Grants and Government Assistance : Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the maximum income you can have to apply for grants?

A: Applying for assistance often requires knowing the exact amount of gross income, or income before deductions, that a person has earned for the past year. If you are over the amount of gross income allowed for a particular grant program then your chances of being awarded the guidance are poor. The maximum income amount allowed is determined by the type of grant you are applying for. Each grant program has its own income scale. Generally speaking, however, most aid programs base their maximum income allowed level on the same table used to determine the poverty line. Therefore most grant programs will not a give an award to someone who has a family maximum gross income level over $20,000 a year for a family of 3. This maximum income amount rises with each additional family member on an average of $5,000 per family member. Therefore a family of 5 could not have a maximum income over $30,000.

Q: What is the turnaround time for government agencies to contact me regarding grants I qualify for?

A: This depends on the type of government programs that you applied for. Each type has its own guidelines for when they finalize determination for eligibility and when they will notify individuals of their eligibility. For example, if you applied for Medicaid then you can expect to wait up to 3 months before receiving an answer. If you applied for a Pell Grant to help you pay for a college education you will generally be notified at least 3 weeks before the semester starts which happens to be when you sign up for classes at most community colleges. If you applied for housing compensation then you may have to wait up to a year before being given an answer as the waiting list for this form of grant assistance is quite long.  If you are concerned about whether you qualify for a grant that you applied for you are always at liberty to contact the agency directly to check on your status.

Q: I make a decent salary and can support my family. I was wondering if there was any assistance that I could receive to get some extra help.

A: Depending on how much you make prior to deductions you may be eligible to receive specific forms of government aide or local assistance from your utility company or religious organization. This is also dependent upon the size of your family. One of the most popular forms of assistance that people often use is the local food closet. This is a great place to supplement some of your pantry when you find yourself short of funds to purchase food for your family. Although you can only access this aide once a month it can definitely prove helpful when you are in a pinch. Some utility companies will also offer assistance such as financial assistance to cover utility costs as long as you meet certain income emergency need requirements. This award is generally limited to one or two months per calendar year.  A budget plan through your utility company may also provide you with the extra help that you need to make ends meet each month.

Q: If I am already receiving government aid, is it possible for me to apply for more?

A: You can apply for as much aide as you wish to apply for however you may not be eligible to receive it especially if it is determined that the aide you are receiving is sufficient for your livelihood. Generally when a person applies for government aid the social worker who files the aide request looks over all of the programs that the person may or may not be eligible for. With this being said, they may not be any additional aid programs available to you at this time. This does not mean that you shouldn’t try to reapply for aide as eligibility guidelines change yearly. What you were not able to qualify for a year ago may be available to you now. You can reapply for additional aid as many times as you want unless it is otherwise stated in the application. For more information on reapplying you should speak to your local Department of Social Services.

Q: I don’t live in the U.S, am I still eligible for the grants on the website?

A: Many of the grants on the website are catered towards US audiences only. However, you are always welcome to see the actual requirements and see if these grants will help in countries outside of the US as well. There is a high chance that many of these grants will not be offered outside the US, but it is always worth a try. If you contact the offices personally and ask them, they may be able to help you out with another benefit that may be applicable in your country.

Q: How can I find a list of places I can go apply for grants?

A: The best place to look is obviously online. Online is the best resource because you can simply conduct an online search and find many, many grants. A great website to look is Fastweb.com. This is a good website because you can conduct a variety of searches after you submit your criteria. You can find exact grants that match with your eligibility requirements.

Q: How to apply for government and non-profit grants?

A: The best way to apply is to actually contact the office directly, or even better, try to go to an office. This way you can talk face to face to a person and be able to talk to them about any personal concerns you may have regarding the application process. Also, discuss everything thoroughly so that there are no surprises during the actual application process. Ask any questions you may have to make sure that you receive the help you applied for.

Q:What is the best way to get fast feed back from grant offices?

A: Receiving fast feedback is quite difficult for some of the grants that have many people applying for them. However, you can make yourself stand out by visiting the office of grant so that you can talk to them personally. This way, there is a higher chance your application will be looked at earlier and you get fast feedback.

Q:Are there any specific grants that my state offers? How can I receive them?

A: Each state offers many great grants that are certainly worth looking into it. The state help for moms is great in the fact that it is local to your state and you may have a higher chance of getting it. Some grants like the HUD, TANF, and food stamps are offered in every state, but many states have other specific grants that they will offer to the residents of the state.

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