In the U.S., citizens and politicians alike struggle to determine how involved the government should be in people’s lives. This gets even more complicated when considering the impact the government has on people’s money. Everyone works hard for their cash, and to be told what to do with it frustrates some people.
Government involvement doesn’t always have to be viewed as such a negative thing, though. Sometimes public officials may even be able to help the population save money on necessities like food, schooling, and more. State-subsidized auto insurance is available in California, Hawaii, and New Jersey for those who can’t afford private insurance.
We’ll talk about all of these ways and many others that demonstrate that the government is there to serve the people, not make life harder. This may seem rare, but state-assisted help is actually much more influential than many people realize. Let’s take a look at all the examples.
It can be very difficult for lower-income people to incorporate healthy foods into their diets. When you have a family with young children, this creates a situation that seems impossible for parents to solve. There are several food programs that the U.S. government is known for that can help families not go hungry when they are struggling financially.
Food stamps are probably the most famous federal program for hungry people. If your income is below a certain threshold, you can go on your state’s food stamps program. They will give you a card with a set number of funds for each month, at which point you can buy essentials like eggs, bread, cereal, fruits, and vegetables.
The pandemic made it even harder for people hit by the economic fallout to get the necessities they need to live. Food stamp funds were increased at the beginning of the pandemic, and you may still be able to get more money than previously if you apply now.
If you have a young child who needs school lunches paid for because you don’t have enough money to buy food for your child, let your school know. The majority of public schools in the U.S. have lunch programs that can give students discounted rates.
It’s not always enough for everybody, though, as the income restrictions on these lunches leave a lot of families out of the loop.
Other options can include checking restaurant apps or going to a food bank, especially during the holiday season. Many people are more generous with their donations during Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. These are more community-driven events, though, so if you are looking for government assistance you should stick with the food stamp programs.
Student Loans for College
Student loans get a bad reputation because they are so hard to pay off. In the short term, though, they are possibly the only option many families have to send their children to college. FAFSA is the official federal program that funds college loans for millions of students all over the nation. If you go on their website you may be able to find the right loan package for you.
Try going to a school that’s public, not private. Public universities already receive government funding, therefore their tuition is a lot cheaper than private schools. You can even get federal aid for community colleges and technical schools. This will help you save money in the future as your debt will be much lower than going to university for four years.
State-Assisted Auto Insurance
Auto insurance is one of the most expensive necessities in the U.S. Most states require you to have a policy to drive legally, but not many states help poor people pay for their insurance. Some poorer people choose to skip out on insurance altogether.
You should never drive without an insurance policy because the financial risks you are taking are tremendous. Imagine how much money you’ll have to pay if you don’t have insurance and you get into an accident. You must look into whatever government help you can get when it comes to insurance.
Luckily, states like California, Hawaii, and New Jersey have state-subsidized insurance policies that can be bought at a fraction of the price of most private policies.
New Jersey has a dollar-a-day program that literally sees you only pay a single dollar each day for insurance. You must also be enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program to qualify for the auto insurance programs.
All three programs have an income threshold that needs to be met to qualify for state-funded auto insurance. Fortunately, you can be up to 250% over the poverty limit and still get auto insurance from these states.
Medicaid helps low-income individuals pay for medical insurance. Each state administers its own Medicaid program, so you need to go to your state’s site to find the proper information. Much like the food stamps program, you need to be below a certain threshold to get the benefit of Medicaid medical insurance.
The pandemic has once again encouraged federal and state programs to expand their reach for the time being. If you didn’t qualify for medical insurance through the state before but are still struggling with money, check and see if you are able to get benefits from Medicaid because of the public health emergency.
Social Security in the U.S. has been helping senior citizens retire and have money to live off of for nearly a century now. Everyone pays into the program throughout their adulthood being employed, with a fraction of the income going to the Social Security fund that can be withdrawn partially at 62 and in full at 67.
This is one of, if not the most famous way that the government has helped people financially through the years. People who work for themselves as freelancers or entrepreneurs need to be careful to take money out for Social Security when tax season comes. These people don’t have an employer that does it for them.
Hopefully, you have seen that there are plenty of programs out there for struggling people. You just have to find the right one for your situation if you’re struggling with finances.
Shawn Laib writes and researches for the auto insurance website, AutoInsurance.org. He wants to help low-income people understand the benefits they may be able to receive.