6 ways to get free funds from the government

Regardless of who said that "nothing in life is free," he did not consider government projects that help people pay for college, daycare, and new homes. Most of these projects are funded by taxes, so technically you need to pay some fees, but these costs are as close as you get free money from the government.

1. Get help with utility bills

Need help paying for heating or phone bills? These programs may help:

Low-income household energy assistance programs help low-income families pay for heating and cooling. Grants are issued through the states, and states receive funding from the Department of Health and Human Services. Each state has its own eligibility requirements, including income levels.

2. Find money for childcare

Day care is the main expense of many families. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit organization focused on low- and middle-income workers, the annual cost of baby care ranges from $5,000 in Mississippi to $22,600 in Washington, DC.

The Child Care and Development Fund helps to alleviate the burden on low-income families. The fund is administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services to provide funds to states, territories, and tribes for distribution to families to help pay for childcare. Grants are income-based and usually include care for children under the age of 13. Find a contact for your child care and development fund in your state.

3. Recover unclaimed money

This is not free money, but money owed to you. This could be a long-forgotten deposit paid to a utility company, a lost savings bond, unclaimed life insurance, or an unpaid cash check.

These unclaimed funds are handed over to the state government when the owner cannot find it, usually due to a clerical error or the company has an old address filed. Visit unclaimed.org, a website affiliated with the National Finance Association to see if you have money waiting to be picked up.

In FY2017, West Virginia issued more than $12 million in unclaimed funds. Maine's return was more than $18 million, and Florida's return was more than $313 million -- both states set a record.

4. Down payment assistance

You want to buy a house, but you can't afford a down payment. Enter state-based down payment assistance. These grants and loans help you pay the upfront cost of buying a home.

For example, in Nevada, future homeowners are eligible for up to 5% of mortgages to cover down payment and closing costs. Residents of the District of Columbia are eligible for a down payment assistance loan up to 3.5% of the mortgage. Repayment of the loan is only required if the property is sold, refinanced or vacated within the first five years.

Help is not reserved for low-income borrowers. The Nevada grant program is for people with annual incomes below $98,500. Washington plans to limit income eligibility to just over $132,000.

5. Find tax credit for medical insurance

The future of the Affordable Care Act is at best unclear. However, the premium tax credits issued through the program are still valid. They work as follows:

Insurance premiums are available to individuals and families who purchase insurance through the government's health insurance market (healthcare.gov). A letter of credit can be paid directly to your insurance provider, lowering your monthly payment, or paying as a tax credit when you submit your tax return.

6. Apply for a university grant

The University Grant, like the Federal Pell Grant, makes it easier to pay for college tuition. Students eligible for the Pell Scholarship receive a prize of $60,095 in the 2018-19 school year. The exact amount of the award depends on factors including financial needs, attendance costs, and enrollment status. Students can apply for a Pell bursary by completing the Federal Student Aid Free Application Form (FAFSA). The application was also used to obtain grants and scholarships from many countries and institutions.