Matthew LeskoMatthew Lesko
Matthew Lesko
FREE SEARCH : SEE WHAT PROGRAMS YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR
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2014 Government Money Clock
 
Amount Given To Individuals
So Far In 2014
Avg Family Will Receive
$20,978 in 2010
 
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137 Government Benefits To Help You
...When You're Out Of Work
...Or Going Back To School
The government is giving out more in financial assistance and free services than ever before. Because of the slow economy some programs will experience cutbacks but overall the total dollars going out to people who need help is increasing.
The problem is that people are unaware there are so many programs available. People will try one program and if they don't get the help they need they stop and say, "Yea see. I didn't think the government had any real help for me."
THEY DO HAVE HELP FOR YOU. YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHERE TO LOOK.
If you are out of work, or decide to go back to school, we put together a collection of some of the programs you should find helpful. These programs can help with your day-to-day living expenses, provide you with free services and counseling, and even show you how to get money back from the IRS when you don't owe any taxes. The list is divided into the following categories:
1) Get Help And Learn The System
2) Help With Credit And Daily Expenses
3) Help With Housing Expenses
4) Taxes: Money From The IRS
5) Special Help For Seniors
6) Better Legal Help Than Lawyers
7) Paying For Your Education
8) Job Training Assistance
Don't Ask For A Grant If You Want Free Money
When you contact a government office for help, please don't just use the word "grant" when asking about available money programs. I know this is the most common term used by people seeking help, but you cut yourself out of a lot of suitable programs. Programs are established using all kinds of names including grants, direct payments, loans you don't have to pay back, assistance payments, vouchers, or even services. So when you are looking for this kind of money try not to use the word "grant" and just use the word "assistance." This way you are more likely to find all the possible programs that can help you.
Videos of Government Officials
Describing Their Programs
Free Help With Credit Problems
Money and Help For A Better Job
Free Help For Low Income
Help With Your Mortgage
College Money From Your State
You May Still Be Eligible With An Income Of $80,000/Year
Yes, you are right. There are income requirements for some of these programs. But remember every program has a different requirement. And even if they have an income requirement, it may vary across the country. And if the program says it is only for people with low income, you may be shocked at what the government considers low income. It can be as much as $44,100 or more for some of the basic programs and I have even seen income requirements going up to $80,000 for some housing programs in the New York area. And remember, by contacting the right bureaucrat there can always be exceptions to the rules.
There Are More Programs Than You Ever Dreamed Of
You can't stop if you don't find what you need in the programs below. Space precludes us from listing the thousands more that are available and publishing deadlines prevent us from having the latest. So here is where you can turn to continue your work in getting what you need.
It Takes Work
If you make a single phone call and get a check mailed to you next week, call us, because we will put you in our next infomercial. What is more likely to happen is that you will have to go over some bureaucratic hurdles to get the help you need. But remember that programs are real, millions of Americans take advantage of these programs every year, and you already paid for them just by living in America.
If you are still overwhelmed and want help in identifying just the programs available in your city our researchers can produce a Matthew Lesko Custom Report for a very modest fee. See http://www.myamericanbenefitsplan.com/ .
Get Help And Learn The System
1) Meet With A Free Financial Counselor As Soon As Possible
These are local experts paid by the government to help you stay in your home. There are a bunch of offices in your state that help with these programs. Check out http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/i_want_to/talk_to_a_housing_counselor This is likely to be the most important thing you can do because they can help with all your credit and housing programs. Search online for a housing counseling agency near you, or call HUD's interactive voice system at: (800) 569-4287. Yes, these agencies focus on housing issues, but they also include debt management assistance.
2) Meet With Your Local One-Stop Career Center
They are busy in these times of high unemployment but depending on where you live they offer a variety of services that can help you get back on your feet, like:
- up to $10,000 to train for a new career
- money to pay for transportation, day care and other expenses while you train for a new job
- some offer money to live on while you start your own business
- financing for new career opportunities in growth industries like health care, teacher training, and green jobs
- information on unemployment payments, COBRA assistance and programs that can extend your unemployment payments
- free help with resume writing, job searching as well as access to computers and copying machines
To locate your nearest One-Stop office go to http://servicelocator.org/ and plug in your zip code.
3) Contact Your Local Community Action Agency
These are local experts that can help you identify not only help with your mortgage but other programs that might help with paying your daily expenses. The best way to get help is to make an appointment for an interview. You can search for the Community Action Agency for your county at
http://www.communityactionpartnership.com/index.php?option=
com_spreadsheets&view=search&spreadsheet=cap&Itemid=188
I did a scan of services provided at some of the Community Action Agencies in Ohio. You generally can get heating and cooling assistance, weatherization of your home, emergency assistance, job training, children services, and more. Some even offer microenterprise business assistance to help you start your own business. Many also offer Individual Development Accounts where you put money into a savings account for the purchase of a house, college education, or a car, and the money you save is matched often by $3 for every $1 you save. What is great about these agencies is that they also know about other programs in the area where you might qualify for assistance.
4) State Money Programs
Every state government has dozens of money programs that help people pay their expenses. The problem is that there is never one central place to look. You have to go agency by agency, or department by department and search for what is available. Some good departments to start are health, agriculture, commerce, and social services. You can find them by dialing 411 and asking for your state capitol operator or by going to the web at http://www.govengine.com/ and clicking on your state. When I looked at Ohio, I scrolled down to the Executive Branch and looked at the Department listings. I saw Department of Job & Family Services and saw what they had to offer. Many of the state programs are offered at the local and county levels, and they can direct you to the correct resource.
5) City and County Programs
You can do the same thing as you did for the State Programs for your city and county offices. Start looking at every local city and county government for programs that might help. If you don't know where to go, you can call 411 and ask for the mayor's office or the office of the county executive. Just tell them you are looking for programs that might provide financial assistance to residents. You can also go to http://www.govengine.com/ and under each state there will be a listing of all cities and counties. Click on those of interest and start searching for programs.
6) Volunteer Organizations
There are a number of national volunteer organizations around the country that offer grants and other free services to solve problems for people in their community. Find your local club for each of the organizations below and contact them for information on their programs. These organizations run programs that offer money for:
- day care services
- summer camp
- scholarships
- travel
- free eye glasses
- cataract surgeries
- health problems
- medical equipment, and
- money for emergencies
Kiwanis International
3636 Woodview Trace
Indianapolis, IN 46268-3196
317-875-8755
http://www.kiwanis.org
find a local Kiwanis club
http://www.kiwanis.org/FindaClub/tabid/84/Default.aspx/
United States Junior Chamber
P.O. Box 7
Tulsa, OK 74102
1-800-JAYCEES
http://www.usjaycees.org/

find a local Jaycees chapter
http://www.usjaycees.org/index.php?option=com_mtree&task=listcats&cat_id=95&Itemid=177
Lions Clubs International
300 W 22nd Street
Oak Brook, IL 60523
630-571-5466 ext 356
http://www.lionsclubs.org/
630-571-5466 ext 356
find a local lions club http://www.lionnet.com/united_states.html
Catholic Charities USA
1731 King St., #200
Alexandria, VA 22314
703-549-1390
http://www.catholiccharitiesinfo.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1174
Over 14,000 local organizations offer a variety of services for many different community problems including child care, elderly services, emergency financial services, rental assistance, and more. To find an office near you go to their main web site and see Find Your Local Catholic Charities Agency and put in your state.
http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=292
Salvation Army National Headquarters
615 Slaters Lane
P.O. Box 269
Alexandria, VA 22313
703-684-5500
http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf
Families in need can receive a wide range of services including utility assistance,transitional housing emergency food, clothing, and more. For an office near you,contact the headquarters above.
United Way of America
701 North Fairfax St.
Alexandria, VA 2314
703-836-7112
http://www.liveunited.org/?
To find a local chapter go to the web site and enter your zip code in the upper left corner. The United Way is a national organization that raises money for thousands of local non-profit organizations who offer money and services to people in their community. Your local United Way can identify non-profits in your area that may offer the resources or services you are looking for.
7) Government Benefits Websites
GovBenefits.gov helps provide personalized access to government assisted programs. This online program is free and confidential. All you have to do is answer a series of questions about yourself and then GovBenefits.gov will provide you with a list of government programs you may be eligible to receive along with application information. The site will provide both state and federal programs to assist you. Contact: 800-FED-INFO; http://www.govbenefits.gov/govbenefits_en.portal.
BenefitsCheckUp is a service of the National Council on the Aging helping Americans connect with government programs. This online database searches federal, state, some local and public benefits for adults 55 years old and older. It contains over 1,100 different programs and on average there are 50 to 70 programs available to individuals per state. The online questionnaire is free, confidential and takes about 30 minutes to complete. If you want to find all of the benefits you qualify this is a great place to start. For information contact BenefitsCheckUp, http://www.benefitscheckup.org/.
Low income veterans who are permanently or totally disabled or 65 years old may be eligible for pension benefits from the US government. The military also offers survivor benefits for surviving spouses and unmarried children of deceased veterans with wartime service. There are some restrictions so you will need to apply to the Veterans Administration. Contact: Veteran Benefits, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20420; 800-827-1000; http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp.
Help With Credit And Daily Expenses
8) Free Credit Repair
The Federal Trade Commission has many publications to get you on the road to good credit and can also tell you your rights in dealing with collection agencies. Contact Public Reference, Room 130, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580; 877-FTC-HELP; http://www.ftc.gov/;
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/credit.shtm You can also get free counseling at your local County Cooperative Extension Service listed in the government section of your phone book under County Government. Or contact one of the non-profits that can help with your debt: National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 801 Roeder Rd., Suite 900, Silver Spring, MD 20910; 800- 388-2227; http://www.nfcc.org/; or Money Management International, 9009 West Loop South, 7th Floor, Houston, TX 77096; 866-889-9347;
27; http://www.moneymanagement.org/. Remember that these non-profits get money from credit card companies so they are not likely to explain your bankruptcy options to you. Check out the FTC Publication, Fiscal Fitness: Choosing a Credit Counselor at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre26.shtm
9) Free Copies of Your Credit Report
You can get a free copy of your credit report every year and if:
  • You have been denied credit, insurance, or employment within the last 60 days
  • You are unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days
  • You are on welfare, or
  • Your report is inaccurate because of fraud.
You can request your free report online, by phone or by mail. Visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp, call 1-877-322-8228, or fill out the Annual Credit Report Request form and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. No matter how you request your report, you have the option to request all three reports at once or to order one report at a time.By requesting the reports separately, you can monitor your credit more frequently throughout the year. Otherwise they can charge you up to $9 for a copy of your report. For copies of your report, contact http://www.ftc.gov/freereports If you have trouble getting satisfaction from a credit reporting agency contact: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, DC 20580; 877-FTC-HELP; http://www.ftc.gov/
10) Money & Help for Those Who Served
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hotline can provide you with information on such programs as life insurance, comprehensive dental and medical care, nursing homes, home loan programs, burial services, and more. In addition each state offers some additional benefits which could be free license plates, free or reduced hunting and fishing licenses, and more. Contact U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20420; 800-827-1000; http://www.va.gov/.
11) Dress For Success For Free
Looking for work and can't afford the right wardrobe? There are about 50 non-profit organizations around the country that provide women with two separate outfits for free. One can be used to go to an interview and the other can be used once you get the job. The following organization acts as a clearinghouse for similar opportunities around the country.
Bottomless Closet,
445 North Wells,Chicago,
IL 60610; 312-527-9664;
Fax: 312-527-4305;
http://bottomlesscloset.org/.

