The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC or EIC) gives certain taxpayers up to $6,242 back on their federal tax return. Even if you don't owe income tax, you could get the credit and the cash.
Whether you can get the EITC depends on how many people are in your family and how much money you make.
Most people do not know about the credit, so they do not claim it on their tax return. If you were eligible but did not file for the credit in past years, you can claim the credit for up to 3 years. Use the IRS's EITC Assistant to see if you were eligible for the EITC during any of the past 3 years.
There are organizations, like the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, that may be able to help you file your taxes and apply for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit, depending on how much money you make.
Note: Getting the Federal or state Earned Income Tax Credit will not affect your current cash, food stamp, or medical benefits.