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How to Get Help With Bills

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Jenna Davis
|12 min read

Financial Assistance

When trying to get rid of debt, figuring out how to get help with bills can seem like another impossible task.

The good news is that there are plenty of nonprofit organizations and government programs that want to help with housing costs, utility bills, and more. Whether you’re looking at medical bills for cancer treatments or unexpected bills after an emergency, we’ve compiled a list of resources that can help you.

Charities that help with bills

There are many charities that are eager to lend a hand if you’ve run into hard times. Below are some of the most well-known nonprofit organizations that offer financial aid.

Help with car costs from charities

For millions of Americans, a reliable vehicle allows them to travel to work, visit family members, and go to doctors appointments. Without a car, everyday life can screech to a halt. Luckily, there are charities that exist specifically to help individuals and families get from point A to point B safely.

Working Cars for Working Families

This organization distributes cars to families in need, makes low-interest loans for car purchases, and matches savings for down payments. It also provides a searchable database of more than 120 other nonprofits that help families acquire vehicles.

Ways to Work

Ways to Work is a nonprofit that helps thousands of families every year obtain affordable auto loans. Families with low to moderate income with less than perfect credit can access a loan up to $6,000 at an 8% interest rate. The organization also aims to provide over 6,000 families with financial education every year.

Good News Garage

Good News Garage certainly lives up to its name. Founded in 1996, this organization steps in to provide low-income families with transportation. It repairs donated vehicles in the New England region and then turns them over to those in need.

Charities that help with medical bills

Even with insurance, medical bills can be staggering. Without insurance, it may feel like the debt will never get paid off. Many charities understand this struggle and want to help those with overwhelming medical debt. Many can help with everything from figuring out what to do before and after receiving a cancer treatment bill to vision and dental care.

2-1-1

When you’re in crisis, it becomes even more difficult to understand complex health care options or spend time researching free programs. United Way’s 2-1-1 program makes this step less burdensome by connecting people with resources that will help them with a range of issues, from disaster relief to housing needs to health services.

National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC)

The NAFC is made up of 1,200 clinics across the US where struggling individuals and families can seek affordable medical treatment. Whether it’s offering completely free treatments or discounted services, the organization believes affordable health care is a right and not a privilege. It helps fill in the gaps by providing dental, medical, pharmacy, vision, and other health services to those in need.

Healthwell Foundation

Since 2004, the Healthwell Foundation has awarded nearly $900 million in grants to underinsured patients with chronic or life-altering diseases. When out-of-pocket costs are more than patients can afford, the nonprofit steps in to cover everything from copays to deductibles to travel costs.

Family Reach

This nonprofit calls itself a financial lifeline for families fighting cancer. Aside from providing families with financial support for everyday living expenses, it also help families with financial planning so they can avoid the bankruptcy that so often accompanies a cancer diagnosis. Its financial navigators help patients through insurance requirements and any other roadblocks that arise.

Help with utility bills

A brightly-lit home and running water are conveniences that are easy to take for granted until they’re suddenly gone. If you’re struggling to pay utility bills, consider getting help from one of these nonprofits.

The Salvation Army

This reputable organization offers a utility assistance program for those who qualify. Their HeatShare program helps families with electricity, natural gas, and oil and propane costs on a yearly basis.

Modest Needs

For working individuals and families that fall just above the poverty line, one major emergency can mean the difference between a roof over their heads and homelessness. Modest Needs has been working since 2002 to provide temporary financial aid to people who live paycheck to paycheck.

Citizens Energy

Citizen Energy is primarily a power company that is also committed to doing good. It runs a program called Joe-4-Oil that gives 100 gallons of heating oil to low-income individuals in 16 states during the winter. In Massachusetts, it awards families $150 credits to put toward their gas bills. The company installs solar panels for free in California.

Nonprofits that help with housing costs

Housing costs are typically one of the largest monthly expenses on the budget. If you’re having trouble paying that bill when the first of the month rolls around, or if you’re searching for a safe and affordable home, these charities want to help.

Community Action Partnership

The Community Action Partnership strives to combat poverty, improve lives, and change communities for the better. It does this through a number of programs aimed at fighting poverty. It has helped more than 148,000 families find safe and affordable housing.

Volunteers of America

For over a century, this organization has been providing affordable housing to everyone from the elderly to veterans to those with physical and mental disabilities. Volunteers of America offers nearly 500 properties in 40 states and Puerto Rico that struggling individuals and families can call home. The nonprofit houses more than 25,000 people each year.

Mercy Housing

Mercy Housing is passionate about serving low-income families, people with special needs, and the elderly by finding them affordable housing. The organization renovates existing housing and also builds new rental properties. In addition to providing housing, Mercy Housing offers support programs to its residents about finances, employment, and health.

Government assistance with bills

Depending on your situation, government programs can be a lifeline while you get back on track. Federal and state government programs offer assistance for everything from mortgage payments to phone bills to child care assistance.

Help with medical bills from the government

Whether it’s a trip to the emergency room for a sprained ankle or long-term treatments for breast cancer, medical bills can be hefty. If you’re trying to figure out options for dealing with debt, these government programs can make a difference.

PACE

PACE, which stands for Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, helps those 55 and over with health care costs. The program, which falls under Medicaid benefits, helps cover adult primary day care, and home care.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

This government program is specifically geared toward children and teens who come from low-income families. Under CHIP, children up to age 19 whose families make up to $49,200 per year can receive free or low-cost hospital visits, dental care, prescriptions, and more.

Medicare Savings Programs

If you’re having trouble paying deductibles, copayments, premiums, or more, then one of the four programs outlined on the Medicare website may be helpful. Review state-specific requirements on the site and find out if you’re eligible.