Career Gear,
120 Broadway,
30th Floor, New York,
NY 10271; 212-577-6190;
Email: info@careergear.org;
http://www.careergear.org/.
This organization has locations in New York, Michigan, Ohio, and Florida.

Dress for Success
32 East 31st Street,
Suite 602, New York,
NY 10016; 212-532-DSNY, ext. 23;
Email: newyork@dressforsuccess.org;
http://www.dressforsuccess.org/.
This organization has locations in almost every state and internationally.

Suited For Change,
1010 Vermont Ave.,
NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20005;
202-293-0351;
http://www.suitedforchange.org/.
12) $400/wk When You're Out of Work
Mass lay-offs, base closings, trade agreements, and high unemployment in your state, all affect your ability to find and keep a job. If you are out of work, take advantage of unemployment insurance. All states are required to provide benefits up to 26 weeks and some extend them further. If your state has very high unemployment, you may be eligible for 13 additional weeks of compensation. If you lost your job because of an increase in imports, you may qualify to have your benefits extended up to an extra 52 weeks if you are in a job-retraining program. Your weekly benefit amount depends upon your past wages within certain minimum and maximum limits that vary from state to state. Many states also will add additional funds depending upon the number of dependents. If you are denied benefits, learn about the appeal process, as your chances of winning are good. Contact your state Unemployment Insurance office listed in the blue pages of your phone book. You can click on your state here to find more information on your state: http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp
13) Free Child Care When Training or Looking For a Job
Welfare reform, called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), does more to help people not wind up on welfare. The program includes free training, education, child care, and transportation assistance necessary to help you obtain employment. Child care is an important part of the program. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state, so contact your TANF office nearest you to learn what options are available to you. For more information, contact Office of Family Assistance, Administration for Children and Families, 370 L Enfant Promenade, SW, Washington, DC 20447; 202-401-9215; http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/
Here is a listing of the state TANF contact numbers: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/states/tanf-num.htm
14) Free Child Safety Seats
There are hospitals that give out free child safety seats as you leave with your new baby, with no questions asked and no income requirements. Local police and fire departments inspect child safety seats to see that they are in proper order and properly installed, and sometimes provide free seats to those whose current equipment is not considered safe. Local organizations, like the Easter Seals Society were part of a federal program that gives out millions of dollars worth of free seats because of a settlement the U.S. Department of Transportation made with General Motors. Other groups will lend you a seat for as little as $5. The state of Minnesota alone has over 225 such programs.
To find a program near you, contact your local police or fire department. Or contact your state information operator and ask them for your state office for Highway Safety or Traffic Safety. These national organizations may also be able to give you a local source:
*National SAFEKIDS Campaign, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004; 202-626-0600; Fax 202-393-2072; http://www.safekids.org/
*National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh St., SW, Washington, DC 20590; 800-424-9393; http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/
15) $230/Mo for Parking Money
Your employer can give you $230 a month to pay for going to work in a bus, van or metro, and give you $230 a month for parking. You get the money tax free, and the employer gets to take a tax deduction. It is called the Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit or Transit Benefit Program. Get a copy of IRS Publication 535, Business Expenses or IRS Publication 15-B and show your boss the section entitled "Qualified Transportation Fringe". The publication is available from your local IRS office or from 800-TAX-FORM or from their web site at http://www.irs.gov/.
16) Discount On Phone Service
Under the Federal Communication Commission's Link-up America and Lifeline programs, low-income households seeking telephone service are given a discount on local connection charges, and may be able to pay installment payments on the remaining charge. Lifeline provides qualified consumers with a discount on monthly charges for their primary home phone line, even if it's a cell phone. If you qualify for this program, Lifeline can save you at least $10 a month on your phone bills, depending on what state you live in and which phone company in your area provides this program. Some states provide more discounts to make local telephone service even more affordable. To determine if your state offers these additional discounts, contact your state's public utility commission, www.naruc.org/commissions.cfm. Link-Up lowers the cost eligible consumers pay for setting up new phone service at their home, including cell phone service. Link-Up pays up to $30.00 of a qualified consumer's home phone startup fees (even if it's a cell phone), not including the cost of the phone. Link-Up also lets consumers borrow up to $200 of set-up fees, interest-free, for up to one year. Eligibility for a family of 4 is $29,767. To learn more contact your local telephone company or go to 888-CALL-FCC; http://www.lifeline.gov/.
17) The Government Owes You Money
You may not know it, but there may be money sitting and waiting for you in government offices. It may be because of an old utility deposit you forgot about or an IRS check that was sent to an old address. Find out if there is hidden money for you at these government offices: National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, P.O. Box 7156, Bismarck, ND 58507; http://www.unclaimed.org/; contact the IRS at 800-829-1040; http://www.irs.gov/; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, P.O. Box 23699, Washington, DC 20026; 800-697-6967; http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/comp/refunds/index.cfm Veterans Affairs at 800-827-1000; http://www.va.gov/; or Social Security at 800-772-1213; http://www.ssa.gov/.
18) Services Available From Veterinary Teaching Hospitals
Veterinary teaching hospitals can be an excellent place to take your pet, and most of them will take new patients directly or as referrals from other veterinarians. But as research and teaching institutions, they have access to a lot more resources than your average veterinary hospital. Many but not all of these hospitals provide services like:
* Free Services and Drugs for People Who Can't Pay
* Free Medical Treatment for Strays in Need Brought in by Non-owners
* Free Answers to Questions Over the Telephone
* Free and Discount Treatment for Companion Animals and Assistance Dogs
* Discounts for Seniors
Call to see what services your local Veterinary Teaching Hospital may offer.
19) 372 Sources To Pay Emergency Expenses
Bravekids.org has put together a resource directory that lists over 372 sources for financial and other types of assistance for those with disabled children or adults or low-income families in need of help. It could be anything from paying your utility bill to respite care or medical expenses. Check out http://www.bravekids.org/
20) Money To Put In Your Savings Account
Triple your savings by taking advantage of Individual Development Accounts.These accounts are currently available in 350 communities with more in development. Designed to help low-income people save for a down payment,college, or a small business, funds matched with one dollar from the government and one dollar from private funds. A short course on money management is usually required. To learn more about the program or to see what may be available in your community, contact Corporation for Enterprise Development, 777 N. Capitol St., NE, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20002; 202-408-9788; http://cfed.org/programs/idas/ Here is a listing of IDAs by state http://cfed.org/programs/idas/
21) $500 for Food
The Food Stamp Program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, was designed to help low-income families buy the food they need to stay healthy and productive. The amount of Food Stamps you get each month is determined by the number of people in your family and by the household income. Look in the blue pages of your telephone book under Food Stamps, Social Services, or Public Assistance. Eligibility is 130% of the Federal Poverty Guideline (Family of 4 is $28,668). You can also find more information by contacting U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Ctr., Dr., Park Office Center Bldg., Alexandria, VA 22302; 703-305-2276; http://www.fns.usda.gov/fns/. State Information and Hotline numbers can be found at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/contact_info/hotlines.htm To find local offices go to http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/outreach/map.htm
22) Free Food for Kids in the Summer
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) was created to ensure that children in lower-income areas can continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations, when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast. Schools, public agencies, and private nonprofit organizations may sponsor the program. Sponsors provide free meals to a group of children at a central site, such as a school or a community center. Contact USDA Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 914, Alexandria, Virginia 22302.; 703-305-2286; http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Summer/.
23) Free Emergency Food
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a Federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income needy people, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost. States provide the food to local agencies that they have selected, usually food banks, which in turn, distribute the food to soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public. Contact Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, Food Distribution Division, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302; 703-305-2888; Fax: 703-305-2420; http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/tefap/ To learn how to apply and eligibility go to http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/tefap/tefap_eligibility.htm
24) Free Extra Food
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) works to improve the health of low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, other new mothers up to one year postpartum, infants, children up to age six, and elderly people at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA commodity foods. Food packages include a variety of foods, such as infant formula and cereal, non-fat dry and evaporated milk, juice, farina, oats, ready-to-eat cereal, rice, pasta, egg mix, peanut butter, dry beans or peas, canned meat or poultry or tuna, cheese, and canned fruits and vegetables. Eligibility varies by whether children are in the home and for the elderly. To check eligibility and availability contact Food and Nutrition Service - USDA, Food Distribution Division, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 504, Alexandria, VA 22302; 703-305-2888; Fax: 703-305-2420; http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/csfp/
25) Free Food for Native Americans
The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) is a program that provides commodity foods to low-income households, including the elderly, living on Indian reservations, and to Native American families residing in designated areas near reservations. Participants on many reservations can choose fresh produce instead of canned fruits and vegetables. Eligibility for a family of 4 is $23,892. Contact the office in your area for more information. Contact Food and Nutrition Service - USDA, Food Distribution Division, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302; 703-305-2888; Fax: 703-305-2420; http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/fdpir/default.htm
26) Rich Kids Pay 16 Cents for Pint of Milk
The Special Milk Program (SMP) provides milk to children in schools and childcare institutions that do not participate in other Federal child nutrition meal service programs. The program reimburses schools for the milk they serve. Schools in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs may also participate in the Special Milk Program to provide milk to children in half-day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs where children do not have access to the school meal programs. Contact your local school or the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 914, Alexandria, VA 22302; 703-305-2286; http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Milk/
27) $700 Food Money for Women & Children
The Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program's mission is to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care. A family of four can make up to $40,793 and still qualify! WIC foods include iron-fortified infant formula and infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit and/or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried beans or peas, tuna fish and carrots. In addition to the regular WIC program, a majority of the states have chosen to operate the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), established in 1992, it provides additional coupons to WIC participants that they can use to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets. Contact Supplemental Food Programs Division, Food and Nutrition Service - USDA, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302; 703-305-2746; Fax: 703-305-2196; http://www.fns.usda.gov/fns/ Toll-free numbers can be found at http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/Contacts/tollfreenumbers.htm
28) Free Lunches For Students
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program administered by the USDA, operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. Eligibility for a family of 4 is $40,793. The program was established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946. Contact USDA Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 914, Alexandria, VA 22302; 703-305-2286; http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Lunch/
29) Free Meals At Day Care
Not only does the government offer free lunches for school children, but your younger children can also receive free meals at day care centers, family day care homes, and more. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides nutritious meals to 2.6 million children and 74,000 adults who receive day care outside of their home. CACFP reaches even further to provide meals to children residing in homeless shelters, and snacks and suppers to youths participating in eligible after school care programs. CACFP reimburses participating centers and day care homes for their meal costs. It is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The State education or health department administers CACFP, in most States. Programs include:
* Child Care Centers
* Adult Day Care Centers
* Family Day Care Homes
* Homeless Shelters
* After School Care Programs
Contact FNS Public Information, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 926, Alexandria, VA 22302; 703-305-2281; http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/care/cacfp/cacfphome.htm
30) Free Child Care For Teens With Disabilities
48 states provide a subsidy to parents who qualify for childcare for children ages 14 to 19 who are physically and/or mentally incapable of self-care. Each state sets their eligibility requirement and the amount of funds they have available for this type of care. To learn what your state has to offer, contact your state Child Care and Development Block Grant lead agency. Check out http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ccb/ccdf/index.htm Here is a listing of state contacts http://nccic.acf.hhs.gov/statedata/dirs/display.cfm?title=ccdf
31) Free Pre-School for Your Child
Head Start is preschool that has a great student teacher ratio and all teachers are certified in early childhood development. It prepares the children with school readiness, and research shows that these children enter kindergarten with the skills necessary to succeed. There are income requirements for acceptance into the program, but the program does allow 10% of the students to have higher incomes. And 10% of the program needs to be offered to kids who have a disability. To learn more about Head Start programs near you, contact your local board of education, the state Department of Social Services, or Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start, 8th Floor Portals Building, Washington, DC 20024; 866-763-6481; 202-737-1030; cts http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc
32) $15,000 to Pay for Child Care
The Child Care and Development Block Grant gives money to states to help families meet their child care needs. Parents may choose from a variety of child care providers, including center-based, family child care and in-home care, care provided by relatives, and even sectarian child care providers. You can even get money to start a day care center! Income qualifications vary from state to state, and each state operates their programs slightly differently. To find out how to take advantage of this program in your state and to learn the eligibility requirements, contact National Child Care Information Center, 9300 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031-6050; 800-616-2242; http://nccic.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm
Help With Housing Expenses
33) Help From Your State Housing Agency
Many states offer first time home buyer assistance programs, home repair programs, and even sometimes offer credit counseling and home buyer education. You can often get help with down payment and closing costs. Remember and this is very important: You are considered a first time home buyer if you have not owned a home in three years. To begin your search you can see what your state has to offer, usually through your state Housing Finance Agency or State Department of Housing and Economic Development which you can find at http://www.govengine.com/ or by looking at the National Council of State Housing Agencies listing at http://www.ncsha.org/housing-help You can also find a listing here http://www.hud.gov/buying/localbuying.cfm
34) Let HUD Help You
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has several resources to help you buy a home. They have developed a website that takes you step by step through the home buyer process. Check it out at http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/topics/buying_a_home The federal government supports over 1,000 local non-profit organizations that will help homeowners, real estate investors or even renters with any kind of programs they may have with buying real estate or even holding on to it. Some offer home buying classes and even financial assistance if you attend! To find offices near you, contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Housing Counseling Center Locator, 800-569-4287 or http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm
35) Other Federal Housing Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has several programs for those who live in rural areas. Some of the programs have income eligibility requirements. To learn more go to Rural Housing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 5037, South Building, 14th St., and Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250; 202-720-4323; http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rhs/common/indiv_intro.htm You can locate your state and local office by calling 800-670-6553 or going online at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides loan guarantees and more to help veterans purchase a home. To see if you qualify and to learn more about their programs contact U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC 20420; 202-273-7355; 800-827-1000; http://www.homeloans.va.gov/ or http://www.homeloans.va.gov/contact.htm
36) Contact Your Local Community Action Agency
These are local experts that can help you identify not only help with your home but other programs that might help with paying your daily expenses. The best way to get help is to make an appointment for an interview
http://www.communityactionpartnership.com/index.php?option=
com_spreadsheets&view=search&spreadsheet=cap&Itemid=188
37) Contact the National Hotline for Saving Your Home
If you are struggling to stay in your home HOPE is available to you. The Homeownership Preservation Foundation has people available 24/7 to help with troubled mortgages and they might be able to help. It is worth the effort. Call or visit http://www.995hope.org/ or 1-888-995-HOPE
38) Make Money Going to Housing Classes
A HUD-approved housing counseling agency in Philadelphia offers $1,000 in settlement costs to certain people who attend pre-purchase house counseling sessions. A counseling agency in Boston offers new home buyers access to special low down-payment mortgages if they attend pre-housing classes. There are over 350 HUD-approved counseling agencies that offer free classes and help in housing related issues including:
The Best Way To Buy And
Finance A Home
Is A Reverse Mortgage For You?
Foreclosure and Eviction Options
The Best Way To Finance A Home Fix-Up
These non-profit agencies are trained and approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To find your closest agency, contact your State housing office or�the Housing Counseling Center locator at 1-800-569-4287; http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm
39) $2,000 A Month To Pay Your Mortgage While You Are Looking For Work
There are now programs that will make your mortgage payments for you when you get into financial trouble. One of the best ways to find out if there are programs like this in your area is to contact the local HUD approved Housing Counseling agencies. To find your closest agency, contact your state housing office, or the Housing Counseling Center locator at 800-569-4287; http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm
40) $6,500 to Pay Your Insulation Bills
Storm windows, insulation and even weather-stripping can help reduce your heating and cooling bills. The U.S. Department of Energy offers the Weatherization Assistance Program. Many people are eligible for this program; from renters to homeowners, from those who live in single-family or multi-family housing to those who live in mobile homes. Preference is given to the elderly and those families with children. You must apply through your state weatherization agency. States allocate dollars to non-profit agencies for purchasing and installing energy-related repairs. For information on eligibility and where to apply in your state, contact Department of Weatherization, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Mail Stop EE-1, Department of Energy, Washington, DC 20585; 202- 586-9220; 877-337-3463; http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/weatherization/ Your local Community Action Agency should also be able to direct you to a resource near you. Check them out at http://www.communityactionpartnership.com/index.php? option=com_spreadsheets&view=search&spreadsheet=cap&Itemid=188
41) $$ to Pay Your Heating Bill
Even if you are not approved by the U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program, you might still be eligible for short-term assistance on your utility bill for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, LIHEAP serves low-income families by offering heating and cooling subsides, energy crisis intervention to assist in weather-related and fuel supply shortages and household energy-related emergencies, such as utility shut-offs. The amount of money and eligibility for this program varies from state to state, so you need to contact your state LIHEAP coordinator to learn how to apply. To locate the office in your state, contact U.S. Administration for Children and Families, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW, Washington, DC 20447; 866-674-6327; http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/
42) Local Grants & Discounts to Pay Utility Bills
A large collection of programs exist around the country offering money or discounts to help people pay their utility bills. Although most of the grant programs have income limits, there are discount programs that have no income limits. To find programs you may qualify for in your area, you must search: 1) your city or township government, 2) your county government, 3) your state government, 4) local non-profit agencies and local development corporations, as well as 5) your utility company. Make sure you check with all of the following offices for help in locating appropriate organizations in your area: 1) your local library, 2) your local elected officials, 3) your local United Way, and 4) all housing agencies in your area. Local government offices can be identified at http://www.govengine.com/ and your local United Way can be identified at http://www.liveunited.org/myuw/?. For seniors you can also contact your local area office on aging by calling 1-800-677-1116 or go to http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Home.aspx
You should also seek out your local community action agency near you to see if they have a program to help. You can find your local agency at http://www.communityactionpartnership.com/index.php?option=
com_spreadsheets&view=search&spreadsheet=cap&Itemid=188 or by contacting Community Action Partnership in Washington, DC at 202-265-7546 Many Local Utility Programs can be identified on the web by going to http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/states then choosing your state under the title "Information by State." Most state pages have a link called "Renting Help Page." Click there even if you are a homeowner. Most Rental Help pages have a link called "Help With Your Utility Bills", which describes programs for both renters and homeowners.
43) Utility Discounts for Medical Devices or In-Home Patients

