How to Apply for a Donated Car

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Life is challenging when you juggle two jobs and still cannot pay the bills. You risk losing your job every time the bus is late. Sometimes your child stays home from school because you cannot find someone to drive her. Wouldn't life be easier with a car? If you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible to receive a free car through an automobile donation program. This guide will help you apply for a donated car.

Things You'll Need

  • Information on car donation programs
  • Personal financial records
  • Car program applications
  • Create a list of local social service agencies, charities and non-profit organizations that handle car donations. Find the names and contact information for the organizations in the phone book or on-line. Call your church and chamber of commerce for recommended car donation programs. Find highly rated car donation programs at the Goodwill Industries International site; the Salvation Army site; and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul site.

  • Verify the legitimacy of the charity or non-profit organization before you apply for a car to protect your personal information. You can confirm the identity and business practices of the organizations on your list by looking them up at the Better Business Bureau site and at the National Consumer League's National Fraud Information Center site.

  • Contact your state and county social service agencies because they usually have programs to assist qualified individuals with basic necessities such as transportation. You may be assigned a case worker who can arrange your application for a car.

  • Determine your eligibility for a donated car. Read the eligibility requirements for the car donation programs on your list before applying to make sure you qualify. The most common requirements include living below the national poverty level (based on household income) as well as have a job, be able to show proof of an employment search or enrollment in school. Some car programs are geared toward assisting specific groups such as the disabled, victims of domestic violence, single parents and military families.

  • Gather the necessary financial and personal records for the application. Your application will require personal information to verify your income, your bills and the number of dependents in your household. You may need to include income information such as food stamps, social security disability, unemployment, worker's compensation, Medicaid and pension. The applications often ask you to calculate your monthly expenses in bills, loans, groceries or rent.

  • Fill out applications for the car donation programs selected from your list. Follow all of the application directions. Attach any necessary documentation. Proof-read the application for accuracy and spelling errors.

  • Call the organization periodically to check on the status of your car application. After you submit the application, call to confirm that the organization received the application. Contact the car donation program once every two weeks to check on the status of your application until you get an answer.

Tips & Warnings

  • E-mail applications for a donated car to save postage and time. Many car donation programs accept both paper and e-mail applications.
  • Sign up for multiple car donation programs to increase your chances of obtaining a car quickly. If you are approved for more than one car at the same time, you can always turn down one of the car offers.
  • Beware of the numerous on-line car donation scams. Always verify the existence of a car donation program before submitting your personal information by checking the Better Business Bureau site: http://www.bbb.org.

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