Financial Hardship Assistance Programs

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Beware of financial assistance programs and websites that offer to provide forms, links, applications or other information for a fee. All genuine assistance programs are free. These scam sites are only attempting to profit by positioning themselves as middlemen to information and services that are free to everyone.

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is federally funded but administered by states. Programs available through DHHS Regional Offices are cash assistance, childcare assistance, food assistance, job training and refugee services. DHHS provides a directory of its Regional Offices on its website. This agency puts a very low-income ceiling on eligibility and is for families experiencing severe financial hardship.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has many programs that assist those dealing with either temporary or extended financial hardship in a variety of ways. Most programs are administered on the state level, but the HUD website has links to every state&rsquo;s assistance programs for issues such as getting into low-rent apartments, finding low-income housing, assistance in paying monthly mortgage payments, assistance in purchasing a home through approved lenders, and foreclosure avoidance assistance.

Making Home

This is a new federal program that was started in February 2009 in response to the widespread economic hardships that had become prevalent. More than 1 million people have received help since its inception and it is estimated that 3 million to 4 million more will receive assistance by 2012. This program will assist homeowners in getting a mortgage modification (including second mortgages) with their lender that will reduce monthly mortgage payments. Making Home Affordable also has an Unemployment Program that provides homeowners with a mortgage forbearance period for a minimum of 3 months.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

This program provides free or greatly discounted medication for those who take prescription drugs and are experiencing financial hardship if they do not have prescription drug insurance. The service is free. Application forms are available at its website or by telephone at 888-477-2669.

Union Plus

Union Plus, established by the AFL-CIO, offers assistance to members and retirees of hundreds of participating labor unions. Some of these programs include, job loss grants, disaster relief grants, mortgage assistance, credit counseling, hospital care grants, medical expense discounts (including a free prescription card) and legal consultation.



About the Author

Lisa Dorward was a corporate financial executive and business consultant for more than 15 years before becoming a writer in 2003. She has B.A. degrees in both history and creative writing and earned her M.F.A. in creative writing in 2008, specializing in novel-length historical fiction.

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