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Tips for Getting Back on Your Feet After Benefits
Government assistance is typically offered to underprivileged individuals who struggle to afford basic necessities for themselves and their families. Government assistance programs, such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), not only provide benefits, but also provide useful resources to help recipients reach a stage of self-sufficiency.
Additionally, there are other government programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), that serve to alleviate financial stress to ensure that needy individuals and families always have food on their tables.
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However, beneficiaries cannot rely on these programs to provide them with financial assistance forever. Past recipients must learn how to be financially independent and successful to avoid finding themselves in the same unfortunate circumstances. This involves securing a stable job, learning how to make a budget and understanding the best way to build credit.
Furthermore, these individuals must learn how to live within their means while continuing to utilize any government resources still available to them. For example, previous beneficiaries can receive routine health care services at their nearest community health clinic rather than seeking care at a more expensive facility.
Tip #1: Find a Job You Love
Once financial assistance ends, you will need to have a sufficient amount of income to be able to pay for your basic necessities, such as food, clothing and shelter. If you received money benefits under unemployment insurance (UI), you most likely have experience searching for jobs after completing numerous work search logs.
While the process of finding a job can be difficult, setting yourself apart from other applicants will give you the competitive edge you need to land the job you want. The U.S. Department of Labor and Employment website provides a variety of resources for unemployed individuals or individuals unhappy with their jobs.
These resources include free resume samples and often provide job interview preparation. If you would like to learn about some of these valuable resources, download our TANF guide, which includes a link to the resume and interview preparation resources.
Furthermore, job applicants can learn how to properly fill out extensive job applications online and in person. They may also learn how to market themselves successfully by creating impressive cover letter samples, portfolios and work samples. This website also covers important job interview questions to ask and how to effectively negotiate offers.
Once you find a job you love that provides enough income to support your needs, you can work on building your finances and creating a better future for yourself.
Tip #2: Live Within Your Means
Government assistance programs provide benefits to individuals for the sole purpose of fulfilling basic necessities. Once you have reached a point where you are financially independent, it is important that you continue to make your needs your top priorities when budgeting. Any leftover money should be put into a savings account in case of an emergency.
This site teaches you how to make a budget that can help you save money and avoid overspending. Additionally, the site offers a free budget worksheet that accommodates for a variety of expenses, such as housing, food, transportation and groceries. The budget also allows you to keep track of small expenses that can multiply over time, such as laundry and eating out.
By utilizing this budget sheet, you can get a better idea of what costs you need to cut back on. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website provides beneficial advice on how to manage your money better. More specifically, the site teaches you how to become a smart and frugal shopper by comparing your options.
Tip #3: Consider Community Health Clinics
If you no longer receive government benefits for health care services through programs, such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), you may receive low-cost care at your local community health clinic. These free healthcare clinics will provide you with medical care regardless of your ability to pay although the general upfront cost of these services are determined by your household income.
These rural health clinics offer primary and preventative care services to decrease the chances of patients having to be admitted to the hospital due to an increasingly worsening disease or illness. If you have a chronic illness, such as asthma or diabetes, you will be able to receive management services. Monitoring and ensuring that your health is in good standing is vital in guaranteeing that you are fully capable of working and that you will not have to pay for any costly medical bills.
Tip #4: Improve Your Finances
In order to avoid needing government assistance, you must become financially literate and consistently work to increase your credit score and maintain a clean credit report. To do this, you must get rid of any debt you may have that could be hindering your score. This means paying off all credit cards, loans, mortgage payments, and other bills in a timely manner.
The best way to build credit is to obtain a secured credit card that you can use and pay off frequently without exceeding a certain percent of the card’s credit limit.
Any defaults or late payments on your bills or credit card payments can result in a poor credit score and report that can hurt your chances of financing a house or car in the future. You will need a good credit score to buy a car, considering your score determines your interest rate and monthly payment amount.
If you have a credit score that is below average, you will most likely receive a high car payment and interest rate. This can be more difficult to pay, increasing your chances of going into more debt. This is why it is essential that you work to improve your credit score.
Tip #5: Consider Going Back to School
While there are many government resources that can help you find a job, going back to college may expand these resources and opportunities. Many community colleges and universities have career centers that aid in career exploration, building resumes and job interview preparation.
Colleges also hold networking events putting their students in contact with successful alumni. Students can attend educational seminars held by other students and organizations on campus to expand their knowledge on certain skills sets and topics. These topics can range from learning how to manage your money better to how to become an entrepreneur.
Going back to college can help you gain the education needed to further your current career or develop a new career path that will help you find a job you love.
If money is restricting you from attending college, you can apply for scholarships, grants and financial aid through Federal Student Aid (FSA). It is also possible to earn a degree while maintaining a full-time job by enrolling in online classes that allow you to complete your coursework from home.