Free money from the US government

No need to pay private companies to find out about Government Assistance Programs.

Consumers may be lured in by the promise of “free” money being given away by the United States government. Advertisements promise to divulge the secret of obtaining these funds… for a price. The truth of the matter is that some citizens may be eligible to receive monetary assistance but it is not the easy windfall that advertisements claim.

There is no need to pay a private company to find out how to access government funds. The United States government has created an official website, www.benefits.gov, to guide citizens through the process. This website informs consumers about the benefits that they might be eligible for and provides information about how to apply for the benefits.

Some visitors to the website may already be aware of the programs for which they may qualify. The top five searches are Medicaid, Grants, Disability Insurance, Unemployment and Housing. However, it is not necessary to know about the programs. There is a “Benefit Finder” option that utilizes a confidential eligibility questionnaire. It asks specific questions and the answers will generate a list of benefits tailored to specific needs across all assistance categories. A “Browse” option allows users to access information about benefit and assistance programs by category, state or Federal program.

The next step is to complete an application for each specific program for which there may be eligibility. Applications will then be processed and applicants will be notified of their acceptance (or rejection). They may also be asked to submit more qualifying documentation.

Consumers may have some needs that are not financial, so the government provides non-cash assistance. This assistance may be in the form of job training, nutrition, education and healthcare. Information about these programs can be found on the website, too.

Michigan State University Extension educators encourage consumers to hold onto their money and investigate the free web site, www.benefits.gov, to learn about government benefits and assistance programs. If you are wondering about your financial health, take a financial health survey from MI Money Health to get your financial health score! It is confidential and your answers never connect back to your name. This survey can help you evaluate your current financial situation, provide ideas on how you may improve your financial health and connect you to resources in your local community.

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