These Government Aid Programs Exist For You To Use Because Your Tax Dollars Pay For Them
There is a multitude of government aid programs that are part of what makes America great. We pay taxes specifically to create government (one that provides equity for all).
Before we dive into the programs, you should know that receiving government aid is far more common than you think. In 2012, more than 1 in 4 Americans benefitted from some kind of government assistance. When you look at the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 analysis of Latinos specifically, you’ll find that about 36 percent of Latinos participate in government aid. Now, here are some programs you might be unaware of but pay taxes to keep them going.
These programs are here for you, paid by you.
While President Trump claims that reliance on welfare “is out of control,” it has actually drastically declined since 1996, and the vast majority of recipients are children. If you’re reading this, we know you’re not a child and that you’re entitled to programs that make life more equitable.
1. American Music Abroad Program
That’s right. Your music group could be eligible to “foster cross-cultural communication with global audiences.” You’ll never know if you don’t find out.
2. Cell Biology and Biophysics Research and Research Training
If you’re one of those brainy, bioscience people, then The Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics might sponsor you to conduct research to prevent, treat and cure diseases that come about from disturbed or abnormal cellular activity. Serve your country with sicence.
3. The Lifeline Program
Lifeline is an income-based program, so if you’re stretched thin, you might be eligible for discounted landline or cell phone services. Take what’s yours. The world is vastly connected through technology and lacking technology is the fastest way to be left behind.
4. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
There is simply no reason to go cold during cold snaps or sweat your physical energy away during heat waves because of costs. This program issues grants from the Department of Health and Human Services to help heat or cool your home.
Don’t think of this as free money. It’s money that’s literally owed to you, that is turned over to the state when you can’t be found. Moved recently? You might have a forgotten deposit paid to a utility company or uncashed paycheck waiting for you to claim it at unclaimed.org
6. American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) Leadership Development Programs
Ok, I’m not saying that ACYPL put Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the map, but you could be the next AOC thanks to ACYPL. Participants are offered leadership training, international relations education, and the connections you need to become an up-and-coming global leader and policy maker.
7. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP is the largest federal nutrition assistance program and provides benefits to low-income folks with something that functions as an actual debit card. Whether you’re in the Los Angeles living struggle bus to pay rent, work at an underpaying non-profit or just have found yourself in a pinch, don’t pinch pennies around your health and nutrition. SNAP is here for you.
8. Identity Protection
Dwight’s right, which is why the U.S. government created the Identity Protection Program. When your name, Social Security Number is stolen, the IPP will resolve the crime and case for you.
9. The Child Care and Development Fund
Child care is a growing, crippling cost for dual-income households. This fund gives states, territories and tribes money to distribute to low-income families to help pay for the child care of your choice. Just find the Child Care and Development Fund contact for your state.
10. Disaster Legal Services
DLS offers legal assistance to low-income individuals who have been affected by a presidentially declared major disaster. Boricuas, this is for you.
This legal advice can help with insurance claims for doctor and hospital bills, property loss, home repair, and beef with your landlord.
11. Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program
At the same time, communities affected by disaster desperately need crisis counseling. Puerto Rico, I see you. The CCP can train you to become a crisis counselor or offer access to one. Just call 1-800-621-FEMA.
12. Education Grants
College grants are goldmines for access to higher education, and an obvious choice for anyone without half a million dollars to drop on an education. Some major grants include:
- The Pell Grant
- The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
- The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant
- The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
Here’s how to get those grants.
13. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
We all know what FAFSA is, and there is no shame in using the federal student aid program to be able to afford outrageously expensive college tuition. Why let there be shame in any other aid program usage?
14. American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)
The AOTC will help reduce your tax obligations on expenses paid for the first four years of education post-high school. You can get an annual credit of $2,500 and even $1,000 refunded by the IRS if you owe no taxes. ????
15. Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
You’re done with school and in the workforce, congrats. JAN offers free expert assistance to employees and employers who require workplace accommodations for a disability or health-related issues.
Got terrible endometriosis coupled with debilitating cramps? I feel you, and JAN can tell you what you need to be acknowledged fairly by your employer for sick time.
16. Housing Counseling Assistance Program
Most millennials aren’t even financially able to own a home, let alone pay an accountant for their expensive services. the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds housing counseling agencies across the country that will offer up advice on buying, renting, foreclosing, and more…for free.
17. Property Improvement Loan Insurance
According to our government, “The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) makes it easier for consumers to obtain affordable home improvement loans by insuring loans made by private lenders to improve properties that meet certain requirements. Lending institutions make loans from their own funds to eligible borrowers to finance these improvements.”
18. Health Insurance
Last but certainly not least is Obama’s parting gift to Americans: health insurance. Healthcare.gov will guide you on how to find affordable coverage that’s right for you.
You can find out what other benefits you’re eligible for at benefits.gov.
There, you can fill out a questionnaire that will generate a list of federal programs that you may be eligible for. I filled it out myself and found out I was eligible for 20+ programs.