Where to Get Help to Pay the Bills


Whenever the economy is in turmoil and unemployment is high, it's hard for everyday people to pay their bills. But there are positive steps that can be taken to ease the worry of payments due.

Get a Job

To find employment, start with your local job center (aka "unemployment office"), where you can also find placement services and assistance with resumes. Also, apply with temporary employment offices, check daily newspapers and network with employed friends to find job openings in their places of business.

Not only does employment bring income that will allow you to pay off debts but, as you seek assistance, agencies are more apt to help if they see you are actively working and trying to help yourself and your family.

Talk with Your Creditors

In speaking honestly and openly with whomever you owe money, such as a landlord, you may be allowed extra time to pay the outstanding debt.

If you owe on a utility bill, talk with the company's customer service representative. He may be able to work out a payment plan that you can afford.

Get the payment deferment or plan in writing if possible. This serves as proof and binds both parties to the agreement.

When given an extension on debt repayment or a payment plan, be sure to make the payments promptly and in the full amount you've agreed upon.

Check with Local Agencies

Agencies in nearly every city can either help you with part of your utility or rental debt or act as negotiator on your behalf. Although you'll most likely need to make an appointment to avoid standing in long lines, contact them for urgent assistance.

Find out if you qualify for a housing benefit. This is usually made available to single parents, the disabled or those with long-term illnesses. These normally pay arrearages but can also help out in other cases

Ask Your Family's Assistance

If you are in urgent need and none of these can fully help you, phone or visit your family with a request for their help. Ask for a loan and not a handout. If you have proof that you are working, they are more likely to help you.

If you receive assistance from a family member, remember that it is a loan and begin paying it back faithfully in small and steady increments. This not only repays the family member but strengthens the bond between you and your family.

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