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Where to get help

If you have a medical, transportation, home-repair emergency or experience the death of a primary income earner, use this checklist to get help.

Medical Emergency

  • Negotiate the Bill or Set-Up a Payment Plan:  If you take the initiative to contact the health care provider and explain that you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be able to negotiate down the price of the bill.  Oftentimes, the health care provider will at least set up a payment plan so that you can make manageable monthly payments.
  • Charity Care Program:  These programs were designed to help uninsured patients that can't afford to pay their medical bills and don't qualify for government aid, but recently there has been a push to extend Charity Care to patients with health insurance who are still unable to pay. The patient services department of your hospital can help you find out if you're eligible. If you don't qualify, the hospital may offer you a payment plan.
  • Churches and Faith-Based Organizations:  Some churches and faith-based organizations have programs to help people pay their medical bills

Transportation Emergency

  • Negotiate with the Mechanic:  Some mechanics will set up a payment plan so you can pay for needed repairs over time.  You just need the courage to ask.
  • Barter with a friend that knows cars:  Is there someone in your circle that is knowledgeable about cars?  Do you have a skill that you can provide in turn?  Using the barter system might be a win-win for both of you.

Home Repair Emergency

  • Apply for a Grant Through Your City or Town:  Some cities and towns offer grant programs to help struggling homeowners make needed repairs.  Call your City Hall to find out if such a program is in your community.
  • Apply for a Loan Through a Nonprofit:  Certain nonprofit community development corporations offer affordable loans specifically geared toward homeowners that cannot afford needed home repairs.  These loans come with reasonable rates, fees, and repayment options.

Funeral

  • Social Security Administration:  The Social Security Administration provides a one-time lump sum payment of $255 to put towards the cost of a funeral.
  • Contact Your Local Government:  Some local government offices offer assistance in paying for funeral expenses.