Five Free Government Programs You Should Know About


Receiving help from others can be a point of pride for many people. When it comes to seeking out help from the Government, there are myths and misconceptions about welfare and entitlement. 


However, as many as 78 percent of Americans may be living paycheck to paycheck, according to a survey by employment website, CareerBuilder.


Clearly, most of us could easily find ourselves seeking help for some unexpected reason. Most citizens find themselves in an economy where wage gains are unable to keep up with soaring expenses with essentials things like housing, health care, and education, even with lower unemployment. Inflation offsets any small rises in wages, according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.



Help from Uncle Sam


Remember: You might not always make it all on your own, and that puts you in good company. We all contribute our hard-earned tax dollars to the Government, so it's fair to look at programs that can benefit us in return. With that said, here are five ways you could get some much-needed free help.



Educational Grants


For more and more students, paying for degrees to further your career goals could put you in overwhelming debt. However, for some people, there may be a way to get a grant you never have to pay back. 


Possible ways to qualify:

  • Low income
  • Minority status
  • Online schooling
  • Grants for women
  • Industry sponsors
  • Church membership
  • Prior military service
  • Area of exceptional talent
  • Suffering from long-term illness
  • Committing to specific studies or teaching

Avoiding high-interest loans is an enormous advantage for any student. If you qualify, this could change the course of your life for the better.


Related: When You Should Start Saving For Each Major Life Event

Lifeline Phone Program


Having access to a working phone can be an expense that falls out of reach of low-income families. That's why a government program has been in place since 1985 called the Lifeline program. The program serves all states and Tribal lands. After all, how can you find a job or seek emergency help without a phone?


Phones come with monthly broadband internet connection support and a predetermined number of minutes. To receive assistance, you must qualify for a list of standards and fall below a percentage of Federal Poverty Guidelines.



Help With Childcare


The expenses of raising a family are becoming more and more prohibitive for many folks. Even without the cost of education included, the USDA estimated in 2015 that a family could spend around $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income home. Inflation means the cost is much higher in 2020.


Here are some of the things CHIP may cover:

  • Doctor visits
  • Prescriptions
  • Immunizations
  • Routine check-ups
  • Emergency services
  • Dental and vision care
  • Laboratory and X-ray services
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital care

Fortunately, there is help for millions of children and teens through InsureKidsNow.gov. You can apply to see if your child is eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in any state. The plans can provide low-cost health and dental coverage. Teens up to the age of 21 may be eligible for Medicaid.



Assistance With Utilities


Paying your heating or cooling bills on time can mean the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, the cost for monthly utilities only goes up. Move.org estimates the average homeowner should expect to pay around $400 a month for electricity, gas, water, internet, and cable. For assistance with paying utilities, there is help from LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program).


State programs funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could provide grants to eligible people. To see if you are qualified, check out this handy map of the United States. Click on your state to see contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses for the persons managing your region.


A related program from the U.S. Department of Energy can help you lower your monthly utility bills. The Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center (WAPTAC) can help low-income families, the elderly, the disabled, and children by improving energy efficiency at home. Visit the interactive map to find out who to contact in your state.



Fix Health or Safety Hazards


For those in rural areas, the Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants program can help low-income residents with life-threatening severe structural housing issues. It may be possible to receive a loan or a grant if you are over 62 years of age.


The loan interest rates could be as low as 1 percent for a 20-year loan for a total of up to $20,000. Some people could qualify for both a loan and a grant. You can apply at your local Rural Development office at any time in the year. Help from this program could have life-altering benefits and help people stay in their homes. 



More Ways to Find Help


These five government programs are just a few of the ways that you may be able to find assistance that you need. It's a good idea to see what is out there because otherwise, you could miss out on valuable services that are there to help right now. 


Remember that there are scammers who are looking to take advantage of people seeking “free money.” To avoid unscrupulous people, make sure the websites you visit have official top-level domain government web addresses. 


Most government websites end in:
  • .org
  • .gov
  • .fed.us.

Some sites will end in:
  •  .com
  •  .org
  • .edu
  •  .net

If anyone asks you for money to receive free funds, it's not a legitimate government program. However, don’t let scammers keep you from finding legitimate valuable resources and funds to help you when times get tough. Our collective taxes are there to help our fellow citizens in their time of need. We can be proud of contributing to and benefitting from a compassionate system of government.

Related: Here Are 11 Frugal Habits to Adopt Today!

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