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How to Apply for CHIP

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) gives free or low-cost medical insurance to children. The program gives insurance to pregnant women, too. The first step to getting CHIP benefits is filling out an application. The way you can apply depends on where you live. Some states let you apply online. Others might ask you to apply in person at an office.

Before you apply, look at the requirements in your state. Different states have special requirements you might have to meet. There are national requirements, too. You have to make less than a certain amount of money and live in the state where you apply. You have to show documents to prove how much you make and where you live, too. For more information on the application process, read the sections below.

How can I apply for CHIP?

The way you can apply for CHIP depends on your state. Some states like Arkansas, Idaho and Kansas let you apply for CHIP online through their websites. Their websites have online applications that you can type your information into. You can sign the applications online, too. You might have to create an account before applying online in these states. This account will let you keep track of your application status later.

Other states like Maine, Massachusetts and North Dakota don’t let you apply online. You can get a hard copy of the application, fill it out and send it in by:

  • Going to a local county office.
  • Mailing it to the address on the form.
  • Faxing it to a local county office.

To learn more about how to apply for CHIP, download our free guide.

How do I fill out the CHIP application?

When you get a CHIP application, you have to fill it out with the right information. You will be asked for information about your family, how much you make and where you work. To get ready to fill out the application, it’s good to have these documents with you:

  • An ID like a passport or your driver’s license for personal information
  • Paystubs or your W-2 for information about how much you make
  • Utility bills or rental agreements for information about where you live

You will need documents from your family, too. To apply for CHIP, you have to give information about the people who live with you. You will be asked for information about your husband/wife, your kids under 19 and any other family members who depend on you at home.

Fill out all the main parts of the application. Leaving sections blank might make the CHIP caseworker reject your application.

Some states use one application for a lot of different programs. So you might see food stamps, cash assistance and CHIP all on the form you are filling out. This means you can apply for these programs at the same time with this application. But you will need to fill out the sections of the application that talk about those programs.

Note: Need help filling out your CHIP insurance application? If you have a disability, you can call your local county office for help. You can ask them questions about the application, too.

What happens after I apply for CHIP?

After you apply for CHIP, you will have to wait to find out if your child can get benefits. A CHIP caseworker will look at your application and decide if you qualify. If they need more information to make the decision, they will ask you for it. If they ask you for more information, you have a few weeks to give it to them. Then the CHIP caseworker will let you know if you can get benefits.

If you do not qualify for CHIP, you will get a letter that explains why. You can appeal the decision if you disagree with the reason.

If you get into the CHIP program, you will find out if your coverage is free. If it’s not free, you will find out about the costs. You will learn when coverage starts, too. Your plan might start that day. It might start on the first day of the next month. Next, you will get to pick your primary care physician. If you don’t pick one, you will have one given to you.

For more information about the CHIP application process, download our free guide today.

Different ways you can apply

Some states may allow you to apply for energy assistance online through a state website. This is typically the case for states that operate LIHEAP at the state level rather than the county level. The department accepting applications can vary from state to state. However, generally the state Department of Health and Human Services will host and process the application. To apply for LIHEAP online, you typically need to make an account with your state’s benefits program. For example, the state of Vermont requires you to make an account with myBenefits, operated by the Department for Children and Families Agency of Human Services.

Once you create an account, you can begin the process of applying for LIHEAP online. You should expect to provide personal and financial information throughout the application, including your name, gender, marital status, physical and mailing address and more. You will typically need a Social Security Number (SSN) as well. Then, you will need to provide information for every member of your household. Depending on the state you live in, you may or may not be required to include income information for all members of the household, including children. You may also be asked for information regarding how often everyone in the household shares meals and whether anyone sometimes lives elsewhere. You may be asked about your work history or whether you have any disabilities as well on the HEAP application.

On your online LIHEAP application, you should provide information about your income sources. This can include what was on your most recent paychecks, how often you work and contact information for your employer. You will also be asked about how much you pay in rent, energy and other bills to determine your financial need. The level of detail required can vary from state to state, with some requiring a breakdown of income sources and others requiring more general information. Once you complete the application, you should be able to submit it online. You may be required to verify additional information by mail or in person, depending on your state.

Download our comprehensive guide to learn more about the HEAP application process.

In some cases, you can apply for LIHEAP by mail or by email. This may be the case if your state operates LIHEAP at a county or district level rather than at a state level. This is also mostly limited to states that have a statewide application form, even if they administer benefits at a local level. To find the printable HEAP application, you may have to visit your state’s DHHS website. In some states, such as Vermont, you can call a number to have a form delivered to you.

When you receive your LIHEAP application form, you should fill it out completely. You will typically be required to fill out information for all members of your household. Be prepared to supply the same information that is requested in the online section above. You may additionally have to include documents like recent pay stubs and utility bills to complete your HEAP program application.

Contact your local LIHEAP office to determine whether you should submit originals or copies of documents included in the application. Mark your envelope and mail it with the appropriate postage to the address indicated on your form or your nearest office. After submitting your application, you should receive a decision on whether you receive LIHEAP benefits within a few weeks, depending on your location.

In some cases, you can submit your Home Energy Assistance Program application through email. Rather than including copies of necessary documents, you should include scans and attach them to the email as necessary. Research your municipality’s specific instructions to determine if you can email your application and where you should send it.

Many states and municipalities require you to apply for energy assistance in person. This is particularly true of states that operate LIHEAP at the local level. States like Texas require you to make an in-person visit to an agency to get approved and submit an application for benefits. In some cases, you may be required to bring everyone in your household or provide signatures from the adults.

You can find LIHEAP application locations on your state’s DHHS or LIHEAP website. You may be required to schedule an appointment with the LIHEAP agency first. In that case, you can either schedule an appointment online or by calling the office directly, depending on your state. Schedule an appointment with the agency nearest to you and begin gathering necessary documents. This may include pay stubs, rental verification if you rent and utility bills to demonstrate your need for assistance. In some states, you must locate a printable LIHEAP application and fill it out to bring with you to your appointment. In others, you will not fill out an application until you arrive at the appointment.

Arrive at your appointment on time to complete the fuel assistance application. Bring all your necessary documents with you to the appointment, as well as any household members that are required. Depending on your state’s process, it may take more than one visit to complete the application process.

Once your application is processed, your power provider will typically receive a single one-time lump sum payment. This payment may be to settle debts or to cover part of your electricity bills for the season. To learn more about how to apply for low income electricity benefits, download our comprehensive guide on LIHEAP.