There is a large collection of hundreds of programs around the country offering money or discounts to help people pay their utility bills. Although most of the grant programs have income limits, there are discount programs that have no income limits. To find programs you may qualify for in your area, you must search:
1) your city or township government,
2) your county government,
3) your state government,
4) local non-profit agencies and local development corporations, as well as
5) your utility company. Make sure you check with all of the following offices for help in locating appropriate organizations in your area:
1) your local library,
2) your local elected officials,
3) your local United Way, and
4) all housing agencies in your area.
Local government offices can be identified at http://www.govengine.com/ and your local United Way can be identified at http://www.liveunited.org/myuw/?. For seniors you can also contact your local area office on aging by calling 1-800-677-1116 or go to http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Home.aspx
You should also seek out your local community action agency near you to see if they have a program to help you. You can find your local agency at http://www.communityactionpartnership.com/index.php?option=
com_spreadsheets&view=search&spreadsheet=cap&Itemid=188
or by contacting Community Action Partnership in Washington, DC at 202-265-7546 A lot of Local Utility Programs can be identified on the web by going to http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/ then choose your state under the title "Information by State." Most state pages have a link called "Renting Help Page." Click there even if you are a homeowner. Most Rental Help pages have a link called "Help With Your Utility Bills", which describes programs for both renters and homeowners.

44) $5,000 Emergency Grant to Fix-Up Your Home to Make It More Energy Efficient
Cities, counties, townships, and even local non-profit organizations around the country offer grants to people who need emergency work done on their home or apartment. The income requirements can go up to $42,000 for a couple. To find programs you may qualify for in your area, you must search: 1) your city or township government, 2) your county government, 3) your state government, 4) local non-profit agencies and local development corporations, as well as 5) your utility company. Make sure you check with all of the following offices for help in locating appropriate organizations in your area: 1) your local library, 2) your local elected officials, 3) your local United Way, and 4) all housing agencies in your area. Local government offices can be identified at http://www.govengine.com/ and your local United Way can be identified at http://www.liveunited.org/myuw/?
45) $750 Emergency Rent Money

Maybe you were just laid off and haven't found a new job yet. Or that unexpected auto repair bill had to be paid or you won't be able to get to work. Or you have an unexpected health bill that had to be taken care of. There are many programs on the local level that offer emergency rent money when you are facing difficult times. To find programs you may qualify for in your area, you must search: 1) your city or township government, 2) your county government, 3) your state government, 4) local non-profit agencies and local development corporations, as well as 5) your utility company. Make sure you check with all of the following offices for help in locating appropriate organizations in your area: 1) your local library, 2) your local elected officials, 3) your local United Way, and 4) all housing agencies in your area. Local government offices can be identified at http://www.govengine.com/ and your local United Way can be identified at http://www.liveunited.org/myuw/? For seniors you can also contact your local area office on aging by calling 1-800-677-1116 or go to http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Home.aspx
You should also seek out your local community action agency near you to see if they have a program to help. You can find your local agency at http://www.communityactionpartnership.com/index.php?option=

com_spreadsheets&view=search&spreadsheet=cap&Itemid=188 or by contacting Community Action Partnership in Washington, DC at 202-265-7546
A lot of Local Utility Programs can be identified on the web by going to http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/ then choose your state under the title "Information by State." Most state pages have a link called "Renting Help Page." Click there even if you are a homeowner. Most Rental Help pages have a link called "Help With Your Utility Bills", which describes programs for both renters and homeowners.

