It is one thing to have credit card debt. It is a whole other thing to have credit card debt that you cannot pay off. According to the United States Federal Reserve, total outstanding consumer credit is currently standing at $2.4558 trillion . With numbers such as these, it is no wonder so many consumers are looking for relief. A potential source for at least partial relief from the burden of credit card is grant assistance. Grants do not require repayment and could make the difference between remaining solvent and declaring bankruptcy.
Possibly the most important step is to analyze yourself and your situation. Your age, type of employment, type of debt and available resources all come into play in finding a grant program right for you. Unfortunately, there is no one program designed specifically to eliminate credit card debt per se. In addition, some grant programs require that you work with a not-for-profit credit-counseling agency and administer funds through the agency. It is essential to know exactly where you stand before beginning.
Start by creating a list containing your personal information, employment information, and all credit card information. You will need itemized credit card statements for this step so if you no longer have these, contact your credit card company and request copies from the last six months.
Personal information should include your status (single mother, widow, single, or married). Employment information can also be a matter of lifestyle (farming, military, or student). Categorize credit card expenses according to the type of expense, such as medical expenses, education expenses, home maintenance and repair expenses. List every dollar you owe on your cards and to whom you owe those dollars.
Visit the government benefits resources website (See Resources). For a general overview of what you may qualify for, locate the confidential questionnaire on the homepage and fill it out using your personal information. The questionnaire contains 100 questions on a variety of topics. Upon completion, you will receive a list of government programs you prequalify to apply for, along with links to click for more information. The site lists state programs as well.
Another resource for locating debt relief is the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (See Resources). When looking for credit card debt relief from the federal government, look for a “D” level grant. Unlike some grant types that are specific as to use, a “D” level grant is a direct payment with unrestricted use.
Contact a not-for-profit credit-counseling agency, such as Consumer Counseling Service. Nonprofit credit counseling organizations many times receive federal funding and are aware of little known, unadvertised programs you may qualify for, in addition to private grant assistance available from time to time.
While technically not a grant, calling your credit card company can have the same beneficial effect. Credit card companies are sometimes willing to settle for a percentage on the dollar, leaving you with a reduced balance.
Applying for a federal grant is not an easy process and requires close attention to the smallest detail. Depending on the agency providing the grant, the application can consist of up to eight parts. While numerous online tutorials exist to assist you in filling out a grant application, a better option is to have a counselor from a nonprofit credit-counseling agency assist you in completing the required forms.
Approval times vary, but six to eight weeks is the average. Once approved, funds are available immediately.
Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.