Federal Government Loans and Grants
Believe it or not, the federal government doesn’t just rake in the taxpayer bucks, it will lend them out -- and, sometimes -- give money to qualified applicants for free. Now, before you think you’ve found a way to supplement your income, do note that grant assistance typically goes to state and local governments, educational organizations, public housing, non-profits and some small businesses. In the meantime, U.S. residents can apply for government loans for business, agriculture, education, housing, disaster relief and veteran assistance.
Grants are awarded for: agriculture, arts, business and commerce, community development, disaster prevention and relief, education, employment training, energy, environmental assistance, nutrition, health, housing, humanities, information and statistics, legal services, natural resources, recovery acts, regional development, science and technology, social services and transportation. You will NOT find assistance for personal debt, Social Security, Medicaid or other social services.
Search for grant opportunities by agency name, category or specific request at grants.gov. Register on behalf of the organization you represent to apply for a grant; it can take several business days or up to four weeks to complete the process -- typically depending on how promptly the steps are completed. You can download an application, fill it out offline and then include it with your grant request package. The instructions on how to apply for a grant are on the website. You can also track the application status and review other resources such as Frequently Asked Questions and tutorials.
The specifics for each application process vary depending on the government organizations, but in many cases, applicants should be prepared to answer a lot of questions about taxes, income, assets, employment and insurance information.
Check out govloans.gov for help on choosing the appropriate agency. There you will find information on: the Small Business Administration which helps with disaster relief; the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA,) which helps farmers and farming communities; the Department of Commerce -- it lends money to help increase economic growth; the U. S. Department of Education‘s Federal Student Aid office (FSA,) -- it offers loans and grants to students; the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD,) provides loans toward housing and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) gives assistance to veterans and their dependents.
Before applying for a loan, you must determine how much money you will need to borrow -- include that specific amount in the application. In preparation, be sure to review all filing requirements and submit the necessary documentation with the loan application package. Requirements may include collateral and resource management, credit scores, current employment or work history and earnings information. Preparing a business plan is a good idea because it should help you answer questions in the loan package as to how you plan to use the money. Fill out the application completely; incomplete information could mean a rejection of the loan request.
Personal Financial Assistance
The federal government does not offer financial assistance to individuals, however, people may find help with the challenges they face through local and state government programs or non-profit organizations. Visit benefits.gov to access the links to hundreds of federal and state programs. Fill out the questionnaire; the site will send you a list of programs that may help with your situation.
© 2014 Teri Silver
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