If you look around, there are plenty of government-sponsored programs where the government gives away free money.
These are programs that cover a variety of needs – health insurance for low-income families, senior citizens and single mothers. There are even rehabilitation programs that came to be after major natural disasters.
Here are a few government programs were you can get free money for a variety of needs:
1. Money owed to you
I was surprised when I first heard about this. But if the statistics are right, there are many millions of dollars waiting to be claimed every year.
The unclaimed money has its respective rightful owners, but for one reason or another, it has slipped off their minds.
One such example is the money you put up as a deposit for your utility, which you forgot as you uprooted to another locale.
In order to find out if you are owed any unclaimed money, go to unclaimed.org.
This is a website put up by the government that facilitates such for any unclaimed money.
2. From old pension plans
When the employer we worked for went bust, or the company became a target of acquisition activity, we seem to be more preoccupied with finding the next job rather than thinking about our existing pension plan. Soon, we moved on and it is out of our mind.
Thankfully, there is this PBCG (Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation) to count on.
It maintains a huge database and you can check if there has been a pension plan that you were previously associated to or one that you have overlooked.
Go to pbgc.gov if you don’t want to miss out on your original entitlement.
3. To help with foreclosure
In recent years, there are increasingly more people affected by foreclosure. I never want to wish this on anybody, but if you have been unlucky enough, being driven out of your house may not be your only option.
The program, appropriately called HOPE (or Home Ownership Preservation Foundation), can help to set up a plan so that you are able to stay put.
The number to call is 888-995-HOPE, or you may like to visit them at 995HOPE.org.
4. For buying a home
The US Department of Housing And Urban Development or HUD provides assistance in various aspects of home ownership. It could be about buying, selling or even repairing the homes.
The assistance does not end with expert opinions and advice, and they actually hand you real money for down payments and closing costs.
To get a fuller picture of the kind of help offered by HUD, go to HUD.gov.
5. For health insurance for your kids
If you had been a parent, you know very well that paying for your kid’s insurance premium can be quite a drag financially.
It was a problem then and it will continue to be an even more severe problem with the escalating cost of health insurance plans nowadays.
The good thing is that at the state level, there is this universal health insurance program for kids. It will take care of most health-related expenses with regards to the kids, either in full or part. Expense items like hospital stays, doctor visits, and prescription drugs are all covered.
The only caveat is that the parent needs to be working. To learn more about the scheme, go check out InsureKidsNow.gov.
6. For college
Some parents start worrying as their kids reach college-going age.
College expenditure has always been expensive and it is getting even more so.
Luckily, our government recognizes the importance of college education and through its Federal Pell Grant program, up to $7,000 grant is given away to needy (terms apply) college student every year.
There is no string attached, and the government won’t ask any of this money back.
Check out Ed.gov on qualification criteria.
7. For energy bills
First, the background!
We all know that good insulation, storm windows, and even weather-stripping help to bring down energy bills.
All of these options would turn your home to become more energy efficient, and this is how the saving can happen.
On a broader scale, encouraging people in the US to be more energy efficient makes sense as well, since the country can cut down on energy consumption cost as well as be preserving natural resources.
It is for this reason that the US Department of Energy has devised a plan called Weatherization Assistance Program.
It operates on the premise that the government will give out cash incentive for anyone willing to make his or her home more energy efficient.
If you have no problem in fixing energy efficient fixtures inside your home, you stand to get as much as $2500.
The net result is your energy efficient products keeps your utility bills down, and they entitle you to up to $2500 free money.
8. For tax preparation
VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) is an initiative from IRA with the aim to help low-income earners to get their tax returns ready. Go to VITA site for details, or you can reach them at 1-800-829-1040.
OK, you are beginning to look skeptical. Sure, it is not money that is handed to you! But they do help you to prepare your taxes free of charge.
Now think about the alternative, you will have to part with your $100 if you do go to a tax professional for help.
9. For credit repair
We all (at least most of us) could use some help on public credit scores, and credit repair seems sensible.
The problem is such help doesn’t come cheap if you were to look out for a real pro.
And in time like this, who would be crazy enough to fix one’s credit record given the dire financial situation one is in now.
Thankfully, there is always the dependable Federal Trade Commission.
A visit to FTC.gov could be so helpful to find out about your rights and other relevant information.
10. To start a business
In a way that is similar to the credit repair scheme, this option does not really offer money for free, but what you gain is the free service that you otherwise have to pay.
Mind you, the saving is not small potato as it is common for the aspiring businessman to spend thousands of dollars on professional help.
Here, the government help comes in the form of Small Business Development Centers. There are some 1000 of these centers spread out across the USA and professionals are at hand to advise on everything in relation to starting a business.
The scope covered could include funding, taxes, operations, marketing, contracting, technical issues and filling out forms.
To find out more about this scheme, check out The U.S. Small Business Administration’s official website.
Warning about free money scams
The idea of getting free money from the government is so appealing that some people are willing to spend money to get it.
As you might have imagined, some people see this as an opportunity to make money for themselves by selling the dream of free money to interested people.
There are tons of books and programs by so called gurus that supposedly show you tons of ways to get free money out of U.S. government.
One of the most famous ones is a book by Kevin Trudeau, “Free Money They Don’t Want You to Know About“.
This guy has been convicted of larceny and credit card fraud in the early 1990s and sued by the FTC in 1998 for making false or misleading claims in his infomercials promoting his books.
Scammers like this guy have been making tons of money by selling the “free money” dream.
Please be careful.
Don’t waste your money on these scams.
There is no secret that these people can tell you about.
You can find all the information you need about any kind of financial aid program that the government has put in place, without buying useless books.
You just learned about some of them through this post.
You can find out about other programs through various websites, especially websites’ of different government agencies.
Also, please realize that the U.S. government is not going to literally hand you money.
Sure, there are programs that were put in place to help people in different situations by giving them grants and loans, like the ones I have mentioned above, but you have to prove you qualify for whatever grant or loan you are applying for.
You can’t just walk in there and expect the government to hand you a briefcase full of free cash.