Find Help Paying Rent, Utility, Medical Bills and More
In today’s world, there’s no shortage of things to worry about, and financial issues are high on the list. Even the hardest of workers struggle to make ends meet sometimes. Should you have to make an unexpected trip to the hospital or a home appliance needs to be replaced, you could find yourself short on cash and in danger of not being able to pay your essential bills. It’s easier than many people realize to get into a financial tough spot, and even after taking on more work and cutting out unnecessary spending, plenty of people still find it hard to cover all expenses.
If collector calls and a mailbox full of inquiries have become your norm, you don’t have to go through life avoiding your financial problems. There are resources that can help pay bills and get you back on your feet. United Way’s 2-1-1 program can refer you to receive assistance with bills to help you cover the basics everyone deserves. If you need help paying bills ASAP, learn what United Way of the National Capital Area and other organizations can provide financial assistance with below.
Housing is essential to your quality of life, and no one deserves to struggle keeping a roof over their head. If making rent has become a challenge, there are many resources available to help.
This local 2-1-1 program offers Maryland, Virginia and DC rental assistance. When you call 2-1-1, you’ll receive free and confidential information about how to get support with necessities like rental assistance, food, shelters, utilities, health care, counseling and more. Someone will answer your call no matter the day or time, and there are representatives available in multiple languages. You can dial 2-1-1 from most landlines, VOIP and cellular carriers for free. If you’re having trouble dialing 2-1-1 from your phone, call the 10-digit number in your jurisdiction.
For 2-1-1 service in the District of Columbia, dial 202-463-6211. For 2-1-1 service in Southern Montgomery County & Prince George’s County, dial 301-864-7161. For 2-1-1 service in Virginia, dial 800-230-6977.
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Find Shelter tool provides information about housing and more in communities across the country. There are programs that provide assistance with paying rent, applying for a housing choice voucher, finding a housing counselor, reporting housing discrimination, avoiding homelessness and locating transitional housing. HUD also provides mortgage assistance to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
Gradient Gives Back
The Gradient Gives Back Foundation is a nonprofit organization that devotes resources to helping Americans who are at risk of losing their homes. The foundation awards a full year of mortgage or lease payments to deserving families as part of its nationwide Gradient Gives Back Community Outreach program.
Pathway of Hope
The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program was launched in 2011 to help families break the cycle of poverty. Through the program, you’ll be connected to lifechanging resources that supply housing options, job training, legal services, child care, education and health services.
Emergency Rental Assistance
The Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs help tenants and landlords find rental assistance services in their local area. Each ERA grantee has some flexibility to develop their rental assistance program to suit the needs of their local community while complying with requirements outlined in their financial assistance agreement, the ERA statute and the Treasury’s guidelines.
Having a roof over your head isn’t enough. Utilities like electricity and running water are necessities and in today’s world, phone and internet service are also extremely important for education, work and navigating life. The following programs help individuals pay utility bills and manage daily needs.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has offered the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program since 1981 to support low-income households in managing energy costs. The program provides federally funded assistance in handling costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises, weatherization and energy-related home repairs.
Dollar Energy Fund
The Dollar Energy Fund’s mission is to improve the quality of life for those experiencing hardships by providing utility and other services that lead to self-sufficiency. Get financial help with basic gas, water and electric services, as well as food, medicine and other necessities.
Lifeline is a federal program that makes phone and internet services more affordable. If you qualify, the program will work with you to lower phone, internet or bundled services.
In addition to these programs, many utility providers offer payment options and other ways to save or make payments more manageable. Contact your provider to learn about their options.
No one should be without vital medical services. Learn which programs can help you save on prescriptions and medical attention and treatments.
Medicaid eligibility varies by state, but you could qualify for assistance depending on your household income, family size, age, disability and other factors. Learn how to apply here and other important program information, as well.
The Pan Foundation helps people combat high, out-of-pocket medical expenses that prevent them from getting the care they need. The organization seeks to improve access and lower health care costs, offering 12-month grants for copays, health insurance premiums, medications and transportation to medical treatments.
Accessia Health, formerly Patient Services, provides financial assistance for medication, insurance premiums and copays, as well as helps navigate insurance plans and legal challenges related to medical needs. Their programs can assist with costs associated with a range of chronic conditions and their ACCESS program provides free legal help for those dealing with confusing disability and health insurance challenges.
If you’re struggling to pay for medical care, supplies, supplements, surgeries or other health care needs, the HealthWell Foundation offers financial assistance to treat a variety of diseases and conditions. Find out if there’s a fund that covers your illness.
SingleCare provides a discount card to get you savings on your prescriptions. You can use your card to save up to 80% on prescription drugs—and it’s completely free. There’s no catch, no fees or premiums, and no expirations.
Community Health Centers
If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you can still get low-cost health care at your local community health center. Payment for medical attention depends on your income. Pay less for general primary care, prenatal care, program referrals, shots for infants and more.
If you need help with paying bills for other needs, there are likely programs for whatever your necessary expenses are. Here are some top programs for other basic expenses.
Having reliable transportation is essential to maintaining your job, getting to and from school, and handling daily errands and obligations. Vehicles for Change is an organization that sets people up with a vehicle that’s been donated. Recipients report getting better jobs and increased earnings. Lyft’s Job Access Program also helps those with no transportation by supplying a ride to job interviews and to their place of employment for the first few weeks.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) supplements the food budget of families in need. The program supplies food stamps, WIC assistance, emergency COVID-19 support and more. Your household must meet certain requirements to be eligible for SNAP and receive benefits. Contact your local SNAP office to see if you qualify. If you or a loved one is in dire need of food now, call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479.
If you need assistance with paying bills related to your education, FAFSA provides financial aid for college or graduate school programs. See how to fill out a FAFSA form and get answers to other FAQs here.
Credit Card Debt
If credit card debt is keeping you from getting ahead, the NFCC can set you up with a certified credit counselor who will help you lower your debt, pay it off quicker, manage your budget and come up with strategies to reduce debt and become financially secure. The program is beneficial for students, veterans, small business owners and everyday people struggling with debt.
Other Things You Can Do to Help Pay Bills
In addition to these programs, you can help pay bills in a variety of other ways. Common ways people accrue some extra funds include:
- Yard Sales: If you don’t need it, sell it to someone who does to earn quick cash.
- Online Sales: There are many online sites that allow you to safely sell appliances, furniture, home décor, children’s items, electronics, gently used clothing and more.
- Local Churches and Charities: Many local churches and other organizations have existing funds or will organize fundraisers for those in need.
- Online Fundraisers: You may want to set up an online fundraising campaign describing your situation and needs, allowing people to donate.
No one should have to struggle to meet their needs due to financial scarcity, and many more people experience financial hardships than you may think. It’s a common misconception that people who fall on hard times are irresponsible, but in most cases, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of hardworking and dedicated people who struggle to make ends meet for themselves and their families through no fault of their own. If you or someone you know is one of these people, know that there are many organizations and programs available to help.
Find support through the health, education and economic opportunity programs at United Way NCA.
If you would like to volunteer with the United Way NCA, learn more about how you can help serve those in need in your community. When none are ignored, all will thrive.
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