Thursday, August 15, 2019

What to Do if your Job Doesn’t Offer a 401k

August 15, 2019 0
The importance of saving money for retirement cannot be overemphasized. You should save as much as possible and you should start saving as early as you can because this is the key to retiring when and how you want. Retirement goals are often accomplished by utilizing retirement savings accounts such as 401k’s.

A retirement savings account that your employer can offer you is 401k and it is one of the most popular forms of retirement savings and investment you can ever get. One of the major benefits of 402k is the tax exemption and another is that many employers will match your contributions.
The question is what are you going to do if your company does not offer 401k? The next thing is for you to look for other means of saving pending your retirement if your current job does not have many options available to you. Unfortunately, saving in a normal savings account isn’t typically going to cut it. In this article, we’ll discuss several other options you can consider to still grow and financially prepare for your retirement outside of employment benefits.

Start an IRA
A retirement investment account that you open as an individual outside of your employer is regarded as IRA. Additionally, you do not get some beneficial tax benefits with this type of account and there are 2 main types of IRA’s you can apply for:

  • Traditional IRA - With a traditional IRA, you don’t pay any taxes on the money you contribute. You will simply pay taxes on the money you withdraw during your retirement. The max you can contribute yearly is $6,000.
  • Roth IRA - With a Roth IRA, you pay taxes on your contributions today; but you don’t pay taxes on the money as it grows, and you don’t pay taxes on the money when you withdraw in retirement. The max you can contribute yearly is $6,000.
Seek other Investment Opportunities
Maxing out an IRA is still recommended even though you do not need to save via a retirement investment account alone. Once you are done with that, you can consider a brokerage account or normal taxable investment account. With this type of account, you will not see any special tax benefits, but you can supplement your retirement savings. Diversifying your stock portfolio can help, as well. Check with your employer to see if they have stock options available.

Look for Employment with Better Benefits
You will not be getting much benefit if you work for small companies or startups. Consider seeking employment with options that can help you when your need for retirement becomes a priority.

Self-Employment Opportunities 

You do not have the option of a 401k when you are self-employed. This does not mean that your retirement savings opportunities, it means that as a self-employed individual, you have more investment opportunities available to you. Below are some of these opportunities;
  • Solo 401k - A Solo 401k is where you act as the employer and the employee. You contribute up to 25% of earnings into the account as the employer, and the employee can add up to $19,000 annually to the account. The total limit for the year cannot exceed $56,000.
  • SEP IRA - A SEP IRA is very similar to a traditional IRA, except for you’ll be making contributions as the employer (you) and there are a lot fewer restrictions in place. For instance, you can contribute either $56,000 annually or 25% of your earnings - this is much higher than traditional IRA’s.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Grants Vs. Loans: What's The Difference?

August 14, 2019 0
Two popular ways to fund your college education expenses are grants and loans. They are both having big differences that you need to get acquainted with if you want to go through any of the two means to finance your college education. This article is to discuss the differences between grants and loans and the benefits of both of them.

Grants
Free money that can be awarded to students as a way of funding their education and are based on the meeting of certain criteria is known as grants. Some of the criteria include;


  • Being accepted for enrollment into a school as an undergraduate.
  • You are also expected to meet some financial qualifications and you will need to fill out a FAFSA form for that. 
  • You are expected to have a high school diploma or GED
  • Being a US citizen or a non-citizen who meets requirements
  • You also need to maintain a set GPA’s
  • Not being in default on any loans at the time of accepting and using a grant.


The Pell Grant is one of the most popular grants for students. There are other educational grants which include;


  • SMART Grant
  • Academic Competitiveness Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)


One of the interesting and captivating aspect of grants is that they do not have to be refunded, however, the student that qualifies and uses the grant is expected to maintain a certain grade point levels and also the student should not exceed some financial levels for the grant to be valid.

Loans
Sums of money you can borrow for the purposes of attending college is known as loans; but unlike grants, loans will need to be refunded back with interest. A student loan can be combined sometimes to make up the difference in what is not covered by a scholarship or grant, or some students find their financial needs have to entirely subsist on loan. To apply for a student loan, you will be required to fill out a FAFSA form. Both Federal and Private institutions can give loans to individuals who apply for them. The different types of loan structures available are listed below;


  • Direct Subsidized Loans - With this loan structure, the government covers your interest while you are in school or in deferment.
  • Direct Plus Loans - Loans structured for students from the US Department of Education.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans - All interest accrued is the responsibility of the borrower and must be repaid.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans - The combination of multiple Federal loans.


Grant Pros and Cons

Pro: Because grants are not expected to be refunded, it is most preferable. This means students do not have to worry about making payments like they would do if it were a loan which incurs interest.
Con: The grant money received might not necessarily cover for every expense you need it for
Con: It can be difficult to qualify for and secure a grant.

Loan Pros and Cons
PRO: You will have more flexibility and opportunity available because you have more freedom of choice in how you use your loan in school.
CON: You have to repay the loan, sometimes repayments begin even while you are still in school.
CON: You will most likely have to repay your loan with interest.
PRO: Loans are much easier to secure than grants are.

It is advisable to prepare to utilize the two means of getting funds for your college education. When properly used, they can both be helpful. More information should be given to you when you apply to a college and are accepted on funding and what types of grants and loans available through the school to help you out with your funding. If you need more information or guidance on what to choose and how to proceed with decisions on your funding, don’t hesitate to speak to a guidance counselor in connection with the school who can give you some direction and help out with your choices.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

8 Alternatives to Payday Loans

August 13, 2019 0
Everyone experiences times where loans are required regardless of your financial status or situation and these situations can sometimes be expedient. These situations can be as a result of emergencies or overwhelming debt among other things. It is essential that you choose the loan option that is least likely to negatively affect your current financial situation or severely impact your future goal when any of those needs arises.

An option regularly chosen by consumers who find themselves in a bind requiring urgent assistance is the payday loans. It is quite unfortunate that these types of loans are not always given with best interests in mind. In fact, this category of lending is often viewed as predatory and has a reputation for taking advantage of borrowers who can easily be faced with interest rates of up to 400%. Considering alternatives to payday loans is vital before making a decision. In this article, we’ll discuss some other options that may be available to you and why they may be more helpful in your situation.

Peer-to-peer lending
This form of lending has grown in popularity in recent times. Investors are allowed to fund loans fro borrowers using their personal finances in this type of loan. While you can secure pretty low-interest rates utilizing this loan format, it is mainly available to those that have higher credit scores.

Emergency Savings
This is the best time to draw on your emergency savings if available. You should typically use emergency savings to cover rent, healthcare, bills, groceries and other day-to-day expenses in the case of an emergency. However, situations vary; if you don't have emergency savings, and depending on the severity of the situation, you may also consider utilizing other savings accounts.

