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Food, Medical, and Financial Assistance Questions

  1. What are the phone hours for the Benefits Information Center?

    8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
    Not accepting calls on Wednesdays.

    Call (970) 498-6300 or send email

  2. What is the federal poverty guideline?

    The poverty guidelines are issued each year in the Federal Register by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.) The guidelines are a simplification of the poverty thresholds (updated each year by the Census Bureau) for use for administrative purposes - for instance, determining financial eligibility for certain federal programs.

    Programs using the guidelines or percentage multiples of them (such as 125 percent, 150 percent, or 185 percent), in determining eligibility include the Food Stamp Program, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Most of these programs are non-open-ended programs - that is, programs for which a fixed amount of money is appropriated each year. The only open-ended programs that use the poverty guidelines for eligibility are Food Stamps, the National School Lunch Program, certain parts of Medicaid, and the subsidized portion of Medicare/Prescription Drug Coverage. Note that in general, cash public assistance programs - TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and SSI (Supplemental Security Income) - do not use the poverty guidelines in determining eligibility. The Earned Income Tax Credit program also does not use the poverty guidelines to determine eligibility.

    Some state and local governments choose to use the federal poverty guidelines in their own programs and activities. Examples include financial guidelines for child support enforcement and determination of legal indigence for court purposes. Some private companies (such as utilities, telephone companies, and pharmaceutical companies) and some charitable agencies also use the guidelines in setting eligibility for their services to low-income persons.

    The 2011 federal poverty guideline (for the 48 Contiguous States and D.C.) is as follows:

    Size of Family Unit Annual Income
    1 $10,890
    2 $14,710
    3 $18,530
    4 $22,350
    5 $26,170
    6 $29,990
    7 $33,810
    8 $37,630
    For each additional
    person, add

    In general, one can calculate various percentage multiples of the guidelines by taking the current guidelines and multiplying each number by 1.25 for 125 percent, 1.50 for 150 percent, etc. Be aware, however, that the rounding rules for these calculations, as well as procedures for calculating monthly income, are determined by the federal, state, and local program offices that use the poverty guidelines for eligibility purposes

  3. How can I get a copy of my birth certificate?

    In general you may obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate by writing or visiting the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the State where you were born. For a complete listing of addresses by State, we recommend that you visit this web site: National Center for Health Statistics

    Costs and requirements vary, so review the instructions on the web site first.

    If you were born in Larimer County, the local Vital Statistics number is 498-6710.


  1. When calculating income do you consider monthly expenses such as electricity, rent or any other bills?

    No. Regulations require that we count gross monthly income before taxes, retirement and any other deductions.

  2. If I want to become a licensed child care provider who do I contact?

    The State Department of Human Services, Division of Child Care, Licensing Information at (800) 799-5876.

Food Stamps

  1. Can someone contact Human Services by phone and be told if they are eligible for food stamps?

    No. It is not possible to accurately determine eligibility without having a potential recipient complete an application. In this way, all of the eligibility factors can be correctly considered and a potential recipient is not inadvertently misinformed about their eligibility.

  2. What can be purchased with food stamp benefits?
    • Foods for human consumption.
    • Seeds and plants to grow food for household use.
  3. What cannot be purchased with food stamp benefits?
    • Any non-food item such as pet food; soaps, paper products, and household supplies; grooming items and cosmetics.
    • Alcoholic beverages or tobacco products.
    • Vitamins and medicines.
    • Any food that will be eaten in the store.
    • Any food marketed to be heated in the store.
  4. Who can receive food stamp benefits?

    You may be eligible to receive food stamp benefits, whether or not you work, if you have a low income.

  5. What is the amount of food stamp benefits I will receive?

    The amount of food stamp benefits a low-income person or family can receive is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Thrifty Food Plan. The plan estimates how much it costs to provide a household with nutritious, low-cost meals. The estimates are revised every year to keep pace with changes in food prices. The average amount of food stamp benefits received per household is about $85 per month.

  6. How many people receive food stamps in Larimer County?

    Total eligible households from July 1, 2003 - June 30, 2004 was 49,080.


  1. What is the amount of LEAP benefit I will receive?

    Benefit amounts vary and range from a minimum of $114.00 to a maximum of $700.00. The amount of benefit is based on factors relating to the individual household. A household may only receive one LEAP benefit per season.


  1. Must I have a face to face interview to apply for medicaid?

    No, if you are only applying for medicaid, you can mail your application to Human Services.

Larimer County Works

  1. Must I cooperate with Larimer County Works to be eligible to receive a money payment from TANF?

    Yes, you are assigned an Employment Coach when you apply. You must work with your coach to be eligible for a TANF payment.

Diversion/Cash Assistance

  1. I just attained a job that requires I provide my own tools. Is there assistance to pay for these?

    Possibly, if you provide all of the verification that support the need for the tools and you are below 250% of the Federal Poverty amount.


  1. If my husband and I are both unemployed, and he is the father of my children, can we apply TANF?

    Yes, as long as your income and resources are within the Federal guidelines.

In general...

What to expect when applying for assistance programs

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