverty level and up to 162% for pregnant women.
For questions about applications and/or eligibility, call
Offices of Public Assistance (OPA)
Healthy Montana Kids #
Healthy Montana Kids (HMK) is a free or low-cost health insurance plan that provides coverage to eligible Montana children up to age 19 whose families meet income guidelines.
Covered services include well-child checkups, prescription drugs, dental care, eye exam & eyeglasses, and other related services. No pre-existing condition limitations.
The coverage is free of charge, although some families covered by Healthy Montana Kids (HMK) may make a small co-payment; however, no family pays more than $215 per year in co-payments.
How do I sign up for Montana Healthy Kids?
You may sign up for Healthy Montana Kids online at apply.mt.gov, or call 1-877-543-7669 to have an application mailed to you.
Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarships #
The Early Childhood Services Bureau offers “Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarships” to qualified low-income families in Montana. Everyone that participates pays a co-payment based on a sliding fee scale.
Recipients of the scholarship are working families, working care takers, TANF recipients, and parents in high school, college or pursuing a GED whose income is below 185% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Single parent families are required to work a minimum of 60 hours each month unless they are attending school full-time. Those who are attending school part-time shall work no less than 40 hours each month.
Families seeking child care assistance must complete the scholarship application and submit it the local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.
Montana Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) #
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) assists eligible Montana residents and families with their heating and cooling costs. Priority is granted to households with incomes not exceeding 150% of federal poverty level.
How do I apply for LIEAP in Montana?
Application for LIEAP generally must be filed during the “heating season” for which assistance is being sought, between October 1 and April 30th each year.
For more details on how to apply, call
Free Weatherization Program
If you are eligible for LIEAP, you may also be eligible to have your home weatherized at no cost to you whether you own your home or rent from a landlord. Special priority is given to older adults and disabled individuals.
Montana Unemployment Insurance #
Montana’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) provides temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own — for up to 28 weeks.
As a condition of eligibility, you are required to register for work online at jobs.mt.gov or in person at the local Job Service Montana and provide proof of work search each week that you are collecting benefits.
Where can I claim unemployment benefits in Montana?
Claims for weekly benefits may be filed online using a 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) or if you wish to file your initial claim over the phone, call the center serving your county.
Montana Emergency Rental Assistance Program #
The Emergency Rental Assistance program is now available for Montanans who have lost their income as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of housing instability.
Renters may receive a monthly maximum of $2,200 for past due and future rent payments, dating back to April 1, 2020, up to $300 for past due and future utilities including gas and electric, and $50 per month for internet.
How do I apply for rental assistance in Montana?
To learn more, check your eligibility, and apply for Emergency Rental Assistance, visit housing.mt.gov and schedule an appointment online with one of the application processors.
Montana Grants for College #
Montana Higher Education Grant (MHEG)
Montana Higher Education Grant is funded by the state of Montana and is matched with Federal funds. Eligible students may be awarded up to $500 a year based on their needs and fund availability.
Montana Tuition Assistance Program (MTAP)
Montana Tuition Assistance Program (MTAP) is the largest need-based grant program in Montana. It is awarded, based on need, to Montana resident students who have earned at least 500 times the federal hourly minimum wage.
To apply for either (or both) of these grants, students must be accepted by the college’s admissions office and apply for financial aid by submitting a FAFSA.
Funds for MHEG and MTAP are limited, so early FAFSA filing is encouraged — advisably prior to March 1 deadline.