If you make a relatively low income, you might think that financial help is only for people who pull in the decent money with good credit. Think again, though. In fact, there is a great deal of financial assistance available for low-income earners. This includes Centrelink loans for those on benefits along with other options from specialist lenders and non-profits. Here’s what you need to know:

What Financial Help Looks Like

Financial help comes in many shapes and sizes. In some cases, it’s debt consolidation credit cards or loans. In others, it’s a low-income assistance program designed to help people pay their rent, manage utility bills, cover the mortgage, or stay away from foreclosure. Still other financial assistance programs assist with medical bills and related expenses.

State Programs

State programs are the first place many people look for income assistance programs. Depending on where you live, your state government may offer low-income programs like The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which assists families with energy costs.

Other states also offer assistance with paying security deposits and rent, healthcare costs, and more. The easiest way to access financial assistance programs in your state is to visit your local government website.

Community Agencies

Many towns and cities have local community agencies dedicated to providing low- and moderate-income people and families with various financial assistance programs. The programs and resources administered can give you and your family with short-term assistance, should you run upon financial hardship.

These programs may make it easier to pay your bills or access long-term support that allows you to get back on your feet. To get started, here’s a listing of community action agencies.

Federal Programs

One of the best places for low-income earners to turn for financial assistance is federal programs. The Government offers organizations like the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) organization, which provides support to 1.5 million families each year. You can also check out additional programs like The Lifeline Program, which provides discounted landline or cell phone service to the people who need it. For a full list of government benefits, visit USA.gov.

Awareness is the First Step

If you want to access financial assistance, your first step is to be aware of and educated about the programs available to you. For best results, start at your local level. Speak to local and state agencies. They’ll be able to refer you to more extensive or more local programs that may suit your needs. From there, you can branch out to other applications like debt consolidation or income supplementation. Even though it feels like your financial choices are limited as a low-income earner, that’s not altogether true. Instead, the solution lies in knowing what’s out there for you and knowing how to get there.