Pay Advance from Employers
This can be a good outlet for seeking assistance when you are hot with a financial emergency. It requires you having a good relationship with your employer. This emergency route is most beneficial because there is no need to pay back or worry about interest. It is simply you receiving your payment early with the expectation that you continue to work.

Negotiating Payment Plans
Most companies and even credit cards are willing to work out arrangements with you on payment of you are struggling. If you’re considering taking out a loan to facilitate paying your bills on time, try speaking with your creditors or utility companies first. Often, they can help you either delay when your payment is due or reduce the amount you owe with various programs they may have in place.

Credit Cards
You can use credit cards for emergency purposes but it is not highly recommended. It is however, better than getting payday loans. You won’t pay higher than 28-30% with credit cards but you will pay much higher interest with payday loans.

Credit Counseling
If your financial or credit situation seems out of control, before adding to the strain, consider seeking counseling. There are various credit counseling services available to you, often at no cost, which can help. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling can help lead you to a service in your area.

Personal Loans
You can take personal loan through your bank or a credit union. Doing this can help you secure lower interest rates which is still lower than that of payday loan. All you need to do is have a decent credit score. If you have a good relationship with your bank or credit union, you should really check this out. Short-term emergency loans are even offered which some members can utilize to help them become financially stable again.

Loans from Family or Friends
You can consider asking your friends or family for financial help if you have a good relationship with them and have not borrowed money before. Usually, they won’t charge you interest (or very little). However, you do need to be careful when going this route - don’t ask for too much and make sure you pay the loan back promptly and within the terms of your arrangement.

Monday, August 12, 2019

How a Health Savings Account Can Help You

August 12, 2019 0
Every penny counts when it comes to your health insurance especially these days where there is every-rising insurance rates and premiums and increasing hospital and drug costs. Trying as much as possible to save money with health coverage for you and your family is important and make use of every opportunity available to do so. One of these opportunities is getting a health savings account.
An essential way to set aside money to pay for insurance and your medical bills is by getting a health savings account (HSA). You would also be saving money on taxes through this process. This article is to give details of HAS and how it really operates.

What is an HSA?
You can qualify to open an HSA if you have a high deductible health plan or HDHP. You will be offered the option of opening this type of account sometimes by employers or health plans, but you also have the ability to open one privately at most financial institutions. The IRS however, has certain deductible limitations they have set that you will need to qualify for in order to open an HSA:

  • Individual out of pocket maximum is $6,500
  • Individual minimum deductible is $1,300
  • Family out of pocket maximum is $13,100
  • Family minimum deductible is $2,600

The amount you can contribute annually is mandated by the government even though you contribute financially to your account. The limitations are as follows:


  • Individual yearly contributions limits are $3,400
  • Family yearly contribution limits are $6,750
  • Seniors 55 and older can add $1,000 over the preset limitations
  • Seniors who have Medicare cannot contribute to an HSA


How Can You Use an HSA?
You receive either a debit card or checks when you open an HSA and this will enable you to use the money in your account at any time. These funds can be used to pay for copays, coinsurance, deductibles and other medical expenses. You cannot usually spend the money from your HSA on paying your premium payment and this is the only drawback of the HSA. You also need to be aware that any money spent on non-qualified health care costs is then subject to tax that you will be responsible for paying. The money that you have in your account never expires and can be continued to be used for qualifying medical expenses. Seniors who are no longer able to contribute can also still use the money in their HSA to cover medical costs.

What are the Tax Benefits of an HSA?
There are substantial tax benefits to having an HSA and the reason is because the money placed into the account is not taxed, the money taken out of the account is not taxed and the money has the ability to grow in your account tax-free as well. Another benefit is that your income will be taxed minus your HSA contributions, which lowers your tax responsibility. Utilizing an HSA can potentially be a large money-saving opportunity for you and your family and make it easier to afford proper health care.

Additional Investment Benefit of Your HSA
A unique investment opportunity is offered to you when you open an HSA account. It gives the opportunity of being able to invest the funds in your account into stocks, mutual funds and other opportunities. Your funds are not taxed when you invest in your HSA and you do not have any required distribution limitations. It does not need to follow guidelines in the Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA if your account is funded through a company payroll.

Meaningful Connections for Those in Need

August 12, 2019 2
Nowhere Else to Turn?
The gaps left between families in need and overburdened support programs are being filled by this resource. WithCauses is a charitable network that eases the hardships of those less fortunate by connecting them with charitable donation and touching lives of thousands of struggling individuals this way. The belief of the foundation is that “We all benefit from an investment in our Children and helping others”. This charitable network is able to lift people in need out of unfortunate circumstances through their steadfast mission.

A Helping Hand
WithCauses provides a Help Request form on their site for individuals that need someone to help them to briefly express their situation and indicate what they could use assistance with. On a case by case basis to determine if/how With Causes can be of help; each request is reviewed. There may be background and financial information that you may need to provide depending on the kind of assistance requested for. The type of assistance this organization provides varies and in the past has included the following:

  • Assistance For Homeless Families and Individuals
  • Direct Equipment and Financial Support for Disadvantaged, Underemployed, Elderly & Disabled
  • Family and Patient Support for those with a Serious Illness
  • Housing Development, Community Revitalization

Additional Support
Several other charities that provide assistance in various forms are being led by With Causes. Other charities include;


Application request forms are provided by each of these organizations on their website so you can share your story for review. You can find out how these organizations can make a difference for you and your family by visiting their website.

Similar to With Causes is a different charitable organization that provides hardworking individuals the opportunity to request financial help on their page. This charity was set up to help individuals with expenses related to Medical Bills, Phone Bills, Rental Payments, and other pressing needs.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Get Help Paying Your Rent

August 03, 2019 8
The statistics of Americans who qualify as rent-burdened is steadily on the rise in the past fifteen years and it has doubled from 19% to 38%. The statistic shows that these Americans spend three-tenths of their income on rent. The alarming number of people that qualify as severely rent-burdened is at the rate of 17%. These percentages all indicate that millions of American families are struggling to afford rent payments on their homes. In this article, we’ll discuss some ways that you can find and secure rent assistance if you find yourself struggling to make your payments.

Charitable Grants

You have the ability to secure assistance from church organizations or nonprofits if your family is in need of emergency or short-term housing assistance. You can usually find assistance through local programs, but there are national programs as well. Bear in mind that these programs are typically limited to those facing eviction or who need emergency services to help in the short-term.

Short-Term Housing Assistance
You can apply for short-term rental voucher assistance or subsidy programs if you are in need of rental assistance for 3 months or less. Check with your state’s local housing authority on what’s available to you. You can also contact the 2-1-1 hotline in order to see what programs may fit your needs.

