Financial Help for Those in Need

Financial problems can be both overwhelming and demoralizing. The more you struggle to pay for necessities such as food and shelter, the further behind you may fall on other bills. If you are facing financial difficulties, there are many government programs designed to assist you in meeting your financial needs. If you would rather not ask for government aid, your church or temple leader may be able to refer you to private charities for help.

Food Assistance

Every state offers low-income residents financial assistance with purchasing food. Most food stamp programs offer benefits based on the size of the household and the family's income level. Food stamp programs offer families a set amount of money each month that can be used only for purchasing food. Food stamp benefits cannot be used to purchase hot or premade foods and can only be used at stores, not at restaurants. Food stamps also cannot be used to purchase alcohol or tobacco products.

Utility Company Programs

Utility companies sometimes offer financial assistance to customers who need help paying their bills. Some utility companies allow customers to donate to an emergency fund so they can provide one-time assistance to customers. Utility companies also offer equal payment plans, in which customers can pay a fixed fee each month instead of paying higher bills during peak usages times and lower bills during other times.

LIHEAP Program

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is a federally funded program that gives cash grants to assist customers with paying their electricity bills. Customers who are in danger of having their electricity disconnected may be eligible for a crisis grant if they make less than the federal poverty guidelines. LIHEAP also provides qualified customers with ongoing grants to aid in paying electricity bills. Apply for LIHEAP assistance through your city's Department of Social Services.

Religious Organizations

Many religious organizations offer financial assistance not only to their members but to people in need. For example, many churches sponsor food banks where people who live in the area can get food for free or little cost if they show proof of financial need. Religious organizations such as Jewish Family Services also provide financial assistance to families who identify as members of that religion. If you are having financial problems, ask your religious leader to refer you to an appropriate religious organization for assistance.