46) Low- and 0% Interest Loans to Buy Energy Saving Appliance and Fix-Up Your House
No matter what your income and as long as your improvements will create a more energy efficient home, you can save a lot on interest rates and finance charges by using a subsidized energy conservation loan program. These programs are typically available from your state department of energy, a local government office or your utility company. State and local government offices can be found by contacting your state or city operators or http://www.govengine.com/. Your local phone directory and library can help you locate your local utility companies.�Database of State Incentives of Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Check out the Database of State Incentives of Renewables and Efficiency at http://www.dsireusa.org/
47) $750 Rebate for Any Income Level for Energy Saving Appliances
A rebate is another form of free money and it's available for consumers with any income level as long as you buy the product. Utility companies around the country offer such rebates to encourage energy efficient products that will save you on your heating bill and save them from having to generate more services. Your local phone directory and library can help you locate your local utility companies. Be sure to check them all. Database of State Incentives of Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Check out the Database of State Incentives of Renewables and Efficiency at http://www.dsireusa.org/
48) $8,000 to Improve Your Home So It Cuts Your Utility Bills
This program is called the Energy Efficient Mortgages Program and can be used to make energy-efficient improvements in one to four new and existing homes. The improvements can be included in a borrower's mortgage only if their total cost is less than the total dollar value of the energy that will be saved during their useful life. The cost of the improvements that may be eligible for financing as part of the mortgage is either 5 percent of the property's value (not to exceed $8,000) or $4,000, whichever is greater. The maximum mortgage limit for a single-family home is $160,950, plus the cost of the eligible energy-efficient improvements. (Limits may be lower in some areas of the country.) Contact: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street S.W., Washington, DC 20410; (202) 708-1112; http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/eem/energy-r.cfm
49) Handyman Services for Free or Low-Cost

Getting little repairs done around the home is not only difficult for low-income seniors; it can be a problem for all seniors. Many communities now have programs run by volunteers or with public or private grant money that provides small repairs for seniors under certain incomes. Other areas offer handyman services at reduced costs from safe providers. To find programs you may qualify for in your area, you must search: 1) your city or township government, 2) your county government, 3) your state government, 4) local non-profit agencies and local development corporations, as well as 5) your utility company. Make sure you check with all of the following offices for help in locating appropriate organizations in your area: 1) your local library, 2) your local elected officials, 3) your local United Way, and 4) all housing agencies in your area. Local government offices can be identified at http://www.govengine.com/ and your local United Way can be identified at http://www.liveunited.org/myuw/? For seniors, you can also contact your local area office on aging by calling 1-800-677-1116 or go to http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Home.aspx You should also seek out your local community action agency near you to see if they have a program to help you. You can find your local agency at http://www.communityactionpartnership.com/index.php?option=

com_spreadsheets&view=search&spreadsheet=cap&Itemid=188 or by contacting Community Action Partnership in Washington, DC at 202-265-7546. A lot of Local Utility Programs can be identified on the web by going to http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/ then choose your state under the title "Information by State." Most state pages have a link called "Renting Help Page." Click there even if you are a homeowner. Most Rental Help pages have a link called "Help With Your Utility Bills", which describes programs for both renters and homeowners.

Taxes: Money From The IRS
50) $6,000 To Pay For Child Care
IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, outlines the rules covering this benefit and describes how to figure the benefit if your employer covers some of the cost. You may claim up to $3,000 for the care of one child (or $6,000 for two or more). For more information, contact the IRS Information Line at 800-829-1040; or http://www.irs.gov/. In addition, 25 states and the District of Columbia offer some type of child care income tax benefit either in the form of credits or deductions. Contact your state Tax Revenue office to see what your state offers. For a fact sheet go to http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc602.html
51) $5,657 For You and Your Family
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), also known as the Earned Income Credit (EIC) is a Federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. The EITC reduces the amount of taxes owed. If the credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it is possible to get a refund check. The amount of the EITC depends on the size and income of the family. You can earn up to $48,279 and still qualify. You need publication 596 by calling 800-829-3676; or online at http://www.irs.gov/. For more information go to http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96406,00.html
52) Get $1,000 For Each Child
The child tax credit is a credit on your taxes up to $1,000 for each of your children. To be able to take this credit you must meet certain requirements. The credit is limited to people with an income below a certain modified adjusted gross income level. The instructions and worksheet needed to figure this credit are included in the 1040 or 1040A tax return packets. If you are claiming an adoption credit, mortgage interest credit, or District of Columbia first time homebuyers credit, you must use Publication 972 from the IRS to figure your child tax credit. You can download that publication and Form 8812, referred to above, from the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/. To receive them by Fax-On-Demand, call 703-368-9694 or call 800-TAX-FORM (829-3676) to have them sent by mail or go to http://www.irs.gov/.
53) Free Legal Help With Tax Problems
Families can have incomes up to $55,125, or more even, and get free lawyers to solve their tax problem. There are over 115 Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC) that will help you with legal problems for free. You should check the availability of services in your area no matter what your income is. To find a clinic near you, contact your local public library or your Congressman's office at www.congress.org. You can also try the IRS hotline at 1-800-TAX-1040; or see http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/2009_litc_grants.pdf. Information is also available at http://www.irs.gov/advocate/article/0,,id=106991,00.html
54) Free Tax Help For Seniors
With a grant from the IRS, the AARP organizes over 8,000 "Tax Counseling For The Elderly" sites around the country that specialize in providing free tax help for people 60 and over. They may also provide free help for others, so it can't hurt to ask. To find a site near you, call the TCE hotline at 1-800-829-1040 or the AARP Tax Aide hotline at 1-888-227-7669 or visit http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/pub._4134-04.pdf or http://www.aarp.org/money/taxaide/. You can also contact your local public library or your Congressman's office at www.congress.org.
55) Government Will Fight The IRS For You
If you have attempted to deal with an IRS problem unsuccessfully, you should contact your Taxpayer Advocate. They will represent your interests and concerns within the IRS by protecting your rights and resolving problems that have not been fixed through normal channels. They can clear-up problems that resulted from previous contacts and ensure that your case is given a complete and impartial review. Call 1-877-777-4778 or http://www.irs.gov/advocate/.
56) $2,310 Check from Your State for Child Care
Twenty-seven states offer Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit on your state tax returns. About 14 of these states do not require you to pay any taxes in order to get a check. Contact one of the free tax services described above or your state tax office located in your state capital. You can call 411 and ask for this number or go to http://www.govengine.com/ and click on your state. You can also contact your local public library or your Congressman's office at http://www.congress.org/. Also see: http://www.nccp.org/profiles/extended_43.html or http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/NWLCTaxCreditsOutreachCampaignToolkit2005.pdf
57) $1,800 Check for Going to College
You can make up to $100,000 and the government will send you a check under the federal Hope Scholarship Tax Credit if you are at least going to college part-time. It's only for the first two years of college and you have to be paying taxes to get the money. Use the free tax sources above, call 1-800-TAX-1040 or go to: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/index.html
58) $2,000 Check for Taking a Course or Class
Almost any kind of course that will improve your job skills are eligible under the federal Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. You can make up to $100,000 and still get this credit, but you have to be paying taxes to get the money. Use the free tax sources above, or call 1-800-TAX-1040 or go to http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/index.html
59) $5,000 Check to Pay for Health Insurance
The federal Health Coverage Tax Credit is a bit more complicated, but it will pay 80% of health care insurance for people who lost their job because of imports or are receiving certain retirement benefits. Use the free tax sources above, or call 1-800-TAX-1040 or go to http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=109960,00.html
60) Up to $5,000 Check for Seniors or Disabled
The Tax Credit for Elderly and Disabled is for citizens who are older than 65 or disabled. Your eligibility is based upon your income. Use the free tax sources above, or call 1-800-TAX-1040 or go to http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p524.pdf
61) $13,170 Check for Adoptions
As an adoptive parent you may be able to receive a tax credit up to $13,170. The   income limits on this go up to $192,390. Use the free tax sources above, or call 1-  800-TAX-1040 or go to http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.html
Special Help For Seniors
62) Eldercare Locator

The U.S. Administration on Aging offers this free service to older adult Americans and their caregivers to help them connect with available services. Eldercare Locator links older adults who need assistance with state and local area agencies on aging and community-based organizations. If you need help with any health related problem go to the web site and follow the directions or call a specialist. The web site is available in many different languages. Contact: 800- 677-1116, http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Home.aspx.

63) Helpful Health Hotlines

The National Health Information Center and the National Library of Medicine both offer an online database of health-related organizations operating toll-free telephone services. The databases also include information on services and publications available in Spanish. You can find out whom to call for almost any health issue. Contact: Health Information Resources Database, Referral Specialist, P.O. Box 1133, Washington, DC 20013-1133; 800-336-4797, 301-565-4167; http://www.health.gov/NHIC/Pubs/2010tollfreenumbers/tollfreenumbers1.htm or http://healthhotlines.nlm.nih.gov/.

64) National Institute on Aging

The National Institute on Aging is the government's leading effort on aging research. In addition to research information and professional training, NIA disseminates health information to the general public. Contact: National Institute on Aging, Building 31, Room 5C27, 31 Center Drive, MSC 2292, Bethesda, MD 20892; 301-496-1752, 800-222-4225, Fax: 301-496-1072; http://www.nia.nih.gov/.

65) SeniorHealth.gov

The National Institute of Health offers an on-line information web site for older adults. Their goal is to make age-related health information easily accessible to seniors, family members and friends. The web site is senior friendly including large print, short, easy to read segments and simple navigation. There is even a "talking" feature which reads the text. Information is updated regularly. Contact: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/.

66) Seniors.gov

has information on a variety of topics including diet, exercise, and consumer protection. It has links to all federal government web sites with information for seniors. Check them out at http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Seniors.shtml

67) Caregiver Support

Funded through money from the Older Americans Act, the National Family Caregiver Support Program provides services to help meet the needs of caregivers including: information about available services, assistance in gaining access to support services, individual counseling and caregiver training, respite care, and possibly supplemental services. Contact your State Unit on Aging at http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/AoA_Programs/OAA/How_To_Find/Agencies/find_agencies.aspx or contact Administration on Aging, Washington, DC 20201; 202-619-0724; http://www.aoa.gov/.

