After the holidays, a lot of people feel financially strapped and start thinking about how to save money. Great news! If you need help paying bills or taking care of your family, the government has some programs that could help. Many state and federal programs exist to help not just low-income families, but people of varying income levels. And a lot of programs are specifically meant to help homeowners.

Here are some of the various types of government help available:

Down Payment Assistance:

If you can’t afford a down payment on a home, many states offer down payment assistance. To find such programs in your state, start at the Federal Housing Authority. California actually has several programs for home buyers. Details here.

The California Homebuyer’s Downpayment Assistance program is a deferred-payment junior loan that grants applicants up to 3% of the purchase price or appraised value of the property, which can be put towards the down payment and/or closing costs.

Unclaimed Money

Not exactly free money, unclaimed money is money owed to you because you either forgot about it, lost it or didn’t claim it. It can be a deposit paid to a utility company that you never got back, a lost savings bond, unclaimed life insurance benefits or an uncashed paycheck.

The funds are turned over to the state when the owner can’t be contacted, such as through clerical errors or companies having old addresses on file. The website unclaimed.org is a good place to start checking to see if you’re owed unclaimed money. Be wary of anyone who says they represent a government agency and are contacting you with an offer of free money. The government rarely reaches out to people with such offers.

If you have a smart phone and love technology, check out DoNotPay. It’s a free chatbot App for iPhones or Androids that offers AI-powered legal counsel. It will fight your parking tickets, find free government settlement money, find free prescription drugs, get ridehsare refunds for trips that take too long and much more.

Childcare

Annual costs for infant care range from about $5,000 in Mississippi to $22,600 in Washington, D.C., according to the Economic Policy Institute…a big cost for any family. California is ranked 11th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia for most expensive infant care. The average annual cost of infant care in California is $11,817—that’s $985 per month. Details here.

The Child Care and Development Fund helps low-income families by giving money for childcare for children under 13. Find out if you qualify here.

Utility Bills

Low-income households can get help paying heating and cooling bills from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance, which is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. The grants are issued by individual states, which set their own eligibility requirements. For discounted landline or cellphone service, the income-based Lifeline program provides eligible customers at least $9.25 toward their bill.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or legal advice. To learn more about down payment assistant programs or your best opportunities in real estate, please give me a call. We are here to help!

Article by Sparkling Marketing, Inc. with information from RIS Media.

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