You’re used to the government taking your money in the form of taxes, right? That’s normal, but did you know there’s also the possibility of free money from the government? Grants, payment assistance programs, and tax credits are all great ways to get money from the government.
You may have already used one or more of these programs and not realized its value. It’s free money – it stops you from needing personal loans; and is the best way to stay debt-free.
So what free money does the government offer? Check out our guide below.
1) Down Payment Assistance
Many people don’t buy a home because of a lack of down payment funds. While you don’t need 20% down any longer, you need some type of down payment to give the lender leverage.
If you don’t have money to put down, there are a variety of down payment assistance programs available which help you avoid taking out personal loans. This is best, especially since the money is free.
Each state has different programs. For example, in Illinois, the IHD Access Forgivable program is a 30-year loan program that includes a down payment grant of up to 4% of the purchase price. You may use the funds for the down payment and/or closing costs. The grant is forgiven over 10 years.
Check with your state to find out which down payment assistance programs are available to you. Each state has a department to answer your questions and help you through the application process.
2) Get Help with Education
There are more educational grants than most people realize. College costs an average of $36,000 per year between room and board, tuition, and other fees, making it a major expense for most families. Some students don’t go to college because of the expense, but there is plenty of help out there.
Among the help, the government offers a variety of grants or free money from the government for your child’s education. To be eligible for most grant programs, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid first. This form is how you start most financial aid programs, so make sure you complete it right away (it becomes available on October 1st).
Once you complete the application, you may apply for grants including the Federal Pell Grant. You can find a list of available grants and/or educational assistance programs here.
3) Get Healthcare Tax Credits
Healthcare is expensive, as is health insurance. If your employer doesn’t offer group insurance, you’re self-employed, or unemployed, you need another source for insurance. While there isn’t a law requiring health insurance any longer, it certainly benefits you to have it as medical care is expensive.
The Healthcare Marketplace offers plenty of options for health insurance, but many are costly. However, you may be eligible for tax credits, aka free money from the government for certain plans. To find out if you qualify, you must complete the Healthcare.gov application. After supplying your income and employment information, you’ll learn how much free assistance the government will provide.
You may receive the payment upfront to offset the premium costs, lowering the money you need out of pocket or as a tax credit when you file your tax returns.
To find out how much you qualify for and which insurance plans fit within your budget, visit www.healthcare.gov. After completing the application, you can choose your insurance plan based on your credits.
4) Get Free Money from the Government for Childcare
It’s no secret that daycare is expensive, but what are parents supposed to do that need to work? It’s especially hard right now during COVID with many schools e-learning rather than having in-person school. Parents need help, but that help is expensive.
According to a study performed by Care.com, the average family pays 10% or more of their income on childcare expenses and pay an average of $215 per week on childcare.
That’s a large expense especially if you have multiple children. The Childcare and Development Fund offers assistance. The amount and type vary by state, click here to see what’s offered in your state. Take advantage of any assistance offered, especially if you have to pay for full-day childcare without schools in session.
5) Find Unclaimed Money
While this technically isn’t free money from the government, the government may have possession of money owed to you.
Funds that sit around unclaimed get turned over to the state. This could mean anything, such as a forgotten about pension, an overpaid utility bill, or insurance payout you didn’t claim. If the money sits for too long, companies turn the money over to the state.
If you’re unsure if you have unclaimed money, visit www.unclaimed.org to search. After entering your name, city, and zip code, you’ll see potential property matches. If you see your name, you can file an official claim to receive your money.
Follow the steps carefully and you’ll receive the money within a few weeks of claiming it if you can prove it belongs to you.
As you see, there are many ways to get free money from the government. While we all owe taxes, the government helps us in other ways, putting our tax dollars to good use. If you need help with any of the above situations, contact your state department to see how you can get help.
Most government assistance isn’t a loan – it’s free assistance they fund, which is especially helpful during times like this. As we all navigate our new normal, find ways to get assistance from the government to make this time a little easier financially on you and your family.