68) Get An Extra $12,000 If You Cannot Work

If you don't qualify for Social Security, or if your benefits are very low, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program was established to help poor seniors over 65 and the blind and disabled meet basic living expenses. To find out more about the program contact your local Social Security office or contact the Social Security hotline at 800-772-1213 or online at http://www.ssa.gov/; http://www.ssa.gov/pgm/links_ssi.htm.

69) Cash for Helping Fellow Seniors

Senior Companions reach out to adults, who need extra assistance to live independently in their own homes or communities. Senior Companions assist their adult clients with in basic but essential ways: they provide companionship and friendship to isolated frail seniors, assist with simple chores, provide transportation, and add richness to their clients lives. Senior Companions serve frail older adults and their caregivers, adults with disabilities, and those with terminal illnesses. If you meet certain income guidelines and are 60 or older, you may be eligible for this program. You will receive a modest tax free stipend to offset the cost of volunteering, and are reimbursed for transportation, some meals, an annual physical and accident and liability insurance. Contact National Senior Service Corps, 1201 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20525; 800-424-8867; 202-606-5000; http://www.seniorcorps.gov/.

70) $3,000 While Helping Others

Foster Grandparents devote their volunteer service to one population: children with special or exceptional needs. Across the country, Foster Grandparents are offering emotional support to child victims of abuse and neglect, tutoring children who lag behind in reading, mentoring troubled teenagers and young mothers, and caring for premature infants and children with physical disabilities and severe illnesses. If you meet certain income guidelines and are 60 or older, you may be eligible for this program. You will receive a modest tax free stipend to offset the cost of volunteering, and are reimbursed for transportation, some meals, an annual physical and accident and liability insurance. Contact National Senior Service Corps, 1201 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20525; 800-424-8867; 202-606-5000; http://www.seniorcorps.gov/.

71) Ca$h for Sharing What You Know

Retired Senior Volunteer Program matches the personal interests and skills of older Americans with opportunities to help solve community problems. RSVP volunteers choose how and where they want to serve - from a few to over 40 hours a week. RSVP makes it easy for older adults to find the types of volunteer service opportunities that appeal to them. RSVP volunteers tutor children in reading and math, help to build houses, help get children immunized, model parenting skills to teen parents, participate in neighborhood watch programs, plan community gardens, deliver meals, offer disaster relief to victims of natural disasters, and help community organizations operate more efficiently. Volunteers receive supplemental insurance while on duty, and receive on-the-job training. Contact National Senior Service Corps, 1201 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20525; 202-606-5000; 800-424-8867; http://www.seniorcorps.gov/.

72) Free Books on Tape

The National Library Service (NLS) maintains a large collection of books, magazines, journals, and music materials in Braille, large type, and recorded formats for individuals who cannot read or use standard printed materials because of temporary or permanent visual loss or physical limitations. Reading materials and necessary playback equipment for books on record and cassette are distributed through a national network of cooperating libraries. Books in the collection are selected on the basis of their appeal to a wide range of interests. Bestsellers, biographies, fiction, and how-to books are in great demand. Contact your local library to find out what they have available to you, or you may contact handicapped Readers Reference Section, National Library Service for the Blind and physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20542; 202-707-5100; 800-424-8567; http://www.loc.gov/nls/.

73) Free Hunting and Fishing Licenses For Seniors

Practically every state has a special license rate for seniors. States such as Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, and others do not require that people age 65 and over to carry a fishing and hunting license. Other states   offer seniors, on average, half off the cost of licenses. Inquire where you usually purchase these licenses to learn what age you need to be to receive the discount and the specific details.

74) Get Free Taxi Rides for Grandma to go to the Doctor
The Eldercare Locator provides access to an extensive network of organizations serving older people at state and local community levels. This service can connect you to information sources for a variety of services including transportation. For more information, contact Eldercare Locator, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, 1112 16th St., NW, Washington, DC 20024; 800-677-1116 between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST; http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Home.aspx
75) Free Tax Help For Seniors

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly program was designed to provide free taxpayer assistance to those ages 60 and above. The staff usually consists of retired individuals associated with nonprofit organizations that receive grants from the IRS to perform this service. Often they provide counseling in retirement homes, neighborhood sites or private houses of the homebound. To find a site near you, call the TCE hotline at 1-800-829-1040 or the AARP Tax Aide hotline at 1-888-227-7669 or visit http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/pub._4134-04.pdf or http://www.aarp.org/money/taxaide/. You can also contact your local public library or your Congressman's office at www.congress.org.

76) Free Take Out Meals for Seniors

People 60 and over who are homebound because of illness, incapacity, or disability or who are otherwise isolated can receive hot meals delivered to their home. The program is funded in every state by the Older Americans Act. Contact your local area agency on aging or your state Department on Aging to learn who you need to contact in your area. You can also contact the Eldercare Locator hotline at 800-677-1116 for more assistance.

77) Free Food for Seniors

The Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP) is the new name for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) cash or commodity program, known as the Nutrition Program for the Elderly (NPE). While there is no means test for participation in this program, services are targeted to older people with the greatest economic or social need, with special attention given to low-income minorities. Since American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians tend to have lower life expectancies and higher rates of illness at younger ages, Tribal Organizations are given the option of setting the age at which older people can participate in the program. Contact your state or local Administration on Aging, National Administration on Aging, Administration on Aging, 330 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201; 202-619-0724;
http://www.aoa.gov/ Or Eldercare Locator; 800-677-1116; http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Home.aspx  or USDA Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302; 703-305-2060; http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/nsip/

78) Get $372 To Buy Fresh Fruit
Seniors making up to $26,955/year (as a couple) can get as much as $372 to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from road side stands. Through the little-known Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, seniors in 40 states can have the government help buy their produce. Find out how much your state can give you to buy food. Contact the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 926, Alexandria, VA 22302; http://www.fns.usda.gov/fns/
79) Extra $1,156 For Seniors and Disabled

Each year over 3 million eligible seniors and people with disabilities fail to apply for a little-known program that will give them over $1,156 extra in their Social Security check. That's how much the government deducts for Medicare Part B payments. The program is called Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries Plan, or Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries Plan. To learn more contact your local Social Security Office at 800-772-1213. You can also contact the Medicare Hotline and request the publication Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare .Contact Medicare Hotline at 800-MEDICARE or online at http://www.medicare.gov/; http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/10126.pdf.

80) Social Security Manager

If you are having trouble managing your Social Security benefits and need help, you can get a representative payee to help. The Social Security Administration can appoint a friend, relative or other third party to serve as your Representative Payee. Your benefits would be paid directly to the payee and they would help you pay the bills and manage your money. Any money left over after your needs are met would be saved for you by the payee. The payee is appointed to only oversee Social Security funds. Many people use power of attorney to handle financial needs. Social Security does not recognize power of attorney to handle Social Security funds. Contact: Social Security Administration, Office of Public Inquiry, Windsor Park Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235; 800-772-1213; http://www.ssa.gov/payee/

Better Legal Help Than Lawyers
81) Free Legal Help To Fight The IRS
The Taxpayer Advocate administers the Problem Resolution Program (PRP) that has the authority to cut through red tape. They will keep you informed of your case's progress. PRP can usually help with delayed refunds, unanswered inquiries, and incorrect billing notices. For more information request Publication 1546, The Taxpayer Advocate Service of the IRS. To get in contact with the program, call the IRS at 800-829-1040; http://www.irs.gov/; http://www.irs.gov/advocate/.
82) Free Legal Help To Fight Your Credit Card Company
If you are having trouble with your credit card company, remember that they are regulated by a banking institution. Also remember that many credit card companies will settle for payment of a lesser amount if you can negotiate with them. Different banks are governed by different agencies, but all take complaints and make efforts to assist customers. Your state Banking Commissioner handles complaints dealing with state chartered banks. For banks with the word national or N.A. in its name contact Comptroller of the Currency, Compliance Management, U.S. Department of the Treasury, 250 E St., SW, Washington, DC 20219; 202-874-4900; 800-613-6743; http://www.occ.treas.gov/. For Savings and Loans contact Office of Thrift Supervision, U.S. Department of the Treasury, 1700 G St., NW, Washington, DC 20552; 202-906-6000; 800-842-6929; http://www.ots.treas.gov/. For FDIC Insured contact Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Consumer Affairs, 550 17th St., NW, Room F-130, Washington, DC 20429; 877-ASK-FDIC; http://www.fdic.gov/.
83) Help to Fight Your Bank
Finding the right bank, savings and loan, or credit union means figuring out your own needs first. How much money can you keep on deposit and how many checks will you write? Examine your future loans and savings needs, as well as look at the convenience of the financial institution, its service charges, fees, and deposit and loan interest rates. You can contact one of the following offices to learn more. These offices will also help you if you think the bank is messing with your money.
National Banks (banks that have the word "National" in their names or the initials "N.A." after their names)
Comptroller of the Currency
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Customer Assistance group
1301 McKinner St.
Suite 3450
Houston, TX 77010
202-874-4700
800-613-6743
Email: customer.assistance@occ.treas.gov
http://www.occ.treas.gov/customer.htm

FDIC-Insured Banks
Office of Consumer Affairs
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
550 17th St., NW
Washington, DC 20429-9990
202-942-3147
877-275-3342
http://www.fdic.gov/

Savings and Loans
Office of Thrift Suspension
U.S. Department of treasury
1700 G St., NW
Washington, DC 20552
202-906-6237
800-842-6929
http://www.ots.treas.gov/

State Banks Contact your State Government Banking Commission located in your state capital (look in the blue pages of your phone book or contact your state capital operator).
84) Help Fighting Age Discrimination
There's no need to take harassment or bullying on the job. Here is your chance to fight back. If you believe you have been discriminated against by an employer, labor union, or employment agency when applying for a job or while on the job because of age, disability, race, color, sex, religion, or national origin, you may file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). For more information, contact: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1801 L St., NW, Washington, DC 20507; 202-663-4900; 800-669-4000; http://www.eeoc.gov/.
85) Fight Lawyers, Accountants, Pharmacists, Doctors, Real Estate Agents and Other Professionals
Lawyer over-charging you? Do you feel you have been mistreated by your doctor? These issues and more are handled by the agency or board that licenses that particular profession. Whether it is your accountant, real estate agent, doctor, dentist, or other professional, you can contact the licensing board directly to file a grievance. These boards will then help you to resolve the problem. To locate the correct board, usually located in your state capital, contact your state operator or go to http://www.govengine.com/ and click on your state.
86) Free Help in Writing a Will
Estate planning is not something that people often relish doing, but it is extremely important. It is difficult enough when a loved one dies, but then to have to search through papers trying to find information about insurance or investments is often too much. When children are involved, estate planning is essential. Who will take care of them and how can you secure their financial future? Local Cooperative Extension Services often offer classes or publications on estate planning, living wills, and financial planning. The time to plan ahead is now. Look in the blue pages of your phone book for the nearest Cooperative Extension Office, as they are now in almost every county across the country or go to http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/.
87) Free Legal Help to Fight Car Dealers and Repair Shops

When you can't get satisfaction from the manager or owner, then it is time to bring in the big guns. Your state attorney general's office is set up to handle automobile complaints. Sometimes all you have to do is send a letter to the attorney general with a copy to the business owner. Automotive Consumer Action Program (AUTOCAP) is a complaint handling system sponsored by the automobile industry for new or used car purchases from NEW car dealers only. To find a source in your area contact: National Automobile Dealers Association, 8400 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102; 703-821-7000; 800-252-6232; http://www.nada.org/ Better Business Bureau (BBB) Auto Line is a FREE, out of court arbitration program paid for by the business community to handle automobile complaints between consumers and most auto manufacturers. Contact your local Better Business Bureau or BBB Auto Line, Dispute Resolution Division, Council of Better Business Bureaus Inc., 4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22202-1838; 703-276-0100; 800-955-5100; Fax: 703-525-8277;http://www.bbb.org/us/auto-line-lemon-law/.

