Government sponsored welfare programs are available nationally as well as locally. These tend to be for families living close to or under poverty guidelines as well as vulnerable households. They offer grants and cash aid to beneficiaries. More on welfare benefit programs.
Utility and energy programs from the government
Financial assistance from your utility company may be available. Most state regulators mandate that energy companies provide assistance. Most utility, gas, and heating companies offer low income customers access to some form of financial help. This includes government resources and free weatherization programs that can help individuals pay their bills. Programs can also allow them to save money on their energy bills. More on energy assistance.
Telephone assistance programs allow low income families the ability to save money on their phone bill, whether a land line or cellular, as well as installation costs. Options range from Lifeline to resources for the disabled or elderly. There may also be heavily discounted or free cellular phones distributed from a federal government funded program. Find details on telephone assistance programs.
Water bill assistance programs, while not as common, are offered by one of the nation’s largest water companies, American Water, as well as other local suppliers. Many wanter companies, whether they are private or government owned, provide households with payment plans or financial help to pay any past bills. The companies currently offer their customers different government supported programs that can provide them grants and other assistance for paying their water bills. They are the Low-Income Payment plan, rebates, the H2O - Help to Others and referrals. Find help paying water bills.
Federal government grants are provided to states and local governments as part of low income energy (LIHEAP). Those agencies then provide the funds to community action agencies or local social service agencies that process applications from low income families, the disabled and senior citizens. The grants are used to help pay utility bills, including heating, gas, and electric, as part of LIHEAP.
Free weatherization programs are also available nationwide. Every state as well as local county government provides qualified residents with home improvements and savings on their energy bills as part of these conservation measures. The federal government DOE created energy bill assistance program can also address any minor health and safety issues that the homeowner may be facing. Continue with weatherization services.
Medical care and billing resources
Medical bill assistance is offered from state programs, pharmaceutical companies, local health clinics, and other businesses. There are also federal government backed health care programs, ranging from Medicaid to CHIP and others. Many organizations provide consumers help with medical bills as well as prescription drugs.
Also, many states have laws that protect consumers from aggressive or illegal medical debt collectors and their collection practices. The laws as well as government regulations in place also ensure people are charged fair prices for health care services and that they are not overcharged. Medical debt collection laws are available for dealing with collectors or questionable billing practices.
Prescription drug assistance programs are offered by many states, the federal government, companies and organizations. They can help people across the country receive free, or heavily discounted, prescription medications. Patents, including the underinsured, can often receive a voucher or a discount card. Find free prescription drugs.
Government funded community clinics operate across the country. Every state has health care centers and sliding fees community clinics that offer free or low cost medical as well as dental care to patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Get more information on these government supported community clinics.
Find dental care from free clinics. Many individuals do not have access to quality, affordable dental care. Private insurance plans may not provide the coverage that people need. Find a listing of dental clinics in your town and county. Many accept both government and public health insurance for payment, as well as private plans. Or they offer free care to the low income.
Free government health care programs are administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The government agency provides free or low cost medical care, even to the under and uninsured. Checkups, treatment, prescriptions, immunizations, and other services are available. More on Health Resources and Services Administration.
Food assistance from state and federal organizations
Free food from assistance programs are offered by the state as well as federal government. Resources are also offered by local charities, non-profit organizations, and churches that partner with the government. All of these agencies provide free food assistance as well as groceries to those in need. In addition, savings are offered to families so they can get cheap groceries. There are many low or reduced cost food programs that have no income restrictions and that anyone can receive groceries from.
Food banks and free pantries also help millions of people per year. Many struggling families receive free food, hot meals and groceries from these non-profit run pantries every year. These centers help the low income, unemployed, working poor, and others make it through a difficult period. Many offer other forms of aid as well, such as clothing. More on food banks.
State affiliated or supported agencies
Charities, churches and other organizations that offer financial assistance can sometimes help you with paying bills or debts. Non-profit agencies, many of which are partly government funded, can provide rent help, run emergency shelters, offer free medical care, and provide other assistance to those who need help. Find financial help from charities.
Community Action Agencies are local nonprofit and public organizations that provide many services to those in need. The organizations may offer utility bill assistance, applications for public aid, job training, help with paying rent, financial counseling, and other activities. Many local agencies even offer government job training and employment services. Find community action agencies near you as well as the services they offer.
Free advice from attorneys is provided to over 5 million people per year. Individuals receive legal counsel and representation from a federal government funded program, the Legal Service Corporation. Over 900 law offices across the nation offer legal aid as well as give the low income advice from free lawyers as the result of the federal government grants.
Government and non-profit loan programs support low income families, borrowers with poor credit, and those in need. Funds can be provided by a number of lenders to help pay bills, address financial needs, or serve as a sort term form of emergency assistance. Find details on assistance from loans.
Older adults and senior citizens including the elderly, spouses of seniors, and people over 50 have access to a number of assistance programs. There are government funded agencies that focus on their needs. Many older Americans require financial help for paying a portion of their medical bills as well as addressing other needs. There are also prescriptions, free home delivered meals and care, and transportation. Resources are available.. Locate senior programs.
Debt help is offered from non-profit agencies and other organizations, including government approved agencies. There are countless ways to get assistance with reducing or paying down debt, including medical billing advocates and credit counselors. For example, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling says non-profit certified specialists that offer free credit counseling services can have a 60% success rate. Also, learn about credit card hardship programs.
Government sponsored job training and free child care subsidies
Several federal government agencies are focused on helping people find a job or gain new skills. Today’s workforce is very competitive and employers are demanding certain skills or training. State and federal programs including One-Stop Career Centers, the Workforce Investment Act, and local employment centers can help the under and unemployed. Continue reading One-Stop Career Centers.
Day and child care assistance is available in all states. Many parents struggle with paying for child care expenses while they are working, in school or seeking a new job. Government child care vouchers and subsidies can be obtained which can help a qualified family with paying for a portion of their bills.