itit Across the United States, Americans are suffering the aftermath of rising inflation. The cost of living keeps multiplying, but their paychecks stay the same. This has left countless families behind on bills, wondering what step to take next.
Are you finding yourself in a financial pickle? There’s a way out of the mess! There are assistance programs available to help you pay for the essentials. Rent, groceries, phone plans- you can afford it all if you play your cards right!
If you’re falling behind on bills, follow these tips to figure out what to do next.
The need for food is universal, but different people have different needs. Food assistance programs are available in a variety of forms that offer unique assistance to people.
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
SNAP is one of the most well-known programs for food assistance. The program is also known as food stamps by many people. No matter what you call it, this program may be able to help you through tough times. Every month, funds are provided to eligible households for groceries as part of this program.
Funds are then transferred onto an Electronic Benefit Transfer card. This EBT card functions just like a debit card. It is important to note that these cards can only be used in locations that accept EBTs for payment. In addition, only qualified groceries can be purchased with the funds on the card.
Each state has its own eligibility requirements, which means the application form and process will vary. You will need to contact your state agency if you want to apply for this support
CSFP (Commodity Supplemental Food Program)
Seniors who qualify can benefit from CSFP. A senior must be low-income and at least 60 years old to qualify (state requirements may vary).
Beneficiaries receive nutritious USDA foods as part of the program. The CSFP can accomplish this by providing administrative funds and food to participating states and Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs).
Food packages provided by CSFP can be helpful to recipients, but they do not complete their diets. Instead, these food packages can provide beneficiaries with essential nutrients that they normally lack.
CSFP foods will be distributed by state agencies to nonprofits and public agencies. It is then up to the local agencies to determine who is eligible for the food and to distribute it. Get in touch with your CSFP State agency if you are interested in learning more about this program.
Rent is another recurring cost that can leave you feeling behind on bills. It’s advised that you should be putting no more than 30% of your total income towards your housing. However, with such high real estate prices, that’s not always a realistic figure.
Here are some rent assistance programs that will keep you on track with your monthly payments.
Emergency Rental Assistance
Millions of Americans face deep rental debt and fear evictions as the economy recovers from the devastating impact of the pandemic. There are deep disparities in affordable housing that have long predated the pandemic, and they are still threatening the U.S. economy today.
The Emergency Rental Assistance program assists households that are unable to pay their rent or utilities. As a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, two separate programs were established.
The first is ERA, which provides up to $25 billion in relief support. There is also ERA2, which provides up to $21.55 billion under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. State governments, U.S. territories, local governments, and Indian tribes (in the case of ERA1) receive the funds directly. The allocated funds are then used by grantees to provide rental assistance to eligible households.
Phones have become a necessary part of our everyday lives. The thing is, it takes a lot of extra money to keep up with the cost of a phone plan. Between data, minutes, and texts- how do you keep up with the price tag of this essential item?
Instead of paying so much of your hard-earned money toward your cell phone, you might be eligible for a free phone plan through government assistance. That way, you have one less bill to think about from month-to-month.
Lifeline provides a discount on phone service to low-income consumers. It ensures that all Americans are able to access jobs, family members, and emergency services through phone service.
The Lifeline program is part of the Universal Service Fund. There are Lifeline programs available in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on tribal lands for low-income consumers.
Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) administers the Lifeline program. It is USAC’s responsibility to collect and maintain data, calculate support, and disburse low-income funds.
The cost of Lifeline varies depending on where you live. However, it’s designed to be as affordable as possible. You can also have access to discounted internet services if you qualify for Lifeline.
Everyone experiences health emergencies from time to time. Whether it’s an intense surgery or a quick urgent care visit, healthcare costs put many people into severe debt without the proper insurance. This makes it difficult to avoid being behind on bills.
Millions of Americans receive free or low-cost health insurance through Medicaid, including some low-income individuals, families, and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Medicaid is funded in part by the federal government, which also sets program guidelines.
The Medicaid program varies from state to state. In addition, they may have different names, such as “Medical Assistance” or “Medi-Cal.”
Only U.S. citizens and qualified non-citizens are able to participate in the Medicaid program. For those without the means to pay for sufficient healthcare, Medicaid offers relief so that low-income Americans can keep up with their health.
Applying For Government Assistance
You’ll have to prove your eligibility for government assistance programs. This typically requires proof of income, government-issued identification, and other relevant documents. Before applying, make sure that you have all your papers in order so that you can receive the benefits as soon as possible.
Don’t fall behind on bills anymore! Apply for some of these programs so that you can stay on top of your expenses.