Long-Term Housing Assistance
You can get such assistance through HUD’s Section 8 low-income housing programs. Qualifying for this process can be lengthy and you may need to join a waitlist, but it’s worth checking into see if you qualify for this program. You can also check with your local housing authority to see what programs are available to you and your family. They may have certain housing developments, or homes, within your city or state that are available to you for lower rent options.

Rural Rental Housing Assistance
This is limited to certain areas and in general rural areas. The assistance is for use when an individual or family is spending 30% or more of their household income on the monthly rent. The USDA also often has lower rental opportunities available to families that qualify.

Trade Labor for Rent
If you’re willing and able to work for lower rent, you may consider speaking with your landlord. There may be opportunities for you to provide labor in exchange for a discounted rental rate. Some ideas could be:


  • Cleaning the grounds
  • Lawn Mowing
  • Shoveling snow
  • Gardening
  • Painting
  • Repairs

If you are skilled in a particular area, like plumbing or electrical work, this can also be of benefit to you in negotiations.

Speak to Your Landlord
Negotiating your rent with your landlord is possible sometimes. Try speaking with your landlord to negotiate a modified payment if you are going through financial difficulty or you are finding it difficult to pay your rent.  Your landlord may be able to spread out your rental payments over a longer period of time than the 12 or 24-month agreement, thus lowering your monthly payment obligation. Your landlord may be willing to renegotiate your lease agreement terms and lower your rental payments in total. Keep in mind that your landlord is not obligated to change your rental agreement or accept lower payments; however, it is worth a try.

Find a Roommate
Getting a roommate in order to divide the rent so it can be affordable can go a long way if your rental agreement allows it. Be sure to clearly define how costs will be split with your roommate and have them written into your lease agreement as well; including your roommate into your rental agreement is important because it holds them liable to the terms as well.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

4 Reasons Why You Need Life Insurance Now & How to Buy It

August 01, 2019 0
One of the things people do not like talking about is Life Insurance. It is quite unfortunate that many people do not really consider going for a life insurance policy until an event in the family forces then to get a coverage. Consequently, they do not experience the full benefits of a Life Insurance Policy. This is why it’s essential to purchase life insurance as soon as someone else is depending on your income. Typically this is once an individual gets married or has a child. Life Insurance is an essential part of your personal finances and holding a policy can provide tremendous benefits. Here are just some of the advantages of Life Insurance:

Minimize Risk
Many times accidents can be inevitable and this is why it is important to prepare in order to minimize subsequent hardships for the family members who suffered a loss. What life insurance does is to render assistance in transferring risk from the family to the insurance company by paying a lump sum to help with financial gaps left behind. A policy can protect the family and the estate in a number of ways including paying final expenses, replacing a spouse's income, paying off debts, and covering children’s expenses.

Build Cash Value
Whole life policies combine protection benefits and also accumulate a cash value. A portion of the paid premium can be invested in the market or set aside to accumulate interest. The cash value of your policy can be used as collateral and be borrowed against or kept as an end-of-life payout.

Tax Advantages
Life insurance policies are shielded from taxation under most circumstances. Some of such situations include an increase in cash value of your policy through investments, lump-sum payments, investment dividends and payments to a spouse.

Peace of Mind
One of the greatest benefits of life insurance is knowing that in the event of your death you are not leaving your loved ones in a financial instability position.

How to Buy Life Insurance
Determining how much coverage you need is the first step when you decide you want to get a life insurance policy. There are many online calculators that can help you to get a ballpark on how much coverage you need. This method should just be used as a guideline. Next, it's fast and easy to request an affordable life insurance quote online. You'll receive a personalized quote based on your needs within minutes.

Don’t Wait!
It is important to get your life insurance when you are young because the younger you are, the less expensive life insurance is. The believe is older people are more exposed to risk to the insurers and you may not qualify for a life insurance policy and might likely end up paying more on your life insurance coverage. Start planning for your financial future using Life Insurance which is a way to reach out to your loved ones even when you are no longer with them physically.

Friday, June 21, 2019

What is Affordable Housing?

June 21, 2019
A ground breaking ceremony will be held by E. J. Plesko & Associates for their coming affordable housing project called Fitchburg Senior Housing project. This development is located at the corner of Traceway Drive and Fish Hatchery Road will create 160 affordable housing units. The real question is what makes affordable housing possible? Linette Rhodes, interim community development grants supervisor, gets questions about what exactly “affordable housing” means all the time. She understands the confusion.

Rhodes said “I even hate that we say ‘affordable housing,’ because ‘affordable’ means something different to every single person that you talk to.” There are various ways by which you can gain access to affordable housing or housing at lower-than-market-rate-rents which include Section 8 vouchers, Section 43 apartment buildings and public housing. Read further to learn more about affordable housing.

What is known as affordable housing? Affordable housing of the past may conjure up images of desolate concrete buildings in Chicago, but today it “comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to high-rise apartments for elderly families,” according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

To live in a public affordable housing building; tenants needs to apply through the Madison Community Development Authority or Dane County Housing Authority. If the tenants are accepted, they pay about 30% of their income as rent for the affordable housing. About 800 units of public affordable housing is in Madison and another 100 in the Dane County area.

To be eligible for this affordable housing, tenants cannot make more than 80 percent of the area median income. In 2018, that was $50,350 for an individual and $71,900 for a family of four. Rhodes noted that they find “most people are making far below 80 percent.”
What are Section 8 vouchers? Theoretically, what Section 8 vouchers allow in affordable housing is for people to live in any regular apartment building. Tenants of the Section 8 vouchers affordable housing pay about 30% of their income as rent and HUD picks up the rest of fair market rent.
Local housing authorities distribute the vouchers; the Madison Community Development Authority administers the program in Madison and Dane County Housing Authority is responsible for the rest of the county. There are long waiting lists to receive a voucher, and neither the CDA or DCHA has accepted new applications for vouchers in several years.

Once an individual receives a voucher, it’s up to them to find a landlord. It can be difficult to find a landlord willing to accept a voucher, even though Section 8 discrimination is against the law in Madison and Dane County.

What are Section 42 apartment buildings? Section 42 affordable housing refers to the section of IRS code detailing tax credits that make these affordable housing developments financially possible. In Wisconsin, Wisconsin Housing Economic and Development Authority (WHEDA) distributes several different types of Section 42 Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

In 2014, Madison was able to set up a concerted effort to take advantage of one type of federal Section 42 tax credits; this was when the Affordable Housing Fund was established. Thousands of millions of dollars was distributed to developers making their project more likely to be awarded good credits.
With that fund, the city has supported 18 affordable housing developments, and if all proposed projects are completed as planned, Madison will benefit from a total of 1,149 affordable units, meeting its goal to create 1,000 units of affordable housing in five years. Examples in Madison include Pinney Lane Apartments at 902-914 Royster Oaks Drive, Carbon at Union Corners at 2504 Winnebago St. and The Breese at 1003 E. Mifflin St.

