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Government Financial Assistance in the US

Government Financial Assistance in the US

Governments all over the world offer economic help in various forms to their citizens for things such as education, healthcare, and housing. In the United States, such government financial assistance takes many forms and can be broken down into the following categories: loans, grants, tax credits, and benefits.

Government Loan

A government loan is typically a lump sum of money that must be used for a specific purpose and then paid back within a certain deadline, often with interest being charged in addition to the principal amount being paid back. Some government loans, such as loans for education, are more broadly available, while others, such as the PPP loan application offered as part of the CARES Act to certain businesses, have more stringent eligibility requirements attached to them. FHA mortgage loans are also a prominent loan offered by the government.

Government Grant

Grants are a second way the government provides financial assistance to those in need. Certain individuals can receive Pell Grants for their education, which differs from education loans in that they don't need to be paid back to the government. But financial assistance isn't the only way government grants are used. Some grants are set up as a form of reward or payment for certain services or jobs performed according to certain criteria. These types of grants, for example for writing a book or doing a certain kind of research, usually have a robust application process.

Government Tax Credits

A third form of economic assistance offered by the US government is the host of tax credits it offers for certain purchases, technology or family growth. The tax credit is offered to farmers who use wind power on their farms. Individuals can receive a tax credit for making use of solar panels on their homes. There is also a tax credit offered for those who purchase an electric vehicle. One of the most well-known credits is the child tax credit (CTC). The CTC is a lump sum of money offered per child in a household to lower that family's taxes owed dollar-for-dollar and, if the credit is larger than the taxes owed, give a tax refund to that family. Of course, a standard tax deduction is also offered by the government for those who don't want to itemize their deductions or whose itemized deductions are less than the standard deduction offered, but these deductions differ from credits in that they are not dollar-for-dollar reductions in the taxes owed by that individual but are simply lessening the amount of their income that is taxable.

Government Benefits

Finally, there are certain kinds of benefits offered by the government to individuals whose income is too low to afford certain things such as food or healthcare. Food stamps are available for those in certain income brackets to pay for food and cannot be used for purchasing anything else. Unemployment benefits can be applied for by those who are out of a job. Medicaid (not to be confused with Medicare) is a healthcare benefit offered to low-income individuals and families. And there are other government welfare programs designed to help families and individuals in need.

This only scratches the surface of these four main types of government financial assistance, and a simple internet search about any of these will yield more specific information about all kinds of economic help available for families in need.

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