Are your bills piling up? Does it seem like you can never get ahead? In times like these, you might be searching for ways to make more money or expand your savings. Fortunately, there are many ways to get financial assistance. If you need help with money but don’t know where to turn, explore these options for emergency cash assistance.
You can get help with money from two main sources: government programs and private non-profit organizations. Typically, you don’t have to repay funds from either the government or non-profit organizations. Check out the below options and, if you think you meet the general qualifications, learn where to apply for cash assistance.
At the height of the COVID pandemic, the federal government sent out millions of dollars in stimulus checks to help Americans cope with their loss of income and resulting financial hardship. The third round of stimulus checks were up to $1,400 per person for people whose adjusted gross income was $75,000 or less for a single filer or $160,000 or less for joint filers. While these checks are no longer being sent out, you might still be able to claim this money.
If you did not get one or more of the stimulus checks, you should have included this on your 2020 tax return. Even though the deadline for filing your tax return has passed, you can file your return late or file an amended tax return claiming a 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit. If you lost your stimulus check or think that it might have been stolen, ask the IRS to trace your payment.
Many charities provide cash assistance to individuals and families who need help with money. Some of these may be faith-based, although they typically distribute funds to people regardless of their religion. Some examples of these are Catholic Charities, Jewish Federation of North America, Lutheran Services in America, the Salvation Army and Ministries from UMC. Aside from these larger faith-based organizations, you may be able to get help from your local church, synagogue or mosque.
In addition, there are other charitable organizations that can help with emergency cash assistance. For example, Net Wish is a privately funded non-profit that can help you pay critical bills. If you have been the victim of a natural disaster, you may be able to get money from the American Red Cross. Military personnel can turn to Operation Homefront for financial assistance.
Social Security is a federal government program. If you have been employed and have collected enough work credits throughout your life in the U.S. and you are age 62 or older, disabled or blind, you may be able to collect monthly Social Security payments.
How much you can get each month depends on how much you earned during your working years. Spouses, including surviving spouses, of people who qualify for Social Security may also qualify to receive these payments.
If you have a solid credit score and a reliable income, you may benefit from taking out a private loan. This might be an option if you have a one-time emergency expense that you cannot afford, like an important home repair or auto repair.
Private loans tend to have lower interest rates than credit cards. They can help you pay large expenses and get back on track financially. Be sure you can afford the monthly payment before you apply, or you could get into a worse financial situation.
VA Disability Payments
If you are a disabled veteran, you may be able to qualify for disability payments through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). To get benefits, you have to meet certain criteria. For instance, your disability must be service-related and you must have served for a minimum amount of time in the military. If you have a dishonorable discharge on your record, you won’t qualify for these payments.
VA disability payments are issued monthly and continue throughout your lifetime, as long as you meet the program’s requirements. Spouses and children of servicemembers may also receive these payments after their loved one passes away.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federal government program that provides cash assistance to help low income families with children. The money is administered by each state, and the exact qualifications and procedures differ depending on what state you live in. TANF benefits include cash assistance, job preparation and work assistance. In some states, child care assistance may be available to those who qualify.
In order to qualify, you must have a household income below the state’s median household income for your size family, have a job or be actively looking for or preparing for employment. There are also asset limits. For example, if you have too much money in the bank or own items of significant value that can be sold for cash, you may not be eligible.
If you have recently lost your job, you may qualify for your state’s unemployment program. These payments are meant to provide some of the income you were making before you lost your job, but not all of it.
To qualify, you must have worked a minimum amount of time at your previous job. Most unemployment programs require applicants to be actively looking for a new job. The amount of money you can get is based on how much you earned at your previous job. You can apply online at your state unemployment program’s website.
Community Action Councils
Many communities have community action organizations. These are often funded by local governments, but they may also receive support from local businesses and non-profits. Most of the assistance through Community Action Councils are in the form of services, but some of them provide one-time cash grant payments for emergency situations like preventing homelessness.
Some charitable organizations give grants to low income individuals and families that meet their qualification requirements. There are other sources of grants, too. For example, some employers give grants to employees in need in the form of gifts, non-taxable disaster relief payments or by setting up a private foundation.
If you need the money to go to school to get a degree or a vocational certification, look into applying for scholarship grants through private foundations or the school you plan to attend. You may also qualify for a Pell grant through the federal government. You can complete the FAFSA form, which is an application for various types of financial aid.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, does not give out financial aid. However, it does provide EBT cash benefits that you can use to buy food at the grocery store. To qualify, you must meet the income and other requirements. If you’re approved, the amount of food benefits you get is based on the number of people in your household.
The EBT card is reloaded every month as long as you maintain eligibility for the program. It can be used at stores that accept EBT but can only be used to buy specific types of items, most of which are groceries. For example, alcohol, cigarettes and prepared food can’t be purchased using EBT cards.
You may have money owed to you and not even know it. When money or assets go unclaimed for a certain amount of time, they are held by the state government until they are claimed by the rightful owner.
Money may be from forgotten bank accounts, unclaimed payroll checks, inheritances and other circumstances where the organization holding the asset cannot find the owner. This could be due to changed addresses or name changes, among other reasons. You can find the agency in your state that administers unclaimed assets and do a search for your name.
If you need cash quickly, you may want to consider having a second job. If you have a car that is in good working order, you might consider becoming an Uber driver or DoorDash delivery person. You can also do housesitting, babysitting or dog walking, wash and detail cars or do freelance work on the computer.
This side hustle can be a temporary venture, or you can develop it into a way to continually supplement your income. Some people eventually quit their jobs and make their side hustle into their new full-time job.