Getting financial help from the federal government may be easier than you think. Various financial assistance programs are available, from unemployment benefits to affordable healthcare. Depending on the type of assistance you need, you may qualify for a slew of federal aid programs and receive money to help you pay for things like medical bills, groceries and living expenses.
To qualify for one or more financial assistance programs from the federal government, you must typically apply for aid and meet several eligibility criteria. The application and approval processes vary based on the type of program. Continue reading to learn more about government assistance and how you can receive aid.
Millions of Americans receive unemployment benefits to help them make ends meet while looking for a job. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread unemployment across the U.S. and has placed a large financial burden on many American families.
If you need assistance with bills and have recently lost your job, you may qualify to receive unemployment assistance. The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program was created to help workers who get laid off or furloughed by providing them with a portion of their salary to pay for essentials.
To receive unemployment benefits, you must meet the program’s qualification requirements. You can only receive UI if you lose your job through no fault of your own. In other words, you cannot file an unemployment claim if any of the following situations apply to your employment separation:
- You voluntarily quit without cause.
- You are fired for misconduct.
- You are unwilling to find a new job.
Some exemptions may apply. For example, some states that issue unemployment benefits in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic may waive the requirement to look for employment. Typically, you must actively search for work and log your job search activities to receive assistance. However, the pandemic has made it difficult for many to find new jobs, especially those whose jobs were temporarily shut down.
Likewise, an unemployment extension may apply during periods of high unemployment, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally, unemployment benefits only last between 19 and 26 weeks. The federal extension issued by the federal government in 2020 has expired, but there may be future extensions available depending on where you live and the state of the economy.
The amount you can receive in unemployment benefits varies depending on your previous income. Unemployment insurance is NOT meant to cover your salary in full; you will only receive a portion of your weekly paycheck, which is meant to help cover essentials. Each state may calculate your benefit amount differently.
Getting your first unemployment insurance check can take weeks. That’s why it’s crucial to apply as soon as you become unemployed. Many states have UI online application processes to make it easier for you to receive financial help.