88) Fight Retailers, Mail Order Companies, Auto Dealers, Contractors, etc.

You go to a store to get the best price on a gift for Uncle George, only to learn that the store is out of stock despite the product being advertised in the paper. Did the salesperson try to get you to buy a higher priced item? You could be a victim of the old bait and switch scam. Is the paint peeling off of the new toy doll you bought your daughter? Problems dealing with your car dealership or car repair shop? (This is the number one complaint heard). What about the contractor that has yet to finish the job? There are ways to deal with all these problems and get them resolved to your satisfaction. You just need to pull in the big guns. The States Attorney General's Offices have Consumer Protection Offices, and many also have separate offices that handle only car complaints. They will take your complaint and try to help you get the satisfaction you deserve. For other problems contact:
Defective Products - contact Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814-4408; 800-638-2772; 301-504-7923.
Contractor or Licensed Professional Problems- contact the state Licensing Board for that profession located in your state capital. You can contact the state operator for assistance in finding the office.
Mail Order Problems- Contact the U.S. Postal Service, Criminal Investigations Service center, Attn: Mail Fraud, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250, Chicago, IL 60606-6100; http://www.usps.com/
Fraud Issues- contact the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20580; 877-FTC-HELP; http://www.ftc.gov/

89) Lawyer's Referral Service
The American Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service is designed to assist you in finding the appropriate service-provider to help you solve your legal problem. There are two steps to this process: first, helping you determine whether you need to see a lawyer, and second, referring you to a lawyer who handles your type of case or to an appropriate community or governmental agency if that will be of more help to you. Lawyer referral can also provide you with information on procedures in the courts and legal system in your community. When you contact Lawyer Referral, be prepared to briefly describe your situation so that the consultant can determine what kind of help you need. Lawyer Referral does not offer legal advice or free legal services. If you are referred to an attorney, you are entitled to a half-hour initial consultation at no charge, or for a nominal fee that goes to fund the Lawyer Referral Service's operation. If additional legal services are required, you may choose to hire the lawyer. It is important to discuss legal fees and costs with the lawyer. We strongly recommend that you and the lawyer sign a written fee agreement, so that there is no question about what services the lawyer will perform, and what those services will cost you. For more information on the Lawyer's Referral Service contact your state Bar Association; The American Bar Association, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60610, 312-988-5000; or The American Bar Association, 740 15th St., NW, Washington, DC 20005-1019; 202-662-1000; Email: info@abanet.org; http://www.abanet.org/; http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
90) When All Else Fails

People forget that they can turn to their representative or senators for help resolving a complaint. You vote these people into office, and most of them want to stay there. They know that if they can help you, then you and your family will vote for them in each and every election. Their offices have case managers whose job is to cut through red-tape and push your case through quickly. Look in your phone book for their local office or you can contact: U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515; 202-224-3121; http://www.house.gov/ or U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510; 202-224-3121; http://www.senate.gov/.

91) Free Help Fighting an Electric Bill or Stopping a Turn Off
The state utility commissions can help you fight high gas or electric bills. Some will even come out and make sure that your meter is not over charging you. They don't have money to pay your bills, but they can negotiate payment arrangements with the company for you or suggest nonprofit organizations to help. For example, Maryland suggests the Fuel Fund for Central Maryland or the Maryland Energy Assistance program. The commission can also force the utility not to cut off your services because of medical emergencies or cold weather. For more information on how the state utility commission can help you, contact the State Utility Commission Office from the list at http://www.naruc.org/commissions.cfm
Paying For Your Education
Now that you are looking into furthering your education, you now need to figure out how to pay for it. Several options exist to help you on your way to improving yourself. If you go to an accredited school, federal funds can be used to pay your tuition. The financial aid office at your institution can provide you with information and help regarding applying for these funds. They will also know of other resources in your area or through your state Department of Higher Education. You can locate your state higher education office by going to http://www.sheeo.org/agencies.asp and clicking on your state.
1. Federal Funds
There are three categories of federal student aid: grants, work study, and loans. Check with your school to find out which programs your school participates in. Federal student aid covers expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid also can help pay for a computer and for dependent care. All Federal student aid programs require that you complete the FAFSA, which is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. To begin the process you can go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov If you have problems completing the form, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-4-FED-AID (800-433-3243). The form can be started on January 1 of each year. The sooner you complete the form, the better. If you need more help you can go to http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/publications/completing_fafsa/index.html which provides an instruction booklet and help for the FAFSA. Remember you should not have to pay for help to complete the form. Help is available for FREE.

Here are the different types of Federal Aid programs available:
92) Federal Pell Grant
Available almost exclusively to undergraduates; students may receive up to two consecutive maximum awards in a year if attending school year-round. ($609-$5,550)
93) Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
For undergraduates with exceptional financial need; Federal Pell Grant recipients take priority; funds depend on available at school ($100-$4,000)
94) Academic Competitiveness Grant
For Pell-eligible students enrolled at least half-time in their first or second year of study or in a certificate program of at least one year at a degree-granting school. Must have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study. (1st year-up to $750; 2nd year-up to $1,300)
95) National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Gran
For Pell-eligible students enrolled at least half-time in third or fourth year majoring in certain subject areas with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA (up to $4,000)
96) Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
For students who are taking or will be taking course work necessary to become an elementary or secondary school teacher; recipient must sign an "Agreement to Serve” promising to teach full-time in a high-need field for four complete academic years at a low-income elementary or secondary school or educational service agency. (up to $4,000 a year)

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant- for students who are not Pell-eligible; whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001;and who, at the time of the parent's or guardian's death, were less than 24 years old or were enrolled at least part-time in an institution of higher education. (Maximum same as Pell maximum)
97) Federal Work-Study
For undergraduate and graduate students; jobs can be on
campus or off campus; students are paid at least federal minimum wage.
98) Federal Perkins Loan
For undergraduate and graduate students; must be repaid to school that made the loan; interest is 5%. (undergraduate students – up to $5,500; graduate and professional students- up to $8,000)
99) Subsidized Direct/Stafford Loan
The U.S. Department of Education pays interest while the borrower is in school
and during grace and deferment periods; student must be attending at least half-time and have financial need; fixed interest rate of 5.6% for loans made to undergraduates; fixed rate of 6.8% is set for loans made to graduate students. ($3,500-$8,500 depending on grade level)
100) Unsubsidized Direct/Stafford Loan
The borrower is responsible for all interest; must be at least half-time; financial need not required; fixed interest rate of 6.8% for new borrowers. ($5,500-$20,500 depending upon grade level and dependencystatus)
101) Direct/ PLUS Loan
For parents of dependent undergraduate students and for graduate and professional students; students must be enrolled at least half time;
financial need not required.  Borrower must not have adverse credit history;
PLUS Loans are unsubsidized, the borrower is responsible for all interest; fixed
interest rate is 8.5% for FFEL PLUS Loans and 7.9% for Direct PLUS Loans.
(Maximum amount is cost of attendance minus any other financial aid student receives)

Don't forget to contact your state Department of Higher Education to see what
types of assistance your state provides. You can find your office here:
http://www.sheeo.org/agencies.asp
Scholarships
102) Scholarships Listings
Just because you are going to school online does not eliminate the possibility for a scholarship. Search engines are out there where you can find scholarships to match your major, your school, or your current life situation. Don't forget the
library when you are searching for help. They often have the latest scholarship resource guides and can help you with online searching. You DO NOT HAVE TO PAY to find scholarships. You can do some excellent searching yourself. What follows is some of the highlights.
https://studentaid2.ed.gov/getmoney/scholarship/v3browse.asp then plug in your major.
http://www.fastweb.com/ is a free search engine that asks you questions and the pulls out scholarships that relate to your situation and needs.
http://apps.collegeboard.com/cbsearch_ss/welcome.jsp complete brief questionnaire and then you will see the results
. http://www.scholarships.com/ scholarship search engine.
http://www.freschinfo.com/ free scholarship search service.
General Financial Aid Information Websites
103) Job Training Funds
Have you been laid off or forced back into the job market because of a divorce or death of a spouse?; You can qualify as a displaced worker if you have been self-employed but the economy has caused you to close your business. You may qualify for job training and other supportive services to get you the degree or certificate that you need to get a job. Contact your local One-Stop Career Center and make an appointment to talk to a job counselor. Take the time before your meeting to think about your career choices. Review your resume. The counselor can help you examine your options and look into job training funds that may help you cover the cost of training. "Supportive" services such as transportation, childcare, dependent care, housing and needs-related payments are provided under certain circumstances to allow an individual to participate in the program. Obviously this will vary from person to person, but we have known people whose last courses for their degree were paid for, or whose certificate for a type of job was covered. To locate your nearest One-Stop office go to http://servicelocator.org/ and plug in your zip code. Check out Opportunity.gov at http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/opportunity/index.html The President recently announced that unemployed workers receiving unemployment benefits may qualify for a special hand in paying for education and training. And aid can be significant: In particular, the Federal Pell Grant program can provide up to $5,350 for educational costs at community colleges, colleges and universities, and many trade and technical schools. This is only one example of several federal student aid programs available to assist unemployed workers.
Employer Tuition Assistance
104) Employer Tuition Assistance
In some cases employers will cover part or all of educational expenses. Companies vary on what they will cover, what departments are offered the benefits, and how they disburse the funds. Check your employee handbook which you were given on your first days of work. If your company offers this benefit, it is sometimes listed there. It is best though to talk to your human resources department to learn what your company's latest policy includes. If this benefit is offered, you may be limited as to where or what institutions you can take your course, the type of course covered by the benefit, as well as whether you would need to repay the company the cost of the course if you were to leave their employment within a certain amount of time. Some states offer tax credits to employers who help with training or education expenses. What follows are some that we found. Check with your state Department of Labor which you can find by clicking on your state at http://www.govengine.com or your state Department of Adult Education which can be found here http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/Programs/EROD/org_list.cfm?category_ID=DAE
Tax Benefits You Can Use For Education
105) Tax Benefits

The new Tax Benefits for Education section on IRS.gov includes tips for taking advantage of long-standing education deductions and credits. The "one-stop” location for higher education information includes a special section highlighting 529 plans and frequently asked questions. The Web section also features two key changes that will be in effect during 2009 and 2010 that were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), enacted earlier this year. You can check it out at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=213044,00.html
One change allows families saving for college to use popular 529 plans to pay for   a student's computer-related technology needs. Under the other change, more parents and students will be able to use a federal education credit to pay part of the cost of college using the new American opportunity credit.
"With many families struggling to afford college, we want every eligible taxpayer to know about their options and take advantage of all the tax breaks they can,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. "529 plans have become a very attractive way to save for college, and our Web section is designed to help people get information about these plans. In addition, the new American opportunity credit    can help many parents and students pay part of the cost of the first four years of college.”