Section 42 affordable housing don’t usually need credits to make them a reality and this is because the city uses federal HOME and Community Development Block Grant funds to help nonprofits rehabilitate or build affordable housing . Rhodes confirmed that it would not have been possible to meet the 1000 affordable housing project without the Section 42 tax credits.
What is the amount tenant in Section 42 affordable housing pay as rent? This affordable housing tax credit is a little different from that of public housing and section 8 where tenants pay 30% of their income generally. Rents are not charged as a certain percentage of income in the Section 42 affordable housing development. What they do is to set limits for their tenants to those who make less than a certain percentage of the area median income.

In Madison, many projects limit tenants to those making up to 30, 50 or 60 percent of the area median income. For an individual in 2018, that would be someone making between $19,250 and $38,520 a year. For a family of four, 30 to 60 percent of area median income would be between $27,500 and $55,020.

WHEDA uses a formula based on fair market rents to set the maximum rents for Section 42 units, so units with the same number of bedrooms should have relatively standard rents across the city, Rhodes said. Rents are set with the goal that tenants earning 30, 50 or 60 percent of the area median income will pay 30 percent of their income.
Rhodes noted that rent of the Section 42 affordable housing tenants does not decrease even if their income decreases or they are not earning up to the anticipated WHEDA. Rhodes said “in order to really consider something affordable, basing it off someone’s income is the best way.”



And because rents in Section 42 units are based on area median income, “rent continues to go up if those income levels in our community continue to go up,” which regularly happens in Dane County, Rhodes said.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Quick Guide to the Pell Grant

May 15, 2019
Plenty of people who dream of having a college degree to help improve their lives can't afford the financial burden associated with pursuing higher education. As a result, their only way to leave behind a life of poverty or dissatisfaction in a current career field through additional studies is to earn a scholarship, take out loans, apply for one or more grants or rely on some permitted combination of these tactics.

A Pell Grant is a federal option that students never have to repay. The idea behind this and other grants is that a student's degree status typically leads to a high-paying job that eventually "repays" the subsidy by benefiting individuals and society overall. For example, low-income students who achieve college or trade degrees and certifications often earn more money, which means that they pay more taxes. They also support local and national economies through higher spending and typically use their educations in ways that better the lives of others.

Before you apply for a Pell Grant, make certain that you fulfill all of the following eligibility requirements:

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Citizenship Status

Any student who applies for a Pell Grant must be a U.S. citizen or a national born in a territory overseen by the United States such as American Samoa, Swains Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. A permanent resident who is not a citizen and certain other non-citizens can also apply. Every applicant must have a valid Social Security Number.

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Financial Need

The Pell Grant is only available to students who show that they're eligible for "need-based" financial aid, such as extremely low-income students. When a student applies for a Pell Grant and other types of federal financial aid, information that the student supplies, such as their income, household size and their assets, is used to determine if the applicant is eligible. For younger applicants who still live at home or count as dependents while living elsewhere because of their age and other factors, a financial aid representative considers the amount of money that an applicant and their family are capable of contributing to educational expenses. The total Expected Family Contribution is usually based in part on the incomes of the student's parents and spouse, if applicable, and any financial obligations to other dependents, including siblings and grandparents. Several line items are not included in the calculation like retirement savings and primary home equity. To determine an applicant's financial "need," the financial aid representative then subtracts the EFC from the estimated Cost of Attendance.

Education Background and Plans

Applicants must have at least a "good" academic background and a high school diploma, the equivalent GED certificate or some other approved documentation that shows that they meet the basic educational requirements to enter a higher education program. Beyond one exception, applicants aren't typically eligible for a Pell Grant if they previously earned a degree through an approved educational institution. They can only use the funds toward an undergraduate two-year associate's degree or four-year bachelor's degree program or certain professional licensure graduate programs. Those who are eligible must use the funds at only one of more than 5,000 approved postsecondary education colleges, universities, vocational schools and approved institutions. The cost of an education at the school of choice and part-time or full-time student status are also considered when determining if an applicant qualifies for a Pell Grant.

Miscellaneous

Applicants can't have any outstanding federal loans or grant refunds. They also can't receive the Pell Grant if they already received a Presidential scholarship or any category of full scholarship. Male applicants must be registered for Selective Service if they are 18 to 25 years of age. Otherwise, the lack of registration makes them ineligible for any federal student financial aid.

The Application

To apply for a Pell Grant, you merely need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA form. You can contact the Federal Student Aid Center that manages the application process by using one of the methods outlined here and ask for a hardcopy of the form that you can complete and then mail back. You can download the form as an editable PDF and then mail it back. Lastly, you can complete the form entirely online via the Federal Student Aid's FAFSA page.

You must file before the current year application deadline so that any Pell Grant or other financial assistance monies arrive on time before the start of your next semester. Since the FAFSA requires current income information, you and your parents or spouse, if applicable, must also have previous year taxes completed before you file. To make filling out the application an easier process, locate all necessary tax returns, bank statements, W-2 forms and current pay stubs, your driver's license and Social Security card and a list of countable assets.

For more information about FAFSA and completing the form, visit the FAFSA®: Applying for Aid page. For more information about applying for a Pell Grant, check out the Federal Student Aid's Federal Pell Grants page. You can also find out even more information about these and other types of financial aid by reviewing the current year Federal Student Aid Handbook as a downloadable PDF file.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

LIHEAP Can Help Pay the Utility Bills When You Can’t

April 16, 2019
LIHEAP is an energy assistance program that was developed over 30 years ago by Congress to assist those who need help with utility bills.

The program, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Service and is operated under state agencies.  LIHEAP operates with the federal grant money they receive, as well as private dollars, in order to provide low-income households with assistance for their utility bills.  This program started in the Northeast to address the rising heating costs in the area but soon became prevalent around the country.

In the beginning, LIHEAP only offered help for fuel or electricity bills. The program has since expanded to ensure that low-income families receive the help they need all-year long to live in safe conditions. More than seven million households have been helped since the start of the program. The majority of those who received help have been the disabled and elderly, as well as families who have young children in the home.



Understanding How LIHEAP Works

Those who apply and qualify for LIHEAP will be eligible to receive government assistance to use towards cooling and heating costs. There is also additional support available to those who have energy emergencies, such as in the event of a natural disaster or extreme cold or heat. This program allows for the working poor to receive the assistance they need when they cannot pay their utilities. As many families often have to choose between paying their utility bills or buying necessities such as food and medicine, LIHEAP offers a way to do both.

