Government programs are available to assist residents in nearly every major part of their lives. Subsidies, loans and grant programs help provide affordable housing, food, health care and education to citizens. Business and retirement assistance are also available for those who qualify. There are a variety of resources on the programs offered by the government and the qualification criteria.
Eligibility for Federal Programs
Each government program has a structured system for application, acceptance and administrating assistance.
Government housing programs are available for both renters and homeowners. Many federal housing grants or loans help people find affordable living arrangements:
- The Section 8 Housing program is structured to low-income families find safe, affordable housing.
- First time home buyer loans can help with down payments, lower interest rates, or place a cap on fees so that a person will be able to purchase their first home.
- Federal Housing Adminstration loans provide insurance to a lender that if a borrower defaults, the lender will still be paid. This can help homebuyers qualify for a loan.
Food assistance programs are structured to meet the needs of low-income families and help combat hunger:
Health Care Assistance
The government sponsors a variety of health care plans and services designed to help different segments of the population:
- One of the largest federal programs that provides assistance for low-income families with children is Medicaid.
- States have similar plans with State Health Insurance Programs (SHIP).
- Children may be eligible for a number of available state and federal health insurance programs.
- Citizens over the age of 65 can qualify for Medicare.
- Medicare D is a prescription drug plan and subset of the Medicare program.
- Senior citizens who may be ineligible for Medicare, might qualify for prescription assistance through the Social Security Administration.
- Veterans are also entitled to health care benefits via the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
The government provides a collection of educational assistance tools that focus primarily on making a college education more affordable via student loans:
- Subsidized loans are offered by the government, allowing students access to interest-free loans.
- Enrolled students might also consider Perkins loans which have a fixed interest rate of 5%.
- The Department of Education and federal government has unsubsidized and subsidized Stafford Loans, to cover graduate education.
Services and resources are also available to students and adults with learning disabilities.
In an effort to continually stimulate new business growth and the economy, a number of departments within the government are dedicated to aiding companies and workers:
- The Small Business Administration has a wide variety of educational and financial resources for business owners.
- Small business loans can provide ready capital for launching a business or expansion.
- The U.S. Department of Labor also provides work skills training and job placement assistance.
- Entrepreneurs have a number of options for securing public funding.
- Those who can’t work because of injury or illness may qualify for disability benefits.
Senior citizens have several options if they find they need financial assistance:
- After 61 years of age, retired workers can qualify for Social Security benefits that offer a fixed, monthly income.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a grant program that gives cash to seniors over the age of 65, to be used specifically for foods, clothing or shelter. Blind or disabled people of any age may also qualify for these benefits.
Potential Conflicts With Government Programs
Critics argue that some government initiatives infringe on civil liberties pointing to the potential conflict between surveillance programs and people’s right to privacy.
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