Government aid can be very helpful to those enduring a financial struggle or hardship. It can also be beneficial for those looking to attain a higher education, or deal with soaring medical costs. But many people who are searching for government aid make the mistake of assuming they are entitled to it. The truth is that government aid is provided to individuals only when the government feels there is a good reason to distribute it. No one is guaranteed aid simply for existing.
The government does not hand out "free money" at random to anyone who is dealing with with a financial hardship. Instead, there are many programs designed by the government, that are created to serve a specific purpose of aid and relief. These programs cover a wide range of needs that the government sees necessary to provide aid to. Programs include everything from job training, to health care, to infant care, to education and nutrition. Each program is funded by the government and distributes aid for the specific need it covers. This makes it much easier for the government to distribute aid, rather than fielding general requests for financial help from everyone who feels they need it.
To receive aid, you must file an application to the specific program you need help from, and meet several strict eligibility requirements. Keep in mind that most aid programs do not offer cash payments.
Benefits.gov is not designed to provide you directly with the government aid you are seeking, but rather is a tool to help you find government benefits programs that you may be eligible for. These benefit programs oftentimes are absolutely vital to a family's ability to survive financially. With mounting bills and many mouths to feed at home, it may not be the ideal option to accept government aid, but it will certainly help make ends meet, and put food on the table.
To use Benefits.gov, head to the website, and click one of the following two options:
Benefits Finder: This is a questionnaire that will ask you about your current situation, and reasons you are searching for aid. Answer all of the questions, and the survey will provide you with a list of benefits that you may be eligible for. The questionnaire sifts through all available government aid programs, and makes it much easier to find the appropriate program you are looking for.
Browse Benefits: If you already know what benefits you may be eligible for, and don't need to find the right government aid program, you can use the Browse Benefits tool on Benefits.gov to browse by the category of specific assistance. Arrange the list by Federal agency, state, or category to find the right program for you.
Benefits.gov cannot help you attain government grants. These are awards given to individuals or organizations, and are not designed to provide personal benefits or assistance. If you wish to apply for a government grant, rather than government aid, visit: http://www.grants.gov to find all available government grants and apply for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can Benefits.gov know what aid programs I may be eligible for?
Benefits.gov uses a complex computer software that cross-references your answers to the benefits questionnaire with a list of available programs. There are over 1,000 Federal funded programs the software checks to see if you match with any of them. The more questions you answer, the higher the accuracy of the system, and the more programs you will match with. Only the first set of questions are required, but it is highly recommended to answer as many questions as possible, to maximize your benefits.
Why does my survey say I "may" be eligible?
Aid is never guaranteed until it is given approved by the government-sponsored programs. The only way to know if you are absolutely eligible is to complete an application. Additionally, benefit eligibility is a constantly-changing situation. Events like a death in the family, a birthday, an accident or a medical procedure can all change your eligibility.
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