A grant from LIHEAP also provides low-income families and individuals assistance with residential weatherization projects that can help keep their utility bills low to begin with. They also offer educational programs that are related to energy consumption and savings. The LIHEAP program aims to improve all cooling and heating safety issues in homes that need help. They also aim to prevent any medical issues that can arise because of unsuitable temperatures in the home.

LIHEAP Qualification Guidelines

Every state varies when it comes to the rules of LIHEAP. However, these benefits are usually available for families dealing with a wide range of energy issues. One example is renters who are living in public or subsidized housing. These individuals will still be eligible for LIHEAP if they meet the income guidelines. The government may either provide the assistance directly to the renter if he or she is responsible for the bills, or they may give it to the landlord if the property owner is responsible for heating and cooling costs, allowing them to charge their tenants less rent.

Individuals are typically able to receive LIHEAP help even when they are receiving assistance from other programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Those receiving help from the Veterans Administration or Social Security may also be eligible.

An individual can receive LIHEAP assistance when they are employed, as long as they do not earn more than the maximum income limit. This limit varies state to state.




LIHEAP Assistance Amounts

The amount of assistance that a person will be given from the LIHEAP program will vary greatly depending on a few factors. One is the state that they reside in and the other is their circumstances. Generally, the amount is determined by the income of the person or family, how many people are residing in the home, and how much heating and cooling costs are. All wages of the adults living in the home are typically considered when applying for LIHEAP.

Other Services Available Through LIHEAP

There are other LIHEAP services that may be available to homeowners and renters depending on their specific location. To find out more, contact the state agency responsible for assistance programs. In some cases, LIHEAP funds may be provided to those who are in danger of having their utilities cut off. Renters and homeowners may also find assistance that will help them replace inefficient air conditioners and heaters in the home, which will reduce the utility bills in the future. LIHEAP and other programs may also provide help to those who have suffered through a natural disaster, such as a tornado, flood, or hurricane.

Lifeline Program Promotes Equality in Communication

April 16, 2019
Lifeline is a federal benefit that lowers the monthly cost of phone or internet service.

Safelink Wireless

If you get Lifeline for phone service, you can get the benefit for one mobile phone or one home phone, but not both.  If you get Lifeline for internet service, you can get the benefit for your mobile phone or your home connection, but not both.  If you get Lifeline for bundled phone and internet service, you can get the benefit for your mobile phone bundled service or your home bundled service, but not both.




If you are part of a family that the government considers 'low-income,' there are programs available to you that can help you receive a free phone. These programs will typically help connect your phone to eligible, equally free services as well.

All new subscribers must demonstrate that they are eligible. In some states, a subscriber’s eligibility may be able to be confirmed through a database. Where a database is not available, subscribers must show proof of eligibility by demonstrating that they meet the income qualifications or participate in a qualifying program listed above.


Under FCC rules, you may only be enrolled in a single LifeLine program per household. However, in the event you are receiving service from another provider and want to change your LifeLine benefit, it is easy to switch. Once approved, you can even keep your phone number. After you apply, you can transfer your LifeLine service from the current provider and you can begin to enjoy the benefits provided under the terms of the Lifeline program.

You might be able to use any one of the following programs to establish at least one landline at a fraction of the usual cost. In addition, they might be able to help you and your family get additional minutes per month for each phone as well as provide you with the phones themselves. The terms and conditions for each program will vary, and not every program is available in every U.S. region. We recommend that you check availability when you're looking into these matters.

1. Safelink Wireless

If you're approved for the Safelink program, you'll get a free cell phone and the number of free minutes you receive depends on the plan you choose.

As long as you qualify for the service according to state regulations, there are no other restrictions other than that your phone line must be based in your place of residence and under the legal name of the qualified customer.

LifeLine customers are required to make at least one call or send one SMS message every month or risk being de-enrolled from the program.

Virgin Mobile helps to provide low-income families with free phone services via its Assurance Wireless program. If you are approved for the Assurance Wireless program, you'll get a free phone complete with unlimited texting and 500 minutes per month for taking calls. Although the Assurance program was originally only offered in just five states, it has recently grown to encompass several more.

The Toll Limitation Service, or TLS, is now partnered with both LIfeline and Link Up services to provide resources to low-income families still in need of a landline. This program aims to provide those in need with the non-cellular services that other companies might not be able to offer. Lifeline is available through several phone carries and telecommunications companies. It can save members a minimum of $10 per month and cover a portion of start-up costs. The program covers up to $30 of these costs and you have the option to borrow up to $200 at no interest for a year.


Other Services for Single Parents

Single parents raising children on small budgets can qualify for several programs via the government. The SNAP program, formerly the Food Stamp program can help you with groceries and there are housing programs to help with shelter and utility bills. You may also qualify for medical programs and childcare assistance. You can call 211 to learn about the programs offered in your region.

To apply, please visit Safelink Wireless

Understanding Government Grants

April 16, 2019
Navigating Government Funded Assistance Programs

Those who are enduring hardships or financial struggles might find assistance from various government aid options. This is also beneficial for students who wish to pursue a higher education, or for people who are forced to deal with the skyrocketing medical costs. Those who usually look for government aid and assistance make the major mistake of thinking they are entitled to the aid. However, the truth of the matter is that government aid is only provided to the individuals that the government thinks has a good reason to need it. There is no one in the world that is guaranteed this government aid just for being alive.




In fact, this government aid is not just “free money” that the government just gives out at random times or just for anyone dealing with a hardship. The truth is that there are many programs out there that are designed by the government specifically to serve a purpose of both relief and aid. These created programs are set to cover a wider range of needs that the government thinks is necessary to provide the aid. Many of the programs include things like health care, job training, infant care, nutrition, and education. The programs are each funded by the government, and they have the right to distribute this aid to anyone that has a specific need. In this way, it is easier for the government to distribute the aid to people, instead of fielding any general requests for the help from anyone out there that thinks they need it.

In order to receive the aid, the applicant needs to fill out and file the application for the specific program in which they need the aid. Along with the application, the applicant must also meet the strict requirements for eligibility. Most of these aid programs do not offer cash options.
The government benefits website is not designed to provide any government aid directly to the individual, but instead, it is used to find the government benefits program that you might be eligible for. Sometimes, these programs are vital to a family, especially if they are struggling to survive financially. Having many children and several bills can make it difficult to get government aid, but it can help makes the ends meet in several ways.

If you choose to use this website, you need to head to the website and choose from one of two options: browsing benefits and the benefits finder.

