6 Ways to Get Government Financial Relief
State and federal programs grant money to help with heating bills, a down payment on a home, and more. Whoever said “nothing in life comes free” didn’t take into account government financial relief programs that help people pay for things like college, daycare, and a new home. Most of these government financial relief programs are funded by taxes, so technically you pay something, but they’re as close as you’ll get to get free money from the government.
Government Financial Relief Benefits
- Get help with utility bills
- Find money for child care
- Recover unclaimed money
- Get down payment assistance
- Find tax credits for health insurance
- Apply for college grants
- Watch out for scams
1. Get help with utility bills
Need help paying your heating or phone bill? These government financial relief programs may be able to help:
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income households cover heating and cooling costs. Each state sets its eligibility requirements, including income levels.
The Lifeline program offers discounted landline or cell phone service. Lifeline is an income-based program, so you must meet certain eligibility requirements.
2. Find money for child care
Daycare is a major expense for many families. Annual costs for infant care range from just shy of $5,000 in Mississippi to more than $22,600 in Washington, D.C., according to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on low- and middle-income workers.
The Child Care and Development Fund can help ease the burden for low-income families. Administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the fund gives states, territories, and tribes money to distribute to families to help pay for child care. Find the Child Care and Development Fund contact for your state.
3. Recover unclaimed money
This isn’t so much free money as it is money owed to you. It could be a long-forgotten deposit paid to a utility company, a lost savings bond, unclaimed life insurance benefits, or an uncashed paycheck.
4. Get down payment assistance
You want to buy a home but can’t afford a down payment. Enter state-based down payment assistance. These grants and loans help you cover the upfront costs of purchasing a home.
Nevada, for example, prospective homeowners can qualify for a grant of up to 5% of their mortgage to put toward a down payment and closing costs. District of Columbia residents can qualify for a down payment assistance loan of up to 3.5% of their mortgage.
Nevada’s grant program is available to those with an annual income below $98,500. The D.C. program caps income eligibility at just over $132,000. These are only a few of the government financial relief programs available today …
5. Find tax credits for health insurance
Individuals and families who buy coverage through the government’s health insurance marketplace (Healthcare.gov) can qualify for a credit toward their insurance premiums. The credit can be paid directly to your insurance provider, lowering your monthly payments, or paid out as a tax credit when you file your return.
6. Apply for college grants
College grants, like the federal Pell Grant, can make it easier to pay for college. Students who are eligible for the Pell Grant could get up to $6,095 for the 2018-19 award year. The exact amount awarded is based on factors that include financial need, the cost of attendance, and enrollment status. Students can apply for the Pell Grant by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
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