The last couple of years haven't exactly been easy for most of us. With many businesses and industries disrupted, many Americans are having to make every cent count. Fortunately, there are some resources you can call on when times are tough, including government hardship grants.
What Is a Hardship Grant? Does It Exist?
There are numerous religious and social organizations that aim to improve the lives of people having a run of bad luck. Despite their best efforts, the government has to step in occasionally and provide some relief to low-income families. This is done through hardship grants: organized financial assistance to individuals and communities.
What you should not assume is that hardship grants provide you fast cash you're allowed to spend however you want: hardship aid is not a stimulus check. Instead, the federal government works through a large assortment of local, state, and national organizations to help low-income families pay for their basic expenses.
Are Government Hardship Grants a Scam?
Hardship benefits indeed exist. They're regulated by law and administered by the government, so they're as legitimate as anything can be. Unfortunately, just like con artists sometimes pretend to be from the IRS, unscrupulous individuals may use the promise of financial hardship grants to steal your information or money.
The first thing to remember is that legit hardship grants for individuals mostly aren't paid out in cash. The government is willing to subsidize your spending on things like groceries and housing, not throw around dollars randomly and hope these will be used for the right things. The second thing to keep in mind is that the process isn't all that complicated. If somebody claims that you need their help to apply for hardship grants, they're almost certainly not on the level.
What Are the Valid Government Hardship Aids For Individuals?
If you're struggling to keep up with your bills (and who isn't nowadays?), looking at what grants for hardship you may qualify for is a very good use of your time. These are the most well-known and popular sources of financial aid:
Losing your job can be traumatic, but the first thing you need to do afterward is getting in touch with your state's unemployment insurance program. This entitles you to receive a portion of your former paycheck for up to 26 weeks, depending on where you live. Unemployment benefits are one of the few hardship aids paid out in cash – they're not really a grant, but an insurance policy workers and companies pay for.
Like with unemployment, the government gathers money from Americans through taxes, pools it, and redistributes it to people in need. These individuals include people past retirement age, the disabled, and dependents of breadwinners who have passed away. The Social Security Administration does a pretty good job of keeping track of the roughly 70 million people receiving these benefits, but won't start paying you until you actually apply.
Medicaid and CHIP
Medicaid is funded by both state and federal governments. Along with the associated Children's Health Insurance Program, it is often the only way for low-income families to afford medical treatment. One in five Americans is a member. Eligibility requirements vary by state, but you should definitely apply if money is tight, you have children, you're disabled, pregnant, or if you're older than 65.
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
More commonly known as food stamps, these now come in the form of a debit card. This can be used almost like cash when shopping for kitchen staples. Not all kinds of food can be bought, but with a little planning, you can use SNAP to make your grocery budget stretch much further.
Other USDA Programs
SNAP is pretty popular; it's used by over 40 million Americans. The Department of Agriculture that manages it still feels that it doesn't quite cover all the bases when it comes to providing healthy food to those who need it most. Some additional sources of food hardship aid are the National School Lunch Program which supplies free meals to students from low-income households, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program which delivers packages of food to senior citizens, and the Women, Infants and Children initiative which offers advice on nutrition to new mothers and can refer them to other sources of support.
LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program)
Utility bills can be the straw that breaks the financial camel's back. Recognizing this, as well as wanting to promote energy efficiency across America, the Department of Housing and Urban Development provides government hardship grants to assist with heating and cooling costs. They may even pay for improvements like insulation and can help deal with a utility shut-off.
When drowning in bills, moving somewhere cheaper can be all you need to start balancing the books. This is easier said than done in most cities, but the good news is that the HUD has apartments available for low-income families at reduced prices. You can also apply for a Housing Choice Voucher to pay part of the rent where you currently live.
TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
The last thing anybody wants is for children to go hungry when their parents or guardians can't supply their needs. Assuming that this is only a short-lived, temporary problem, TANF is one of the first places to turn. Each state decides which financial hardship grants are distributed under TANF; these can include assistance with rent and bills, expanded SNAP benefits, cheaper transportation, and more.
The Workforce Investment Act
Being out of work is tough, and it's even worse when there are simply no jobs available for someone with your skillset. This is the problem the Adults and Dislocated Workers Program aims to address. Assuming you're willing to learn, this gives you access to numerous training, education, and apprenticeship opportunities that can enable you to re-enter the workforce as a competitive employee.
Need Financial Assistance? Try USBadCreditLoans!
Government hardship grants can certainly help when you're in a bind. They all come with red tape, though, and usually aren't much use when you need cash in your pocket, quickly.
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How much would you like?
What are the government hardship aids for veterans?
Getting in touch with the Veterans Administration has numerous benefits, including help with medical expenses, life insurance, cheaper education, training for civilian jobs, reduced-cost housing, cheaper finance, and access to legal advice. They're there to help, so why not call them today?
What are the government hardship aids for the unemployed?
The principal aid to unemployed citizens is the states' unemployment insurance financed by payroll taxes. While you're there, though, you can ask about other sources of assistance. The clerks will usually be happy to point you in the direction of other services, including help with utility and medical bills.
What are the government hardship aids for college students?
The government does its best not to let financial needs stand in the way of hardworking students getting an education. Some programs to look into are Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. You generally apply for these at your school's financial aid office.
Is USBadCreditLoans legitimate and safe?
Since we use industry-standard IT security and deal only with reputable lending companies, you're in good hands. There is one thing we'd like to caution you about: instant loans generally have high interest rates. It's up to you to ensure you don't borrow more than you can repay.