The Benefits finder is a simple questionnaire that will ask the individual about their current situation, why they are searching for aid, and more. By answering all the questions along with the survey, you will be provided with a set of benefits that you might be eligible for. This questionnaire works by searching through the government aid programs, which makes it much easier for finding the appropriate programs for your needs.

Browsing benefits is a service that allows you to search for the benefits you might be eligible for. You can simply use the search feature by going to the website, finding the Browse Benefits tool, and browse according to the categories of assistance. If you want, you can easily arrange the list by state, category, or Federal agency in order to better help you find the best program for your needs.

Obtaining Grants

Unfortunately, the government benefits website can’t help you obtain the government grants that you want. These awards are not designed to give personal benefits or assistance instead of toward organizations or individuals. To apply for the government aid, you need to go to the grants government website to find the available grants to apply for them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the website know which aid programs I might be eligible for before applying?
The website uses a series of complex software options that cross-reference your specific answers to the questionnaire with the available programs list. While there are more than 1,000 Federal funded programs out there, the software will check with each of them to ensure that you match with them. When you answer more questions, you will get a higher accuracy in the system. This also helps you match with more programs. The first set of questions are the only ones required, but many people recommend that you answer all questions possible in order to maximize your potential benefits.
Why does my specific surgery mention that I “might” be eligible?




Since the aid is never a guarantee until it is approved by the government, you can never know for sure whether you are eligible or not. The only way you can fully know if you are eligible is by completing an application. Benefit eligibility is also an ever-changing situation, so things like birthdays, deaths, or accidents can change your specific eligibility.

There are a few individual grant opportunities out there that might better help you get aid where you need it. Some of these opportunities will require a certain eligibility as well. The Rural Rental Assistance, Good Neighbor Next Door Program, Disaster Relief Assistance, and Housing Loans and Grants are just a few of the individual programs available right now. If you want to search for the full list of housing grant opportunities as well as other benefit opportunities, you can go to the government website, using the browse feature, and look through the programs until you find the one that best fits your needs financially. This website is also helpful for getting your application finished.

 To apply, please visit Benefits.gov.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Millions of Homeowners Qualify for $4,000 Rebate

April 12, 2019

When you consider the rate at which inflation is still on the rise, job seekers keep hunting for ever
elusive employment and families barely survive, you may wonder whether the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008 was actually solved. Given the hard economic times, many homeowners are tempted to shelve home repairs for later. Unfortunately, things are only bound to worsen when properties deteriorate.

If you are a homeowner who finds it difficult to make ends meet and you do not know how to make the necessary improvements in your home, do not lose hope. The following programs can help you qualify for a rebate worth up to $4,000.


Dealing with Tough Times

Your home structure may already be carrying a lot of burden depending on your circumstances. Your elderly parents and college graduate may be living with you because of the challenging economic times, not to mention that you also have other concerns in the same hard times.

Apart from carrying out some necessary home repairs and general maintenance, you may need to add space to accommodate all the people living with you. You may be considering replacing some things in the home to reduce your budget in the long run, such as energy-saving equipment. Apart from replacing existing appliances, you may consider installing new ones, such as a home security system so that your family can sleep peacefully. If you are still a young couple, you may have to consider a new member of your family.

No matter how stretched your budget may be, you should not postpone necessary repairs. If you neglect your roof until it starts leaking, for instance, you will be forced to spend more to repair it.

Defaulting Nightmare

Banks may sweet-talk you into taking a loan, and you may have a great relationship when you are making regular repayments. However, you may discover that you turn into a great enemy overnight when you miss even a single repayment. You will have to pay what you already owe (including interest, of course) plus fine for defaulting, and you are likely to receive “courtesy calls” at the most inappropriate times.

Prohibitive Interest Rates

Many homeowners with mortgages are not eligible for the HELOC or home equity line of credit. Many of those who qualify are put off by the high rates of interest. Personal loans do not suit those with high student or credit card debt because the high interest rates would counter the benefits of their loans.

Does this mean that the situation is hopeless?

The US government has put various measures to help you out of your predicament. Improving your home will not just benefit you, and the politicians are aware of this fact.

Improving your home will increase its value, which will in turn benefit property taxes. You will hire people to carry out the necessary improvements and increase employment in the process. A conducive environment will not only make your family happy but also more productive.

Home improvement is a win+win+win undertaking.

Cash-Out Financing

Any loan that you take against your home is considered to be secured because the home itself is the collateral. Since you are applying for a secured loan, you will get a relatively low interest rate. With cash-out financing, you are likely to get more money than you need for home repairs, giving you the opportunity to fulfill other financial obligations.

The American government offers loans with low interest rates, thanks to its size. Since the government understands the value of improving your home, you are likely to qualify for one of the following programs.

It is estimated that about 700,000 Americans are qualified to receive the rebates, but many of these people have not used the opportunity. It is important to understand that you can qualify for the savings even if you refinanced recently.

You do not need to pay anything to qualify for the government programs. Different brokers avail the programs, which you can freely review without any obligation to accept them.

The government understands the importance of home improvement, but you must do your part as a responsible homeowner. You have the home that needs improvement and Uncle Sam provides the money to improve it.

Low Income Families: All About Housing Assistance

April 12, 2019


In middle of the Great Depression, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was started to assist low-income families in finding affordable options for housing. Since then, HUD has expanded its assistance to include rent subsidies for lower income families and the construction of housing units.

The Begninning Of Section 8 Housing

In 1974, Congress passed The Housing and Community Development Act. This act helped low-income families locate and afford safe housing by subsidizing part of their rent. This act was later labeled the Section 8 Housing Program. The program allowed renters to put only 30 percent of their entire income toward rent. The Federal Government covered the remaining 70 percent by compensating the landlords.

The Addition of Subcategories to Section 8

Originally, the Section 8 Program consisted of three separate subcategories - Existing Housing, New Construction and Substantial Rehabilitation. A new subcategory, Moderate Rehabilitation, was added in 1978. In 1983, another subcategory known as the Voucher Program was added on. A final subcategory, the Project-Based Certificate Program, was added in 1991. Each of these subcategories were created with the intention of determining if landlords were eligible to participate in the Section 8 Program.


Section 8 Housing - Who Is In Charge?

Individual states regulate Section 8 Housing. Each state's particular Housing Authority determines the amount of funding available for programs. The amount of funding, availability of programs, and budget fluctuates frequently due to changes in the money provided by state Housing Authorities. However, subsidies already in place have had their funding renewed by Congress.
Housing Voucher Program

The Housing Voucher Program was established for families with extremely low incomes, the elderly, or disabled people. These groups are eligible to receive subsidies that help them live in safe, affordable, clean housing. The vouchers can help tenants find housing - whether an apartment, townhouse, or single-family home - best suited to their needs.

