When I open up my inbox every morning, I almost always see an email with the title, “I need help paying my bills”. With the current state of the economy, more and more people are feeling the pinch of increased prices at the grocery and department stores, while their salaries have not changed. Almost everyone has needed financial assistance at some point in their lives, whether it was from parents, a bank, the government or otherwise. If you’ve sent me an email asking for help with bills here are some resources available to you.
Tell Your Parents, “I Need Help Paying My Bills”
No matter how old you are, your parents want the best for you. They don’t want to see you fail. No self-respecting young adult, or old adult, for that matter, wants to crawl back home to mommy and daddy, begging for money. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just what you have to do. If you have poor credit and can’t get a traditional loan from a bank, or you have maxed out your credit cards and don’t have money for your next meal, your parents will likely help.
You can’t go to this well too often, though. If you’ve already hit mom and dad up for a loan or two and you haven’t paid it back, you might be out of luck. In addition, they might only be able to help you out for a month or two before they’ll expect you to be back on your feet. So, don’t take this time for granted. Find ways to make more money and get back on the plus side of things. Even if your parents can’t help you with your bills, the good news is you probably won’t go hungry. Show up on your parents’ doorstep at meal time and you’ll get invited in for sure.
Get the Government Involved:
If you don’t want to take a handout from your mom, you can always try to get one from the government. There are many programs available to people with low-incomes to help them pay their bills. It really depends on the type of debt you have as to which programs you will qualify for. Here are the kinds of programs available through the government if you need help paying your bills.
Medical bills assistance
- Medicare (for people over the age of 65)
- Prescription drug assistance
- State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Cash assistance for everyday needs
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (for disabled people over the age of 65)
Utility bills assistance to help with electric and heating costs
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
- Weatherization Program
Public Housing and Rent Assistance
- Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher
- Housing Counseling
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program (for people over the age of 60)
- Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
These are just the federal government assistance programs available to you. There are also state programs that will vary depending on where you live. Again, you will need to apply for any program you are interested in and will be required to provide documentation proving you are eligible to receive benefits. Moms and dads usually don’t require this kind of proof.
Become a Devout Church-Goer:
If you haven’t been to church in a while, you might want to start going this Sunday, if not before. Churches can help people who say, “I need help paying my bills.” You don’t really need to be a member of a church to get their assistance, but it probably isn’t a bad idea. Some churches will require you to submit an application while others will take your word for it and provide you with some form of help. Here are the steps you should take to request financial assistance form a place of worship.
- Contact the church and ask to meet with the minister. Not all churches will offer financial support, but many will so keep trying until you find one that can meet with you soon.
- Show up at your appointment on time. Even ministers don’t like to be kept waiting, especially if they’re being asked to help someone in need.
- Bring a state-issued identification card to the meeting to prove you are who you say you are. Keep in mind that showing a fake ID to a minister is bad karma.
- Answer all the minister’s questions truthfully. It will only harm you if you lie because you think your story isn’t good enough to get help.
- If the church requires you to attend a money-management class to get the assistance, do it. You probably can use the advice.
- If the church asks you to perform some work around the building in exchange for cash, do it. Show that you are willing to provide some value for the money they are giving to you.
Beware of Scams!
Whenever people are down and out, there are other people standing by to take advantage of them. This is true for anyone, but particularly those who are saying, “I need help paying my bills”. The last thing you need is to fork over cash in a misguided attempt to buy a device, ebook or system that someone guarantees will help you get rich overnight. Before you ever give anyone your money, be sure to do your research to ensure you are not getting taken. Most scams are not new, so if anything you read sounds like what someone is promising you, just say no. You definitely don’t need that kind of help.
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