Emergency situations can happen without warning. If you’re facing a financial crisis, there are many websites out there to direct you to resources for help with paying bills. Hard times don’t have to be as hard as you think. There are many services you can avail yourself of in terms of covering your bills.
What Options Are Available to You?
Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
The Federal Government offers assistance for homeowners having trouble meeting their mortgage payments. The Home Affordable Modification Program offers a long-term way to lower your monthly mortgage payment. In some states, you can also seek to pay bills through the Hardest Hit Fund. This program offers a variety of different forms to help with paying bills. They include help with mortgage payments and ways to lower your loan principal.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income households manage their home heating and home cooling bills. This program is federally funded, but each state runs their own individual program. LIHEAP can provide extra cash to pay your home energy bills. Also, make small repairs to your heating or cooling system as well.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is probably the best-known food aid program in the country. This program is formerly known as food stamps. Recipients are now provided with an electronic card they can use to buy food, similar to a credit or debit card. To receive SNAP, you must have both low income and limited resources.
It’s necessary to have a phone if you’re struggling for money and looking for work. Phone bills can be an issue if you are tight for cash. In 1985 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) started Lifeline. The program ensures that low-income consumers can afford phone service. Since the initiation of this program, it has expanded to cover mobile phones and broadband Internet service as well. Eligible low-income subscribers can get a credit of $9.25 per month for either wireless or wireline service.
Citizens Energy Programs
This is a power company that runs several programs to make energy more affordable for people struggling to make ends meet. Its Joe-4-Oil program provides 100 gallons of free heating oil each winter to low-income applicants in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Its Natural Gas Assistance Program which is available only in Massachusetts provides gives low-income families with a $150 credit toward their gas bill. Citizens Energy also installs solar panels for free for low-income households in Imperial Valley, California.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF)
This is a great program for families in need. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a program run by the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF). When dealing with a financial crisis, these programs help cover childcare and other child-rearing costs. This program is also useful in that it provides tools to help out-of-work parents find a job.
Health Care Programs
The two primary health care coverage programs for low-income people are Medicaid and CHIP. Medicaid covers both children and adults from low-income households. You can check their eligibility tool to see if you qualify. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) covers children up to age 19 whose parents don’t have insurance but aren’t in a low enough income tax bracket to be covered by Medicaid.
If all of the above aren’t available options to you, then there is the possibility of using a payday loan. There are many online companies available for short-term lending, make sure to do all your appropriate research. Online loans can be extremely helpful for paying bills quickly while in a financial bind. Just be cautious about how much you borrow. You want to be able to pay this loan off within the allotted time frame feasibly.
Importance of Backup Plans
The best way to manage a financial crisis is to have a backup plan in place beforehand. There are a variety of things you can do to protect yourself against disasters. Having a well-stocked emergency fund gives you an extra cushion. You can also implement a good insurance policy to protect your assets in case of a house fire, a car crash, or a major health problem.
Bear in mind that even these preparedness plans aren’t foolproof. There’s always a chance you can be swept off your feet financially. When that happens, aid programs like the ones listed here give you something to fall back on until you can get yourself financially sorted.References and Sources
1. Home Affordable Modification Program. Retrieved from https://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/financial-stability/TARP-Programs/housing/mha/Pages/hamp.aspx
2.Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Retrieved from https://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-details/623
3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Retrieved from https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap
4. Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers. Retrieved from https://www.fcc.gov/general/lifeline-program-low-income-consumers
5. About TANF. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/programs/tanf/about
6. 9 Reasons you Need an Emergency Fund. Retrieved from https://www.kiplinger.com/article/saving/T065-C011-S001-9-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund.html
7. Financial Preparedness. Retrieved from https://www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness