The election finally is over, and America has a new president who will take the nation’s reins for the next four years. If the cynical nature of the campaign left you feeling a bit discouraged about our government, maybe a few freebies will turn that frown upside down.
The federal government and many state governments offer free goods and services to their citizens. Following are seven government freebies to consider.
1. Car seat installation
Car seats save lives. One estimate by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that child safety seats can save the lives of 71 percent of infants who would otherwise perish in car wrecks.
However, the seats will not protect your child or grandchild unless they are properly installed. Many police departments, fire departments and other organizations offer free assistance with such installations. To find help in your state, check out the NHTSA website.
2. Help with taxes
If you earn $54,000 or less per year, the federal government offers free tax help through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. You also might qualify if you have certain disabilities or if you speak limited English.
A separate program known as the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offers what the Internal Revenue Service describes as “free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older.” This type of tax assistance is focused on issues regarding pensions and other retirement issues unique to seniors.
To find out more information and local offices that offer help, check out the IRS website.
3. Greetings from the president
Imagine a loved one receiving birthday greetings from the president of the United States. That dream can be a reality — all you need to do is contact the White House, and a greeting card will be mailed posthaste!
In addition to birthday greetings, you can score presidential cards for the following events:
- Baby’s birth
- Wedding anniversary
To find out if your event qualifies, check out the White House website.
4. Adoption assistance
Few actions are more loving and commendable than the decision to give a new home to a child with physical, mental or developmental disabilities. The federal government recognizes that generosity by offering free adoption assistance.
According to the federal government:
Generally, the child’s special needs relate to membership in a minority group, a medical condition, siblings (brothers and sisters who should not be separated), or handicaps (a child with a physical, emotional, or mental disability).
Programs vary by state, so check out the Benefits.gov website to learn more.
5. Career training
Experience is the key to landing the job of your dreams, and students can us the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) to get on-the-job training in a position related to their field of study.
The paid program “provides formal periods of work and study while you are attending school.” Visit the Benefits.gov website to find out if you qualify.
6. Postal package pickup
If you have a package to send but can’t get to the post office, let the post office come to you!
Request a mail carrier to stop at your door and pick up your package. To qualify, you must mail the package using an “expedited service” such as:
- Priority Mail Express
- Priority Mail
- First-Class Package Service
You can find the form to make such a request on the U.S. Postal Service website.
7. Consumer help
Feel like you’ve been ripped off by a merchant or retailer? The federal government will send you a free copy of the Consumer Action Handbook, which provides information about your consumer rights when shopping.
According to the government:
The Handbook has information to help you file a complaint about a purchase and includes a sample complaint letter that you can use and send to a company. It also includes a consumer assistance directory, with contact information for consumer protection offices in government agencies, and customer service departments at many national corporations.
Find out more at the USA.gov website.
Do you know of other government freebies. Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.
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