At one point or another, we have all struggled with our finances. Sudden situations such as unemployment or emergencies can occasionally lead to hard-working people having to choose between paying the bills or putting food on the table. During these trying times, knowing how to find help paying bills is crucial.
Charities and church-based organizations are available to help. There is also government assistance available for paying phone, water and electric bill expenses. Read on to learn several ways to get help paying bills through several different agencies and programs.
Churches and charities play an active role in local, regional and national communities by providing food, temporary housing and occasional cash relief to people in need. Applying for this type of assistance is not a regulated experience and is therefore potentially different for each organization.
The first step involves calling churches in your area and asking what type of assistance they provide. The next step is utilizing online searches to find various local, regional or other charities offering bill-paying assistance to qualified applicants.
Qualifying factors are mostly based on income and location. Approvals are often also based on the urgency of needs. Funds for church and charity organizations are most often provided by donations, so availability is frequently limited. Church and charity organizations available to help pay bills include:
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• The United Way.
• Catholic Charities USA.
• American Red Cross.
• Lutheran Services.
• Various Community Action Agencies.
There are also government-funded programs that provide cash assistance. Some programs also provide assistance with directly paying bills and living expenses. The federal government often funds bill assistance programs, even though most are actually facilitated by individual U.S. states.
Begin seeking help by contacting your local Social Services office. Social Services offices provide information about state qualification requirements or refer you to other offices/organizations with better information.
Qualifying requirements are predominantly based on household income and residential history. Residential history is important to many state-facilitated financial assistance organizations because the funds provided to them are designated to help people in specific counties.
Federal government programs are available to help pay food, childcare costs, heating/AC bills and medical expenses. Some common government services include:
- SNAP and WIC (money to help low-income individuals and families buy food)
- TANF (money to help low-income families achieve self-sufficiency)
- State unemployment benefits
- LIHEAP (money to help qualified households pay their utility bills)
- Section 8 (money to help qualified households afford their rent)
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