AS the coronavirus pandemic continues to hurt millions of Americans financially – here are six ways to get free money from the government.
A majority of these programs are funded through tax payer dollars and they’re as close as you’ll get to getting free money from the government.
Note that some of these programs may be affected due to the Covd-19 pandemic.
1) Get help with utility bills
These two programs may help low-income households pay for heating and telephone service.
. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income households cover heating and cooling costs.
Grants are issued via states, which receive funding from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Each state sets its own eligibility requirements, including income levels.
. The Lifeline Support Program offers discounted phone and internet service.
Lifeline is an income-based program, so applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements before being approved.
2) Find money for child care
Day care is a major expense for most families – as the annual costs for infant care range from $5,000 in Mississippi to more than $22,600 in Washington DC, according to Economic Policy Institute.
The Child Care and Development Fund can help low-income families financially.
Administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the fund gives states, territories and tribes money to distribute to families to help pay for child care.
Grants are in-come based and typically cover care for children under 13.
3) Recover unclaimed money
Unclaimed money are funds owed to you. The extra money could be a long-forgotten deposit paid to a utility company, a lost savings bonds, unclaimed life insurance benefits or an uncased paycheck.
These unclaimed funds are turned over to the state when the owner can’t be located – often due to a clerical error or companies having an old address on file.
Visit unclaimed.org, a site affiliated with the National Association of State Treasurers, to find out if you are owed any money.
During the 2018 fiscal year, West Virginia and Maine doled out about $17million in unclaimed funds.
In 2019, Florida returned $323million, so check out the website and see you have any unclaimed money that’s owed to you.
4) Get down payment assistance
Attention potential home owners who can’t afford a down payment on a property that’s caught your attention for some time now.
Enter state-based down payment assistance, these grants and loans help you cover the upfront costs of purchasing a home.
For example, in Nevada, prospective homeowners who qualify can pay a fee and receive a grant of up to 5 percent of their home loan value to put toward a down payment and closing costs.
In Nevada, the help isn’t just reserved for low-income families, it is also available to those with an annual income below $98,500.
5) Find tax credit for health insurance
The premium tax credits issued via the Affordable Care Act are alive and well – here’s how they work.
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 tax credit when filing 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 $6,245 for the 2020-2021 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.
The application is also used to qualify for many state and institutional grants and scholarships including:
- The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.
- The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant.
- The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.
You can also look for scholarships using the US Department of Labor’s scholarship search tool.
Always be aware and watch out for scams
While there are ways to get free money from the government – there are also grant scams that claim to give you free money from the government in hopes of stealing from you.
Don’t be fooled, the government rarely reaches out to people with offers of free money and when it does it’s never via social media.