Whoever said, “Nothing in life is free” was ignoring government programs that help people pay for things like college, daycare, and a new home. And even more help is available to help you during the coronavirus outbreak.
Free Government Money: COVID Aid and More
The high priority free money from the government is nowadays COVID relief. Use nerd wallets Stimulus Check Calculator to see how much COVID aid money you could expect and find a link to track the status of your payment from the US Treasury Department.
In addition to the pandemic payouts, other day-to-day government programs are available to those in need. But unlike the COVID aid, you have to find and apply for these financial aid.
Most of these programs are tax-funded, so technically you pay something, but it’s as close as possible to free government money. Note that the Covid-19 pandemic may affect the availability of some of these programs.
1. Get help with utility bills
Do you need help paying your heating or telephone bills? These programs can help:
The energy aid program for low-income households helps low-income households to cover heating and cooling costs. Grants are awarded through states that are funded by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. Each state sets its own eligibility requirements, including income levels.
The Lifeline Program offers discounted telephone or internet services. You have to meet certain admission requirements.
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2. Find money for childcare
Day care is a major cost factor for many families. Annual childcare costs range from just under $ 5,000 in Mississippi to more than $ 22,600 in Washington, DC, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit focused on low- and middle-income workers.
The child care and development fund can help relieve low-income families. The fund, administered by the U.S. Department of Health, provides states, territories, and tribes with money to distribute to families to pay for childcare. The grants are income-related and usually cover the care of children under the age of 13. Find the contact for the Child Care and Development Fund in your state.
3. Get back unclaimed money
This is not so much free money, but money owed to you. It could be a long-forgotten down payment to a utility company, a lost savings bond, unclaimed life insurance benefits, or an unpaid paycheck.
These unclaimed funds are turned over to the state when the owner cannot be found, often due to a typographical error or due to companies having an old address on file. visit unclaimed.org, a website affiliated with the National Association of State Treasurers, to find out if you have money waiting to be drawn.
In fiscal 2019, more than $ 3 billion of previously unclaimed property was returned to owners, with an average claim payment of $ 1,780.
4. Get assistance with the down payment
In Nevada, for example, prospective homeowners who qualify can pay a fee and receive a grant of up to 5% of their home loan value to pay a down payment and closing costs. Help isn’t just reserved for low-income borrowers. For government loans, Nevada’s grant program is available to people with annual income below $ 98,500. See if you qualify.
5. Find tax credits for health insurance
The future of the Affordable Care Act is bleak at best. But for now, the premium tax credits issued through the program are alive and well. How they work:
Individuals and families who have access to the state health insurance market (HealthCare.gov) can be entitled to be offset against their insurance premiums. The credit can be paid out directly to your insurance company, reducing your monthly payments.
6. Apply for college scholarships
College scholarships, such as the federal government Pell Grant, can make it easier to pay for college. Students eligible for the Pell Grant may receive up to $ 6,345 for the 2020-21 award year. The exact amount awarded is based on factors such as financial need, cost of attendance, and enrollment status. Students can apply for the Pell Grant by doing the Free application for federal study grants, or FAFSA. The application is also used to sign up for many government and institutional Scholarships and grants.
Other federal grants for the college include:
The federal grant for additional educational opportunities.
The scholarship for teacher training for colleges and universities.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Fellowship.
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 you. Do not be fooled. The government rarely reaches out to people with offers of free money, and when they do, never does it through social media.