With the trouble in the economy, people are starting to look to the government for money. While it is true that the government gives away money, there are numerous misconceptions about the way this is done. For example, there aren’t any personal government grants. Many companies advertise ways to use government grants to get out of debt or for personal items. The way this works is that you have to find a grant to open a business or community service project. Once it becomes profitable, you can use the profits to pay down debts or to do things you want to do. Unclaimed government money is another way of collecting government money. In either case, be wary of companies that promise to find government money for you. The fees of these companies are usually steep, and the methods they use are sometimes unethical.
Finding Government Grants
Visit the grants.gov (see Resources), which details the available grants. Search for grants that meet the purpose you need it for.
Apply for the grants that fit your needs. Be sure to follow the instructions precisely. Grant applications that aren’t filled out according to the directions are usually discarded.
Put together the application packet. This usually includes the application, supporting documents and a detailed plan for the funds. Mail your packet to the address specified using the required method. Some grant packages must be mailed registered, and others must be sent priority.
Be patient. Some of the grant applications will take months to be reviewed.
Locating Unclaimed Funds
Determine what agency owes you money. There is no centralized system for finding unclaimed government money.
Visit that agency’s website to determine the amount of money owed to you. There is a list of some of the most common agencies on the U.S. Treasury Department’s website (see Resources), which may make your search easier.
Fill out the necessary forms to collect the money. Sometimes, you are required to have the forms notarized. In almost every instance, you will have to send a copy of a photo ID or other approved identification to prove you are the actual recipient.
Mail the forms to the specified address. Consider using a return receipt or delivery confirmation option so you can prove the forms made it to the proper address.
Regardless of the type of government money you are searching for, make sure you are completely honest on the applications or forms you fill out. In most cases, even a small untruth is a federal offense.