NeedyMeds

While this organization is a 501(c)(3), it helps people find government assistance through state-sponsored programs. Simply select your state from a drop-down menu on the organization’s website, and you’ll find a full list of state-specific programs that can help with anything from health insurance to disease screening to general medical care.

Get help paying utility bills

It can be easy to fall behind on monthly utility bills, especially in the summer and winter months when weather is at its most extreme. If you’re finding it tough to pay your utility bills, the following government programs can make sure you have a safe and comfortable home.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

This federally-funded program’s goal is to help low-income households pay their heating and cooling bills and reduce their overall energy consumption. To find out if you’re eligible, start by contacting your state LIHEAP office.

Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers

The Federal Communications Commission understands that not having access to a telephone can hinder job and education opportunities. Its Lifeline program offers a monthly discount of $9.25 on phone bills to low-income individuals and families. Additional discounts are possible if you live on Tribal lands.

Weatherization Assistance Program

The Weatherization Assistance Program gets to the root cause of high energy bills by optimizing the energy efficiency of homes for low-income households. The program focuses on insulating, controlling moisture, and ventilating homes so households can save a yearly average of $283. The program offers weatherization services to 35,000 homes every year.

Mortgage and rent relief government programs

Not being able to make that monthly mortgage or rent payment can cause incredible stress. Thankfully, there are government programs designed to eliminate financial barriers so families can have a safe and affordable place to call home. We’ve listed just a few here.

Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)

This housing program helps low-income families and individuals secure affordable and sanitary housing. Local public housing agencies (PHAs) provide housing vouchers that allow those approved to choose their own housing as long as it meets PHA standards. Individuals or families then pay the difference between the rent and the amount the program covers.

Cash-out Refinance Loan

Through the Department of Veterans Affairs, this mortgage program allows qualified veterans to trade equity from their home for cash to help pay off debt or make home improvements. The program will guaranty loans up to 100% of the value of the home.

Rural Housing Aid

The Rural Development Program helps those living in eligible rural areas make rent or mortgage payments through direct loans and grants. Funds can be used to buy or improve land, build new housing, and purchase and rehabilitate buildings, among other uses.

GoFundMe

Whether it’s a sudden car accident or a devastating house fire that leaves you without a roof over your head, emergencies can wipe out savings accounts and leave you with bills for years to come. Thousands of people launch emergency fundraising efforts through GoFundMe every single day to offset these expenses.

Crowdfunding lets you raise money from your friends, family, and community online. While some people aren’t sure if their need is worthy enough for an online fundraiser, there is no cause too small or too big for GoFundMe.

Why free fundraising makes a difference

Online fundraising is often the quickest and most efficient way to conquer mounting bills so you can get back on your feet. If you aren’t eligible for nonprofit or government assistance, or can’t afford the long waiting period after submitting your application, crowdfunding may be a good option for you.

Setting up a GoFundMe takes just a few minutes, and we make it easy to share your fundraiser with people who can rally around your cause. We also offer a free fundraising platform, which means you can keep more of your donations.

Tips for running a successful fundraiser

Once you’ve launched your GoFundMe, you’ll want to take a few steps to ensure your fundraiser gains maximum visibility and keeps up its momentum. We have a few fundraising tips to help your fundraiser become as successful as possible.

Add visual elements

It’s one thing to tell a fundraiser story through text, but photos can lead to fundraising success by grabbing a donor’s attention right off the bat. Videos are powerful fundraising tools as well, and can tell your story in an even more compelling way than text or images. Try adding a few photos to your fundraiser, or recording a short video about your cause.

Get more eyes on your fundraiser

Sharing your fundraiser with everyone you know is key to its success. Using social media to promote your fundraiser is a great place to start, but it’s certainly not the only way to get the word out. Read our blog post about how to get the local media to cover your fundraiser, or check out our 25 fundraiser sharing tips to amplify awareness for your cause.

Keep up the momentum

If your fundraiser begins to lose steam, it might help to take your efforts offline. Read our blog post with 42 ways to share offline, or learn the dos and don’ts of how to ask for donations to make sure you’re approaching potential donors in the best way. Another way to regain momentum is to post a fundraising update several times each week. This will remind people you still need help.

See how other use GoFundMe to pay bills

When unfortunate circumstances left them in dire straits, these folks found help through crowdfunding.

Olivia Stoy: Transplant & Liv it up!

Olivia was just an average middle school girl living in a small town in Indiana when her world was turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis. After chemotherapy failed to stop the cancer, doctors recommended a bone marrow transplant. Olivia’s brother was a 100% match, but the $350,000 surgery wasn’t covered by the family’s insurance. A friend came to the rescue and started a GoFundMe for them, which raised over $300,000 in just five months.

Oliphant Family car

Jen and her daughter were driving home on a Wisconsin highway when they spotted a car in flames on the side of the road. They pulled over to help and discovered that the family ran into car trouble shortly after being discharged from the hospital. The family’s 5-year-old son Jackson had been in the hospital recovering from a liver transplant. Wanting to help them during a tough time, Jen started a GoFundMe. She raised over $50,000 so the family could purchase a new car and go to doctors appointments.

Find financial relief right now

If you still need emergency help with bills after exploring government and charity programs, GoFundMe can lend a hand. Becoming debt-free doesn’t need to take months or years when you can start raising funds for bills right away through crowdfunding.  Sign up for GoFundMe today and find financial relief so you can focus on what matters.

Start a free fundraiser 

Jenna Davis

About Jenna Davis

I have a passion for storytelling and love creating a variety of content for a wide range of audiences. Once, I frolicked on the beach with about 30 miniature horses. I bring it up every chance I get.

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