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Places to Go For Help with Utility Bills, Student Loans, and More...
I Need Help with My Utility Bills
There are many places to go to for help ( DHHS, Community Action Agencies, Legal Aid, and others) when you need help paying bills, such as heat, electricity, and water bills. When you are low-income, elderly, disabled, a single mother, are facing financial hardship and/or have lost your job it can be difficult to pay your bills in a not-so-great economy, especially when you don't have enough or no money at all. There are many sources out there that can help you and your family pay the bills. People, who don't have any money at all should qualify to get emergency food stamps, especially if they don't have a job or lost their job. They should go to the Department of Health and Humans Services to apply as soon as they can to make sure that they can get food.
There are government agencies (federal and state levels), non-profit organizations, charities, and social service agencies that can help with paying bills, such as utility bills. You can even get free or discounts on heating fuel or oil. You can, also, get help with your mortgage, rent, credit card debt, and much more... Some agencies may direct you to places where you can get help paying some bills that you may be behind in.
On the government level there is the "Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)' which is funded by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It is a block grant that is used to help low-income people and the elderly to pay for heating costs in the winter and, also, cooling costs in the summer. LIHEAP, also, has a weatherization program to help winterize homes to save on energy costs.
People can contact various organizations and community action agencies in their location of their state of residence. The amount of help or benefit is determined by your household size, your income, fuel type, and the state you reside in.
Past Due BIlls
Crisis grants are available in emergency situations. If you get a disconnection notice from your utility company you can get emergency help to prevent disconnection. You can apply for a Crisis Grant more than once a year. You can apply for a Crisis Grant until you reached the maximum amount for the year. Crisis Grants can be used for other emergencies, as well, such as repairing or replacing heating equipment that is broken, malfunctioning, or lines that are leaking which needs to be fixed.
Other emergencies include: being without fuel or heating oil, you are in imminent danger of running out of fuel or heating oil, and having your utility service terminated. An agency called "Heating Repair Replacement Program (HARRP) can help to repair or replace heating units, and furnaces.
There is a website that has a list of places where people can get help with bills, which includes heating, lights, and water bills. The website's address is: www.needhelppayingbills.com. All of the states are listed on the website and people can go to their state to find out how they can get help with bills in their state.
People can get help paying their water bills from non-profit organizations, charities, churches, and government agencies. Most of these programs have income limits, and will only help if a household gets a notice that the water utility is going to shut off their water. The water company should be contacted as soon as you know that you are falling behind in your payments and the utility may have options to avoid cutting your water off.
Help with Bills
The WaterSense Program
A government program called "WaterSense" is a partnership program which helps to save on the usage of water and to prevent the wasting of water. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The program shows Americans how easy it is to save water, to lower water bills, and to protect the environment.
The WaterSense label is on products that are efficient in saving water and are of the best quality. There are a wide range of products on the market with the WaterSense label. The products must be 20% more efficient and perform better than their less efficient counterparts.
Some WaterSense products are: toilets which are more efficient than the older models, and save on water, WaterSense irrigation can save water, money, and is better for the environment, WaterSense faucets are more efficient, save water, money, and WaterSense shower heads are efficient in saving water and can help by lowering the cost of water bills, Water saving products like WaterSense help to save water and money.
WaterSense products make good sense when they save on gallons of water every year that would otherwise be wasted. The WaterSense Program should be a good program that should save on water, money and the environment.
Student Loan Debt Crisis
I Can't Pay My Student Loans
Many people, including low-income people, have student loans that they have trouble paying, or can't afford to pay the monthly payments at all. There are government programs that can help and there are options for getting assistance. One option is the income based repayment plan. In this plan the monthly payments are limited to the borrower's total monthly income. With the Income based repayment plan you can make up to $16,000 yearly and have no monthly payments, and if you exceed that amount you may have to pay some, but the monthly payments are capped at 15% if your income is over that limit. The other payment options are: Level Repayment Schedule, Graduated Repayment Schedule, Income Sensitive/Based Repayment Schedule, or the 25 Year Extended Repayment Plan. The income based repayment plan would be good for low-income people, who have trouble paying bills. You have to apply for this program every year. Any public assistance is also factored into the Income-based payment plan.
Student loans can, also, be consolidated so that there is only one payment. Most federal loans can be consolidated under the Federal Direct Loan Consolidation program, except for private loans from private lenders or banks. Generally, student loans can not be discharged in a bankruptcy, so filing bankruptcy won't pay off any student loans even the ones from private lenders and banks. Legal Aid can help with Student Loans, as well, and if needed they can help anyone who has trouble paying back student loans. They can be contacted and you will need to do an interview with them to get started.
More should be done about student loans, for example: student loan forgiveness to alleviate the problems with paying the debt back, which many, many students are facing today. A lot of student can't find jobs after they graduate from college, so then, they can't pay the enormous student loan debt that is hanging over their heads.
The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012
The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 (H.R. 4170) was introduced by congressman Hansen Clarke (D-Mich) on March 8, but has not passed yet. The act may be able to help people with student loan debts and may provide a lot of relief to all of those who qualify. The outstanding student loan debt totals about one trillion dollars and is rising. For detailed information you can go to: www.usnews.com/education/blogs/student-loan-ranger/2012/... to find out much more about "The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012.There's a good article on yahoo news about what the forgiveness act can mean for you. The article can be found by using the Yahoo search engine.