Being self-employed has its rewards and difficulties both emotionally and financially. When things get financially tight and you can't cut back your living expenses any further, you may want to consider applying for government benefits that might be available to you. Access to government benefits starts with an application to determine eligibility. As a self-employed person, prepare to provide more documentation to prove your current finances than someone who is not.
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Although most government benefits go through the local Department of Health and Human Services, many utility companies offer low-income assistance to those that are experiencing temporary financial hardship. As a self-employed person, you may be required to provide complete tax returns for the past two years or bank statements that prove your deposits as income verification. Check with all of your utility companies including sewer, garbage, water, electric, natural gas and phone companies to see what types of programs could be available to you.
Food assistance may be available to you under income qualifying guidelines set forth by your local Department of Health and Human Services. Prepare to verify your identity with a birth certificate or passport and provide verification of the monthly utility bills you're responsible for and paperwork proving any expenses you incur for your business. The amount you receive can vary from month to month or you may be limited on how many months you can receive benefits. Money for food is usually deposited onto an electronic benefits card good at many grocery stores.
Cash assistance is usually only reserved for the very needy depending on the situation. If you make less than a certain amount with your self-employment income each month or through an average monthly calculation, the Department of Health and Human Services may only grant you cash assistance if you agree to participate in programs designed to help you find suitable financially sustaining work, working for someone else. The "certain amount" will vary from state to state depending on the cost of living and other guidelines the state has in place. This can include resume classes and being required to fill out paperwork showing you are looking for work elsewhere, besides just relying on the income you receive from self-employment.
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