529 Plans Expanded
Tax-free college savings plans and prepaid tuition programs can be used to buy computer equipment and services for an eligible student during 2009 and 2010. These 529 plans have grown as a way for parents and other family members to save for a child's college education. Though contributions to 529 plans are not deductible, there is also no income limit for contributors.
529 plan distributions are tax-free as long as they are used to pay qualified higher education expenses for a designated beneficiary. Qualified expenses include tuition, required fees, books, supplies, equipment and special needs services. For someone who is at least a half-time student, room and board also qualify.
For 2009 and 2010, the ARRA change adds to this list expenses for computer technology and equipment or Internet access and related services to be used by the student while enrolled at an eligible educational institution. Software designed for sports, games or hobbies does not qualify, unless it is predominantly educational in nature. In general, expenses for computer technology are not qualified expenses for the American opportunity credit, Hope credit, lifetime learning credit or tuition and fees deduction.
106) American Opportunity Credit Helps Pay for First Four Years of College
The American opportunity credit modifies the existing Hope credit for tax years 2009 and 2010, making it available to a broader range of taxpayers. Income guidelines are expanded and required course materials are added to the list of qualified expenses. Many of those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.
The American opportunity credit, in many cases, offers greater tax savings than existing education tax breaks. Here are some key features of the credit:
  • Tuition, related fees, books and other required course materials generally qualify. In the past, books usually were not eligible for education-related credits and deductions.
  • The credit is equal to 100 percent of the first $2,000 spent and 25 percent of the next $2,000. That means the full $2,500 credit may be available to a taxpayer who pays $4,000 or more in qualified expenses for an eligible student.
  • The full credit is available for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is $80,000 or less (for married couples filing a joint return, the limit is $160,000 or less). The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. These income limits are higher than under the existing Hope and lifetime learning credits.
  • Forty percent of the American opportunity credit is refundable. This means that even people who owe no tax can get an annual payment of the credit of up to $1,000 for each eligible student. Existing education-related credits and deductions do not provide a benefit to people who owe no tax. The refundable portion of the credit is not available to any student whose investment income is taxed at the parent's rate, commonly referred to as the kiddie tax. See Publication 929, Tax Rules for Children and Dependents, for details.

Eligible parents and students can get the benefit of this credit during the year by having less tax taken out of their paychecks. They can do this by filling out a new Form W-4, claiming additional withholding allowances, and giving it to their employer. For details, use the withholding calculator on IRS.gov or see Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding?
Though most taxpayers who pay for post-secondary education will qualify for the American opportunity credit, some will not. The limitations include a married person filing a separate return, regardless of income, joint filers whose MAGI is $180,000 or more and, finally, single taxpayers, heads of household and some widows and widowers whose MAGI is $90,000 or more.
There are some post-secondary education expenses that do not qualify for the American opportunity credit. They include expenses paid for a student who, as of the beginning of the tax year, has already completed the first four years of college. That's because the credit is only allowed for the first four years of post-secondary education.
Graduate students still qualify for the lifetime learning credit and the tuition and fees deduction. For details on these and other education-related tax benefits, see Pub. 970.
There is a variety of tax credits, deductions and savings plans available to taxpayers to assist with the expense of higher education.

    • A tax credit reduces the amount of income tax you may have to pay.
    • A deduction reduces the amount of your income that is subject to tax, thus generally reducing the amount of tax you may have to pay.
    • Certain savings plans allow the accumulated interest to grow tax-free until money is taken out (known as a distribution), or allow the distribution to be tax-free, or both.
    • An exclusion from income means that you won't have to pay income tax on the benefit you're receiving, but you also won't be able to use that same tax-free benefit for a deduction or credit.
107) Hope Credit
The Hope credit generally applies to 2008 and earlier tax years. It helps parents and students pay for post-secondary education. The Hope credit is a nonrefundable credit. This means that it can reduce your tax to zero, but if the credit is more than your tax the excess will not be refunded to you. The Hope credit you are allowed may be limited by the amount of your income and the amount of your tax.
The Hope credit is for the payment of the first two years of tuition and related expenses for an eligible student for whom the taxpayer claims an exemption on the tax return. Normally, you can claim tuition and required enrollment fees paid for your own, as well as your dependents' college education. The Hope credit targets the first two years of post-secondary education, and an eligible student must be enrolled at least half time.
Generally, you can claim the Hope credit if all three of the following requirements are met:
  • You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
  • You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.
  • The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.

You cannot take both an education credit and a deduction for tuition and fees (see Deductions, below) for the same student in the same year. In some cases, you may do better by claiming the tuition and fees deduction instead of the Hope credit.
Education credits are claimed on Form 8863, Education Credits (Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits). For details on these and other education-related tax breaks, see IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits of Education.

108) Lifetime Learning Credit
The lifetime learning credit helps parents and students pay for post-secondary
education. For the tax year, you may be able to claim a lifetime learning credit of up to $2,000 ($4,000 for students in Midwestern disaster areas) for qualified education expenses paid for all students enrolled in eligible educational institutions. There is no limit on the number of years the lifetime learning credit can be claimed for each student. However, a taxpayer cannot claim both the Hope American opportunity credit and lifetime learning credits for the same student in one year. Thus, the lifetime learning credit may be particularly helpful to graduate students, students who are only taking one course and those who are not pursuing a degree.
Generally, you can claim the lifetime learning credit if all three of the following requirements are met:

  • You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
  • You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.
  • The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.
If you're eligible to claim the lifetime learning credit and are also eligible to claim the Hope or American opportunity credit for the same student in the same year, you can choose to claim either credit, but not both.

If you pay qualified education expenses for more than one student in the same year, you can choose to take credits on a per-student, per-year basis. This means that, for example, you can claim the Hope or American opportunity credit for one student and the lifetime learning credit for another student in the same year.
Deductions
109) Tuition and Fees Deduction
You may be able to deduct qualified education expenses paid during the year for yourself, your spouse or your dependent. You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. The qualified expenses must be for higher education.
The tuition and fees deduction can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $4,000. This deduction, reported on Form 8917, Tuition and Fees Deduction, is taken as an adjustment to income. This means you can claim this deduction even if you do not itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). This deduction may be beneficial to you if, for example, you cannot take the lifetime learning credit because your income is too high.
You may be able to take one of the education credits for your education expenses instead of a tuition and fees deduction. You can choose the one that will give you the lower tax.
Generally, you can claim the tuition and fees deduction if all three of the following requirements are met:
  • You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
  • You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.
  • The eligible student is yourself, your spouse, or your dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.

You cannot claim the tuition and fees deduction if any of the following apply:
  • Your filing status is married filing separately.
  • Another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. You cannot take the deduction even if the other person does not actually claim that exemption.
  • Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is more than $80,000 ($160,000 if filing a joint return).
  • You or anyone else claims an education credit for expenses of the student for whom the qualified education expenses were paid.
Student-activity fees and expenses for course-related books, supplies and equipment are included in qualified education expenses only if the fees and expenses must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.
110) Student Loan Interest Deduction
Generally, personal interest you pay, other than certain mortgage interest, is not deductible on your tax return. However, if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is less than $70,000 ($145,000 if filing a joint return), there is a special deduction allowed for paying interest on a student loan (also known as an education loan) used for higher education. Student loan interest is interest you paid during the year on a qualified student loan. It includes both required and voluntary interest payments.
For most taxpayers, MAGI is the adjusted gross income as figured on their federal income tax return before subtracting any deduction for student loan interest. This deduction can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $2,500 in 2008.
The student loan interest deduction is taken as an adjustment to income. This means you can claim this deduction even if you do not itemize deductions on Form 1040's Schedule A.
111) Qualified Student Loan

This is a loan you took out solely to pay qualified education expenses (defined later) that were:

  • For you, your spouse, or a person who was your dependent when you took out the loan.
  • Paid or incurred within a reasonable period of time before or after you took out the loan.
  • For education provided during an academic period for an eligible student.
Loans from the following sources are not qualified student loans:

    • A related person.
    • A qualified employer plan.
112) Qualified Education Expenses

For purposes of the student loan interest deduction, these expenses are the total costs of attending an eligible educational institution, including graduate school. They include amounts paid for the following items:

  • Tuition and fees.
  • Room and board.
  • Books, supplies and equipment.
  • Other necessary expenses (such as transportation).
The cost of room and board qualifies only to the extent that it is not more than the greater of:
  • The allowance for room and board, as determined by the eligible educational institution, that was included in the cost of attendance (for federal financial aid purposes) for a particular academic period and living arrangement of the student, or
  • The actual amount charged if the student is residing in housing owned or operated by the eligible educational institution.
113) Business Deduction for Work-Related Education
If you are an employee and can itemize your deductions, you may be able to claim a deduction for the expenses you pay for your work-related education. Your deduction will be the amount by which your qualifying work-related education expenses plus other job and certain miscellaneous expenses is greater than 2% of your adjusted gross income. An itemized deduction may reduce the amount of your income subject to tax.
If you are self-employed, you deduct your expenses for qualifying work-related education directly from your self-employment income. This may reduce the amount of your income subject to both income tax and self-employment tax.
Your work-related education expenses may also qualify you for other tax benefits, such as the tuition and fees deduction and the Hope and lifetime learning credits. You may qualify for these other benefits even if you do not meet the requirements listed above.
To claim a business deduction for work-related education, you must:
    • Be working.
    • Itemize your deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040 or 1040NR) if you are an employee.
    • File Schedule C (Form 1040), Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040), or Schedule F (Form 1040) if you are self-employed.
    • Have expenses for education that meet the requirements discussed under Qualifying Work-Related Education, below.
114) Qualifying Work-Related Education

You can deduct the costs of qualifying work-related education as business expenses. This is education that meets at least one of the following two tests:

  • The education is required by your employer or the law to keep your present
  • salary, status or job. The required education must serve a bona fide business purpose of your employer.
  • The education maintains or improves skills needed in your present work.

