Need Help To Pay Your Bills? 6 Ways to Get Financial Assistance
7 MIN READ
Published October 29, 2023 | Updated November 20, 2023
If you’re finding yourself short on cash at the end of each month, ignoring your situation isn’t a solution. Not paying your bills can be a major source of financial stress, and the best way to regain control of your finances is by implementing healthy money management practices, such as budgeting, tracking expenses, and paying off debt.
However, if you’re going through a rough patch and need help paying bills, many organizations offer financial assistance programs to help you cover routine bills. Learn more about the specific resources and programs that can help you pay your bills.
6 Tips to Help You Pay Your Bills
Whether you’re struggling to pay your bills due to job loss, illness, or mounting debt, you’ll find the resources you need to help you get back on your feet below. Many charities and financial assistance programs can help you pay for housing, medical bills, utilities, and more.
1. Seek Financial Assistance
If you need help paying bills, we recommend learning more about financial assistance programs in your community that you may qualify for. The government federal benefits website is a good starting point for finding federal assistance programs.
You can also contact United Way’s free resource hotline at 2-1-1 to find local organizations and resources that provide critical services. To find specific benefits available where you live, contact your state’s social service agency to learn more about state benefit programs. Read below to find our recommended resources for housing, utilities, and food assistance.
If you’re at risk of foreclosure or eviction, talk to your lender or landlord and explain your situation. They may be willing to cooperate with you and grant you some time to catch up with overdue payments. There are also a number of programs If you need temporary housing assistance, we recommend the following resources:
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers homeowners loan modification, refinancing, and forbearance programs to make mortgage payments more affordable.
- St. Vicent de Paul offers mortgage and rental assistance.
- The Pathway of Hope program by the Salvation Army offers rent payment assistance.
- Gradient Gives Back Foundation can offer needy families a full year’s mortgage or rent payments.
Utility companies often have programs to help those who are struggling to keep up with payments and at risk of utility shut-off. If you need help paying bills, you can call your utility providers to see if they offer such programs. We also recommend these additional resources that may help:
- Dollar Energy Fund offers utility assistance to help limited-income households.
- The federal government offers the Lifeline program for discounted phone and internet service for low-income households.
- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps eligible families with energy bills and home repairs.
There are several federal programs and organizations that offer help with groceries and food assistance to low-income individuals:
- Feeding America Network has a number of food banks, meal programs, and food pantries throughout the country.
- The National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479 can connect you with emergency food providers in your community.
- Catholic Charities has a number of community farms, pantries, and food banks that provide access to healthy food.
- The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a state-administered federal program that offers healthy snacks and meals to teens and children.
- Low-income families can get access to healthy food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Assistance for Medical Bills
If you have medical debt due to an emergency or need help paying bills because of a chronic illness, we recommend these organizations dedicated to helping you afford healthcare without the financial burden.
- Medicaid offers free or low-cost benefits to eligible Americans, allowing you to retroactively get coverage for medical bills incurred three months before the application.
- Healthwell Foundation can help with health insurance premiums, travel costs, prescriptions, and deductibles.
- Patient Advocate Foundation can help those with chronic illnesses pay medical bills, resolve billing errors, and more.
- The Patient Access Network Foundation can help those with rare or chronic diseases with medication costs.
- Modest Needs offers grants for emergency or unexpected expenses.
2. Reduce Your Monthly Expenses
If you need help paying bills, start by taking a deeper look at your current expenses and find ways to reduce them. Track every dollar you spend using tools or apps so you can see where you’re spending most of your money. Many apps can be linked to your bank account to track expenses automatically and easily.
Once you have a clear idea of your monthly expenses, finding areas where you can make changes and reduce expenses will be easier. For example, if you have subscriptions for multiple streaming services, cancel some of them to save money.
3. Find Additional Income
There’s only so much money you can save by cutting expenses. You may find that increasing your income is the best way to ease your financial burden. If you need help paying bills consistently, use our proven ways to gain more income.
Apply for a higher-paying job, start a part-time job, online gig, or freelance project. You can also take on a roommate to generate additional income. This will help you stop living paycheck to paycheck and make it easier to pay your bills and even save money.
4. Plan Your Budget
The best way to ease financial worries is to start budgeting consistently so you can get a clear idea of how much you’re earning and how much you’re spending.
“This should be the first step in the process,” shares Teresa Dodson, debt expert and founder of Greenbacks Consulting. “Most people have no real idea what they are spending each month. By writing all of this down, you’ll see you're overspending and find the extra money you need,” Dodson adds.
You can start by calculating your total income from all income sources. Next, review your bank statements to list all your monthly expenses. Use apps and tools like Mint, EveryDollar, and Fudget that make budgeting easier.
Creating a budget will help you understand if you have enough money coming in each month to cover all your bills. Once you’ve made a list of your non-negotiable expenses like housing and food, compare it against your income. The rest of your income can be divided to cover your discretionary spending, debt repayments, and savings.
5. Negotiate With Creditors
If you have a lot of debts and need help paying bills, start by making a plan on how you’ll repay them. With so much of your income going towards debt payments each month, it can be difficult to pay your regular bills.
One option is to negotiate with your creditors to reduce your debt amount and accept a lump sum settlement. If you’ve already missed multiple payments and have defaulted on the loan, your lender may be willing to negotiate a settlement. Your account will be closed once you pay the settlement amount, easing your debt stress.
TurboDebt is experienced at credit card debt negotiation, with over $15 billion in settled debt. With more than 500,000 Americans enrolled in our program, it can help you successfully negotiate with your creditors.
6. Setup Payment Plans
Many lenders, healthcare providers, and other service providers may be willing to set up a payment plan to make your bill payments more manageable. For example, if you have a large medical bill that you’re unable to clear at once, your healthcare provider can set up a payment plan with fixed installments each month until you repay the full amount.
Having a payment plan will also give you a clear idea of the payoff date and how much you’ll need to pay each month to clear your debt. This can help you organize your budget more efficiently.
The Bottom Line on Financial Assistance for Bills
The best way to avoid financial stress is by learning how to budget, setting up an emergency fund, and having good health insurance. However, things don’t always go as planned, and a major illness or job loss can quickly deplete your resources.
Fortunately, if you need help paying bills, there are a number of federal programs and non-profit organizations that can provide help when you’re facing financial hardship. Utilize these resources to take care of necessities like housing, food, and utility bills, and find ways to regain control of your finances.