The Housing Authority in each individual state sets the eligibility requirements. Factors such as the size of the family and gross annual income help determine a family's eligibility. Both citizens of the United States and non-citizens with an appropriate immigration status are eligible for vouchers.
What Does the Application Process Involve?

To be determined as eligible for a voucher program, applicants are required to provide the Housing Authority with proof of their income and the immigration status for all family members listed on the application. The Housing Authority then contacts banks, employers, and family members to verify that all eligibility requirements are met and to set the total amount of the subsidy.

Waiting List for Vouchers

Since vouchers are highly sought after, the majority of eligible applicants are placed on a waiting list until the necessary funding is available. Once funding becomes available, families on the wait list are contacted and can proceed with obtaining a voucher.

The following situations may cause a family to be positioned at the top of the waiting list:
They are currently homeless
They are residing in dangerous or substandard housing
Their total rent is over 50 percent of their entire income
They have lost their housing without choice

Families dealing with these situations are placed at the top of the list. Qualifications and eligibility requirements are set by each state's Housing Authority and vary from state to state.
Participating Landlords - What Are the Requirements?

People who qualify for vouchers must choose housing in accordance with the Housing Authority's particular codes and requirements. Participating landlords are required to allow the site to be inspected to confirm it complies with the Voucher Program. If the premise meets the standards, a voucher will be approved.

Since landlords can choose to avoid participating in the Section 8 Voucher Program, some landlords may not accept vouchers. Participants in the Section 8 Voucher Program must confirm that their potential landlord is aware of the program and willing to receive vouchers.
Families with vouchers are required to notify Section 8 of any changes in income or family size. Failing to notify the Housing Authority of these changes can be considered fraud and can result in losing the voucher.

You can apply for benefits here:  Benefits.gov

The Good Neighbor Next Door Program

April 12, 2019

Basic Overview of the GNND Program

Who Is Eligible?
  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Firefighter
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Teacher employed full time
(Must be current or prospective homeowner)



The Good Neighbor Next Door program gives qualified individuals an opportunity to purchase homes with a significant 50 percent discount.  It's intended to encourage community helpers to move into the same communities that they provide a service. Teachers of public school students, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and police officers are encouraged to participate in the program to improve neighborhoods.

The discount is applied toward the appraised value of the home, and participants must make the purchase within the seven days that it's listed. If a home is currently appraised at $300,000, the GNND program would allow qualified candidates to purchase the property for only $150,000. The buyer may also take advantage of an FHA-insured mortgage to finance any acquisition expenses, such as major home repairs and closing costs. It's required that the purchaser use the home as their primary residence for at least three years to fulfill the entire agreement. There are no restrictions once the three years have past if the owner decides that they would like to remain in the home, rent it out to a tenant, or sell it for a profit.

Qualifying for Participation

An applicant must hold a full-time job in a position that promotes a safer, stronger community. Participants may be employed at a state accredited school, a local government division, a larger government division (federal or state, for example), or Indian tribal government. You cannot be eligible for the program if you or your spouse own a home, you have owned a home in the past year, or if you have already obtained a home through the Good Neighbor Next Door or any similar program.

Guide to Acquiring a Home

Successfully purchasing a home truly relies on receiving a timely notification of homes available in your community. The homes listed under the GNND program are only offered for a total of seven days, so it's a good idea to request text and email notifications. There is an equal opportunity for all qualified participants to apply for a listed home, and one candidate will be selected randomly to purchase the specific property. A real estate agent will be assigned to each applicant so that they can officially place their name into the drawing. The agent can also get started on the pre-qualification process with various mortgage lenders to find any additional programs that reward community helpers.

What Are the Odds of Being Selected?

Although it's difficult to predict the exact odds of being awarded, there are plenty of homes that go to the only interested participant. The program doesn't sell all of the homes that are listed because of the short seven day application period. No special privileges are given to individuals with a specific job title as long as you are a qualified participant. Your odds of being selected only decrease based on the amount of people that apply for the same property.

Officers of the Law

Police that wish to take part in the GNND program may only apply for properties within the area that they service on a typical day. You must get verification from your employer that you work full-time in law enforcement for a qualifying division of the government. This may include a parish, state, local, or federal government agency that requires that you uphold the law and make arrests for violations. Indian tribal government employees can also take part in the program, but there are law enforcement agents that are ineligible. The GNND home program does not allow dispatchers, law enforcement employed at private corporations or schools, or civilian employees to participate in most cases.

Public School Teachers

Any educator at a state-accredited public or private school may enter the lottery for homes within the district that they teach. The boundaries are determined by the service area of the employer, and they must also verify that you work full-time as a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade classroom teacher. Property that you apply for must also be within the same area as the students of your district.

Emergency Medical Technicians and Firefighters

A firefighter or EMT must be employed full-time at a station or emergency medical services unit of an official government agency, and they must service the area that the property is located. First responders cannot qualify for the program if they work for a privately owned company.

In order to participate, you must follow the guidance on HUD's Good Neighbor Next Door web page.

To read more about this program, go to this page



Government Grant Scams to Avoid

April 12, 2019
Whether through a television or internet ad, or an unsolicited phone call from an official-sounding agency, most people have heard about so-called “free grants” that can be used for paying bills, buying a house, college tuition, or any number of other costs. Whatever the pitch, these ads and phone calls almost always state that all you have to do to qualify for free money is fill out an application, one that is guaranteed to be approved.


According to the Federal Trade Commission, the agency charged with protecting the nation’s consumers from dishonest business practices, these free grant offers are almost always scams.
Sometimes scammers take out ads in newspapers or on internet sell-and-trade sites, where they post toll-free phone numbers offering more information. Other scam operations employ telemarketing tactics, except that instead of calling from a legitimate company, these con artists use fake titles and lie about their products. Many claim to be calling from government agencies, such as the “Federal Grants Agency,” or another official-sounding office. They then ask a few preliminary questions and tell you that you’ve qualified, setting the stage for their swindle. According to the FTC, these calls are always from con artists, as no federal agency will ever contact a consumer in this way.

After informing the consumer that they have “qualified” for a grant, the scammer will ask for bank account information, supposedly to enable the government to deposit funds in the consumer’s account. In other cases, they ask for credit card information, or ask the consumer to wire money to cover “processing fees.” While their methods vary, one thing is certain: those who wire money or share bank and credit card information will never see that money again, no matter what the “representative” promises.

To avoid becoming a victim of a grant scam, the FTC advises consumers to take the following precautions:

1.Never share your banking or credit card information. Scam operators are adept at convincing people to share their information. The bottom line is that you should never give your information to anyone, unless you know the company and what the information will be used for.