However, even if the education meets one or both of the above tests, it is not qualifying work-related education if it:

  • Is needed to meet the minimum educational requirements of your present trade or business or
  • Is part of a program of study that will qualify you for a new trade or business.

You can deduct the costs of qualifying work-related education as a business expense even if the education could lead to a degree.

115) Education Required by Employer or by Law

Education you need to meet the minimum educational requirements for your present trade or business is not qualifying work-related education. Once you have met the minimum educational requirements for your job, your employer or the law may require you to get more education. This additional education is qualifying work-related education if all three of the following requirements are met.

  • It is required for you to keep your present salary, status or job.
  • The requirement serves a business purpose of your employer.
  • The education is not part of a program that will qualify you for a new trade or business.

When you get more education than your employer or the law requires, the additional education can be qualifying work-related education only if it maintains or improves skills required in your present work.

116) Education to Maintain or Improve Skills
If your education is not required by your employer or the law, it can be qualifying work-related education only if it maintains or improves skills needed in your present work. This could include refresher courses, courses on current developments and academic or vocational courses.
Scholarships and Fellowships

A scholarship is generally an amount paid or allowed to, or for the benefit of, a student at an educational institution to aid in the pursuit of studies. The student may be either an undergraduate or a graduate. A fellowship is generally an amount paid for the benefit of an individual to aid in the pursuit of study or research. Generally, whether the amount is tax free or taxable depends on the expense paid with the amount and whether you are a degree candidate.
A scholarship or fellowship is tax free only if you meet the following conditions:

    • You are a candidate for a degree at an eligible educational institution.
    • You use the scholarship or fellowship to pay qualified education expenses.
117) Qualified Education Expenses

For purposes of tax-free scholarships and fellowships, these are expenses for:

  • Tuition and fees required to enroll at or attend an eligible educational institution.
  • Course-related expenses, such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment that are required for the courses at the eligible educational institution. These items must be required of all students in your course of instruction.

However, in order for these to be qualified education expenses, the terms of the scholarship or fellowship cannot require that it be used for other purposes, such as room and board, or specify that it cannot be used for tuition or course-related expenses.

118) Expenses that Don't Qualify

Qualified education expenses do not include the cost of:

  • Room and board.
  • Travel.
  • Research.
  • Clerical help.
  • Equipment and other expenses that are not required for enrollment in or attendance at an eligible educational institution.

This is true even if the fee must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance. Scholarship or fellowship amounts used to pay these costs are taxable.
For more information, see Pub. 970.

Exclusions from Income

You may exclude certain educational assistance benefits from your income. That means that you won't have to pay any tax on them. However, it also means that you can't use any of the tax-free education expenses as the basis for any other deduction or credit, including the Hope credit and the lifetime learning credit.
119) Employer-Provided Educational Assistance
If you receive educational assistance benefits from your employer under an educational assistance program, you can exclude up to $5,250 of those benefits each year. This means your employer should not include the benefits with your wages, tips, and other compensation shown in box 1 of your Form W-2.
120) Educational Assistance Program
To qualify as an educational assistance program, the plan must be written and
must meet certain other requirements. Your employer can tell you whether there is a qualified program where you work.
121) Educational Assistance Benefits

Tax-free educational assistance benefits include payments for tuition, fees and similar expenses, books, supplies, and equipment. The payments may be for either undergraduate- or graduate-level courses. The payments do not have to be for work-related courses. Educational assistance benefits do not include payments for the following items.

    • Meals, lodging, or transportation.
    • Tools or supplies (other than textbooks) that you can keep after completing the course of instruction.
    • Courses involving sports, games, or hobbies unless they:
      • Have a reasonable relationship to the business of your employer, or
      • Are required as part of a degree program.
122) Benefits over $5,250
If your employer pays more than $5,250 for educational benefits for you during the year, you must generally pay tax on the amount over $5,250. Your employer should include in your wages (Form W-2, box 1) the amount that you must include in income.
123) Working Condition Fringe Benefit
However, if the benefits over $5,250 also qualify as a working condition fringe benefit, your employer does not have to include them in your wages. A working condition fringe benefit is a benefit which, had you paid for it, you could deduct as an employee business expense. For more information on working condition fringe benefits, see Working Condition Benefits in chapter 2 of Publication 15-B, Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits.
You can contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 or go online at http://www.irs.gov to lean more about any of the above benefits or deductions.
Job Training Assistance
124) Meet With A Free Job Counselor As Soon As Possible
These are local experts paid by the government to help you find a job. There are a bunch of offices in your state that help with these problems. To find an office near you put in your zip code and search at http://www.servicelocator.org/ This is likely to be the most important thing you can do because they can help with all your employment problems. They offer a variety of services from resume writing assistance, job searching, connecting you to training programs to achieve your goals, and more.
125) Job Bank
You can contact America's Service Locator for information on job search sites and resources close to home. An employee of the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor will answer the call and provide you with the resources you need to get working again. You can call 877-348-0502 or go to http://www.servicelocator.org/ Two additional websites that can be of help include http://www.jobbankinfo.org which links you to your state job bank site; and http://www.careervoyages.gov which provides information on a variety of careers, training needed, where to get the necessary training or certification, specific job search sites, and more.

126) Get Paid While You Learn
Getting a good job does not always mean that you must attend college or trade school, but no one will readily admit that. There are apprenticeship programs all over the country that will provide free on-the-job training, and you will learn while you earn. Why would a company offer to train you for free? Simple- they get a skilled worker that they have trained themselves. For more information contact your local Job Service office or Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Room N4649, Washington, DC 20210; 202-693-3812; http://www.doleta.gov or http://www.doleta.gov/jobseekers/apprent.cfm

127) Retraining And Employment If You Are Over 55

The Senior Community Service Employment Program offers part-time training and employment opportunities for eligible low-income persons 55 years of age and older in a variety of public and private non-profit community service settings, such as senior centers, nutrition programs, social service agencies, and many others. To learn more contact your state Department of Labor or Division of Older Worker Programs, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Room N4641, Washington, DC 20210; 202-693-3842; http://www.doleta.gov/Seniors/html_docs/AboutSCSEP.cfm To learn more you can contact the local One-Stop Career Center at http://servicelocator.org/

128) Free Help To Get A Government Job

You may read headlines in the newspaper about the government downsizing, but in fact the government hires about 400,000 people a year no matter what the budget is. The average wage is about $45,000. Only about 20% of the jobs are in Washington, DC with the rest scattered throughout the world. This could be a great way to see the country or live overseas while supporting yourself with a stable government job. Contact the U.S. Office of Personnel Management at 478-757-3000; or http://usajobs.opm.gov/

129) Money And Help For The Veteran Job Seeker
If you are a vet, there are a bunch of programs that will help you search for a new career, including vocational and educational counseling, special assistance for vets with disabilities of homelessness, help with training to be a teacher, free tutoring for vets in college, free counseling and money to start a business, and special employment and training programs. For help in locating these programs contact Department of Veterans Affairs at 800-827-100; http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/index.htm or for the Vocational Rehabilitation assistance go to http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/index.htm
130) Free Legal Help With Employment Agencies and Employment Scams

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can help you identify and prosecute any people who take advantage of you when you are looking for work or trying to improve your work skills. Publications include those that help you choose an employment service firm, as well as those that explain job scams. For copies of these publication contact Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20560; 877-FTC-HELP; http://ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/education/jobs.shtm

131) Find Job And Career Information

This website links you to resources and guides to help you on your job hunt. It will help you assess yourself, provide career options, learn your rights and find a job. To learn more go to http://www.doleta.gov/jobseekers/

132) Show A Potential Employer How To Get $7,000 For Hiring You

Many state governments have programs that offer free money if they hire new employees.Other states will give employers free money to take a new employee and train them in a needed skill, like computers, or in certain occupations like food service. Employers can also get $2,400 from the government for hiring people with disabilities, people who live in certain zip codes, people who receive government assistance, ex-felons, or even veterans. To find out about programs in your area, contact your state office of Labor, your sate office of Economic Development and your state office of Taxation all located in your state capital or click on your state at http://www.govengine.com

133) Show Your Boss How To Get Money To Train You
Show your boss how to make you become more productive (and more employable when you leave) by tapping into free government money to upgrade you skills. You can learn computer skills, customer service, new technologies, or even stress management. See what your state offers and let your boss know about it. To find out about programs in your area, contact your state office of Labor, your sate office of Economic Development and your state office of Taxation all located in your state capital or click on your state at http://www.govengine.com
134) Money For Job Seekers With Disabilities
The Federal government has funded programs around the country to help people with disabilities get and keep jobs. The programs include money for education, job training, living expenses, transportation, equipment and mobility aids. Most of these programs are operated through the states. Contact your state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Client Assistance Programs located in your state capital. Here is a listing of State Vocational Rehabilitation offices at http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/Programs/EROD/org_list.cfm?category_ID=SVR There are also some programs at the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213; http://www.ssa.gov The government has also established a website specifically to help those who are disabled at http://www.disability.gov/ They have a special category just for employment at http://www.disability.gov/employment For more general information contact Clearinghouse on Disability Information, Office of Special education and Rehabilitation Services, U.S. Department of Education Room 3132 Switzer Bldg., Washington, DC 20202; 202-245-7468; http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/index.html
135) Day Care Money While You Look For Work
The Child Care and Development Block Grant gives money to states to help families meet their child care needs. Parents may choose from a variety of child care providers, including center-based, family child care and in-home care, care provided by relatives and even sectarian child care providers. To find out how to take advantage of this program in your state and to learn the eligibility requirements, contact National Child Care Information Center, 9300 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031-6050; 800-616-2242; http://nccic.acf.hhs.gov/ or http://nccic.acf.hhs.gov/statedata/dirs/display.cfm?title=ccrr
136) Get More Unemployment Insurance
Laid off workers receive up to $400 per week of Unemployment Insurance while looking for a new job or line of work. In some states you extend your unemployment benefits if you are participating in a retraining program, lost your job because of imports, or live in a high unemployment area. Check with your local Unemployment Insurance office to see if you qualify for extra money and check online at http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/unemployment-insurance/index.htm You can also contact your local Career One-Stop Center at http://servicelocator.org/

137) Get Paid While You Learn
Getting a good job does not always mean that you must attend college or trade school, but no one will readily admit that. There are apprenticeship programs all over the country that will provide free on-the-job training, and you will learn while you earn. Why would a company offer to train you for free? Simple- they get a skilled worker that they have trained themselves. For more information contact your local Job Service office or Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Room N5311, Washington, DC 20210; 202-693-2761; http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/training/apprenticeship.htm You can also learn more at http://www.doleta.gov/oa/ Your state Office of Apprenticeships can be found at http://www.doleta.gov/oa/stateoffices.cfm Information on Apprenticeships can be found at http://www.doleta.gov/oa/apprentices.cfm
 
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