If you are looking for individual emergency cash grants from the government to pay for personal items, you may be out of luck. However, there are other ways you can receive emergency financial assistance, though most require research and careful review of the fine print.
Individual Cash Grant Options
A grant is not a loan or entitlement which needs to be paid back. Rather, it is money given to an individual in dire need of financial aid. While it may seem like easy cash, grants are not given to just anyone. There is often a litany of requirements which need to be met prior to receiving emergency cash grants. Fortunately, there are a few entities that provide for those in desperate need of emergency funds, including:
The federal government is a good place to start when researching individual cash grants. Unfortunately, you won't find Uncle Sam doling out free money to be used at your discretion. Rather, monetary aid is available to individuals who have lost their home due to disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and fire. Emergency grant money is allocated to cover costs related to finding temporary shelter, food and clothing. It may also be used to pay for traveling expenses incurred if you are forced to relocate.
The Jewish Federation's Emergency Cash Grants Program helps families in the Jewish community make ends meet when times are especially tough. The cash grants are awarded to individuals who are found to be in urgent need of financial support. Grant applications can be found at Beit T'Shuvah, Jewish Free Loan Association, Milken JCC and Tomchei Shabbos.
Catholic Charities also offers emergency financial assistance to those in dire straits. However, you don't need to be a baptized Catholic in order to receive emergency grants. The group awards cash to impoverished individuals and families and those who have suffered major catastrophe, especially natural disasters.
Applying for a Cash Grant
When applying for an emergency cash grant it is vital that you follow the directions printed on the formal application. In most cases you will also have to provide valid picture identification in the form of a driver's license or passport. However, since grants are not loans, you will not have to worry about the agency running a credit check or asking for collateral or a co-signer. That's good news for individuals who may have less than stellar credit or have filed for bankruptcy in the past. Even if you have declared bankruptcy in the past, typically you would still be eligible for emergency grant money from major entities. In addition, if you are awarded an emergency cash grant from the government, you will not have to pay taxes on it.
Other Ways to Get Emergency Cash
If you are in need of financial assistance due to low or no income, there are other ways you can make ends meet even if you don't meet the requirements for an emergency cash grant. Options include:
- Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program: This government program provides rental assistance for the needy.
- Food Stamps: This program is run locally and funded by the federal government. It is designed to help families facing economic hardships to get free food up to a certain dollar amount depending on need.
- Energy Assistance: This program aids low income individuals who are unable to afford electricity or heat. It offers financial aid to cover energy bills and is typically paid directly to the local utility company.
Beware of Scams
Individuals in dire need of money often become prey for scammers. Regardless of how desperate you are for cash to make ends meet, do not fall for swindlers requiring you to pay for information regarding government cash grants. If you need help with your bills, it is best to contact non-profit organizations or official government agencies who will provide information on specialized programs and direct you to reputable resources for free.