2.Never pay for a “free grant.” No legitimate company, and certainly no government agency, is going to charge you for something that’s supposed to be free. Government agencies will never ask you to pay a fee to process a grant, nor will they charge you for a list of legitimate grant-awarding agencies. Those resources are free and available to the public at any library, or online at www.grants.gov.

3.Always check the name of the agency. Any scammer can come up with an official-sounding name, like the “Federal Grants Agency,” an agency that doesn’t exist. Do a quick internet search or check the blue pages in your phone book.

4.Know that phone numbers can be disguised. Today’s technology allows con artists to manipulate the way their phone numbers appear on caller I.D. Although the call may appear on caller I.D. to be coming from the nation’s capital, it could really be coming from any location on the planet.

5.Streamline the calls you accept. To decrease the number of unsolicited telemarketer calls you receive, register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222. In addition, there are a number of smart phone apps that allow you to block unwanted calls.

6.Contact the Federal Trade Commission. If you believe you have already been the victim of a scam, you can file a complaint with the FTC. Whether the scam originated online, or over the phone, the agency will register your fraud complaint in an international law enforcement database known as Consumer Sentinal. Call 1-877-382-4357 or go to ftccomplaintassistant.gov for help.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Missing Money Finder Guide

April 11, 2019
Missing Funds You May Not Know You Still Can Access

There are various reserves of money that people are entitled to but many of them are not aware of this which makes them not to add such money to their funds that they actively draw from every day. The major reason people have missing money is because they never realize they had yet to formally claim money that was awarded to them in the past and is still waiting for them now.
There are billions of measures of missing funds and assets that can still be taken by their rightful owners in the US. Despite this fact, the government does not take it upon themselves to contact people to come and claim their missing funds. This is one of the reasons it is wrong to trust phone calls or emails from parties claiming to be the US government and claiming that they can freely send the person some money that was supposedly overlooked in the past.

To start with, you should first put in your own effort to look into the missing funds matter without having to pay someone else to do it on your behalf. You should start by looking over every place you have either lived or worked at within your current state of residence. Then, you should broaden your search to other states that you had previously lived in. If you find that you had left behind a safe deposit box, a deposit you may have given to a prior landlord, or a check you had received from a prior employer you once worked overtime at, you will have to determine whether that will be turned over to you by either the local district in question or the state's government.

The subject of unclaimed retirement money is inclusive in missing funds; it is common for someone switching employers to fail to realize that the 401(k) plan maintained at their last place of work is not active at their new place of work. Missing funds can be searched for on the websites of companies that provide 401(k) plans. You can search for pensions that have been sent to you at the company which you were employed at the time; if that company has closed, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is the best website you can visit to search for missing pension funds which protects non-state pensions.

Tax refunds are part of the missing funds people claim. IRS retains possession of these refunds and can award them to people who visit its website and follow its instructions on how to claim them. If you have handled home mortgaging matters through it in the past, there may also be a refund waiting for you at the Federal Housing Administration. Refunds from the FHA can be awarded for various reasons such as refinancing a loan you originally received from it and mistakenly paying more for your home's mortgage insurance than necessary because of some overlap between different kinds of insurance payments. Note, however, that there is only a six-year window within which this money can be claimed before it will fall under the ownership of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Other sources of missing funds can come from mature savings bonds that you had never redeemed and insurance coverage for accounts you maintained at financial institutions that have since gone under. You find missing funds in savings bonds by searching on the website of the US Treasury Department. If you had an account at a bank that has since closed down, you can look into the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to see if it will pay you insurance for that account; it provides up to $250,000 in insurance coverage. Likewise, if you had an account at a credit union that has since shut down, you can look at the National Credit Union Administration's online resources to see if it can pay out insurance coverage for your losses.

How to Retrieve Life Insurance Money

April 11, 2019
Unclaimed Life Insurance Money Information

Many people die without informing their family members of the life insurance policies they have taken out. It is not always easy to find life insurance policies that were not claimed, but regardless, unclaimed life insurance policies are worth searching for. Statistics have shown that over 600 people die without claiming their life insurance policies with an average of $2000. Life insurance companies try as much as possible to locate people; various laws make this process difficult and these forces insurers into using social security numbers for tracking.

The first thing about searching for life insurance that has not been claimed is to be sure you are eligible for it. Before searching, a person must ensure that they are the beneficiary of the policy. By law, insurance companies can only share information with eligible beneficiaries. In some cases, the insurance company may refuse to communicate or share data, which means the person, will be unable to claim any benefits.

Make sure you look for the right paperwork while searching for your unclaimed life insurance. If a family member died in the recent past, this is the easiest route to find paperwork. The personal files of the deceased should also be examined. Bank statements will indicate if any premiums have been paid to an insurance company.

The next thing to do when searching for unclaimed life insurance is to search for an insurance company. When there is an existing policy, the insurance company should be contacted as soon as possible. The company will be able to assist the person in locating the policy. If the company is unreachable, the next step is contacting the insurance department of that specific state.

Looking in the correct state is needed when searching for unclaimed life insurance money. Make sure you know the state which the life insurance was purchased from. A family member that died in a state might have purchased life insurance from a state where they formerly lived so it is necessary to know the state so as to claim the right life insurance money. Another reason is that there is a possibility the life insurance company went out of business or was acquired. You can get needed information by visiting the state insurance commissioner in such a situation.

Checking with previous employers can also help in claiming life insurance money. Previous employers are an excellent source of information because many people buy their policies through the companies they work for. While most of these policies are "term policies," meaning they are only valid for the length of the employment period, people do sometimes keep them going after moving on. This is why contacting previous employers is so helpful.
Finding financial connections can go a long way I claiming life insurance money. If the deceased family member worked for an insurer, an accountant or a financial planner, those entities can help with policy information, even if they did not issue the policy or have any direct connection to it.

You can then use missing policy locators to locate your local insurance office claim life insurance money. All you need to do is to submit a request for records search will soon reveal if a person is a legitimate beneficiary.

There are unclaimed property files that you can check to find your unclaimed life insurance money. When money is unclaimed, it will eventually end up in a state's unclaimed property office. The person who is searching should check this office in the state where the policy was issued. An insurance rating agency may also be of help in finding a policy.

A large database that contains life insurance application data is the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) and it is a good tool for searching for unclaimed life insurance money. This service is not free; therefore, it should not be your first option when you are looking for unclaimed life insurance money.
Anyone who takes out a life insurance policy should clearly indicate who the beneficiaries are in their will or by some other legal method. The insurance company should have as much information as possible about the beneficiaries, especially the names, addresses and social security numbers of those people. The more data that is provided, the easier it is for the insurance companies to contact people. It also makes it easier for people to search later on, if necessary.