hardship grants to provide you fast cash

If you are financially struggling, you may be wondering whether there is help. The good news is that there are hardship grants to provide you with fast cash when you need it most. As mentioned on the federal grant website, a hardship grant is “one of many different forms of federal financial assistance.”

Below are some places to start when looking for emergency hardship financial aid to make ends meet.

A Comparison of Grants and Loans

It’s a good idea to review the differences between grants and loans if you need financial assistance. 

DefinitionNon-repayable funds provided by government, foundations, or other entities for a specific purpose.Borrowed money that must be repaid with interest.
EligibilityBased on need, merit, or a specific purpose.Based on creditworthiness and ability to repay.
RepaymentNot required.Required, usually with interest.
Use of FundsTypically must be used for a specific purpose outlined in the grant agreement.Can usually be used for any purpose, depending on the type of loan.
Application ProcessOften involves a detailed proposal or application.Typically involves a credit check and proof of income.
AvailabilityCan be limited and competitive.Widely available from various sources, including banks, credit unions, and online lenders.
*Please note that this is a general comparison and specific grants or loans may have different characteristics. Always check the specific terms and conditions of any grant or loan you are considering.

Federal Hardship Grants Provide You Fast Cash 

The federal government provides all kinds of assistance to bridge the financial gap. Only a few specific institutions will qualify for actual “grants.” Institutions like universities, non-profit organizations, research labs, and state and local governments. 

In contrast, personal grants are assistance programs that help individuals and families lower their everyday costs and get back on their feet. And so, although technically not grants, you can use these programs as financial support. 

Below are a few federal assistance programs for low-income families and individuals that can help you lower your monthly expenses (without having to repay the funds):

Federal Government Programs for Low-Income Families and Individuals 

The following government programs are available for a wide variety of people facing financial hardship: 

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

LIHEAP, a federal government-funded program, provides help with utility bills. They help with things like heat and cooling or help after a utility shut off. They also offer low-cost home improvements to increase efficiency and lower overall utility bills each month. The Department of Housing and Development (HUD) developed LIHEAP. And they can also help in some cases with rent or mortgage payments.

Subsidized Housing

Also provided by HUD, this program provides resources to find affordable housing.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

TANF is one of the most widely used federal government grants. It can provide low-income families with cash assistance, food assistance programs (SNAP and WIC), utility coverage, transportation expenses subsidy, medical debt, and other everyday expenses.

Unemployment Assistance from State and Federal Government

If you lose a job due to no fault of your own, you may be eligible for unemployment assistance. Once approved, a portion of your previous income (based on various factors) is sent straight to a bank account. You can use it from here as cash or credit, just like your paycheck. Each state has its website for benefits outlining terms and conditions. Remember that unemployment is a temporary cash assistance program, and you must be actively searching for work while receiving benefits.

Human/Social Service Agencies

Every state has social service agencies to help you connect with state-funded assistance programs, non-profits, and government grants.

Medicaid and Chip

Medicaid is federally funded healthcare for low-income families and individuals. CHIP is the same thing, just for those under 18. With these programs, you may be able to avoid financial hardship due to a medical emergency in the first place. Medicaid and CHIP can also help with prescription costs.

Workforce Investment Act

A program created from government funds through the United States Department of Labor helps people from all walks of life get access to job training and learning.

Making the Most Out of Tax Benefits

Another way to get the most out of your income is to make sure that you apply all the tax credits that you need. The Child Tax Credit, American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and Armed Forces Tax Benefits are a few examples. 

The Small Business Association (SBA)

The SBA provides various business grants that aren’t always financial hardship grants. Grant funds can be for multiple demographics and situations.

Financial Hardship Grants for Military Members and Their Families 

These programs are set up for military veterans and their families:

Military Benefits

If you or a family member are veterans, many federal government grants can help with various expenses. Many of these grants come from the federal program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). For more information or to apply for any of these benefits, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Personal Hardship Grants for Senior Citizens and The Disabled 

The following are programs for senior citizens, disabled individuals, and their caretakers: 

Social Security Benefits

Funded by taxes and allocated into a trust fund, Social Security provides benefits for eligible people. Each year you work, you earn credits that you can use once you reach retirement age. Social security benefits are available to retirees, those with disabilities, and surviving dependents of deceased workers. 

Supplemental security income (SSI) falls under these social benefits, which focus on additional support for those in specific circumstances.


Medicare provides federally funded low-cost health insurance for senior citizens 65 and older. Medicare can help you get medical treatment, pay for prescriptions (Medicaid D), or pay medical bills.

Student Hardship Financial Grants 

If you are a full-time or part-time college student, the U.S. Department of Education provides hardship grants for students. These government hardship grants offer funds for tuition, books, dorm costs, and more. Grants differ from student loans/financial aid from the gov., which you must repay. Here are the major types of student grants provided by the U.S Department of Education:

Federal Pell Grants

These grants help students who have not completed college education and are in exceptional financial need.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

This grant can make anywhere between $100 to $4,000 a year. The U.S. Department of Education Provides these funds to various schools, and funding becomes a first-come, first-served process. Your financial aid office at your college or university will let you know whether your school participates and about any funds left for aid.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (Teach) Grants

Eligibility criteria for this grant require meeting specific service requirements, including pursuing a career in teaching. If you don’t meet any of these obligations, you will have to repay this grant.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants

You will be eligible for this grant if your parent or guardian was a member of the armed forces and died in Iraq or Afghanistan after 911. There are a few other basic requirements to meet, such as your age during your parent/guardian’s death and time of enrollment into college.

COVID-19 Impacted Grants From the Federal Government

The pandemic continues to be a medical and financial crisis across the United States and the world. On top of the past stimulus checks, the federal government continues to provide grants and resources for those who qualify.

COVID Hardship Grants

These are available for all kinds of expenses and needs. You can apply for personal grants, business grants, and non-profit grants through the coronavirus aid grants website.

Where Can I Search for Federal Grants for Emergency Financial Assistance? 

If none of the programs above fit your specific situation, or you want to find other federal free hardship grants, head to Grants.gov. You can add filters for categories, eligibility, and agencies to make the search easier.

The idea of “free money from the government” or “free money from a grant” can be enticing, especially for those facing financial need. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of this by setting up grant scams. To keep yourself protected, know that the United States government will never reach out to you to provide funds directly. The safest option when searching for federal emergency grants online is through Grants.gov. 

Non-Profit Organizations and Hardship Grants for Emergency Financial Assistance

Government financial hardship grants and assistance programs may not be available for everyone. Some people may not qualify for government financial assistance due to their income, age, or other demographics. 

The good news is there is help beyond a government grant that is available. Several non-profit organizations (private foundations and public ones) can provide financial support and grant money for those facing financial difficulties and who need money now. Local places of worship, local charities, and local community organizations can all help with cash assistance.

Below you will find organizations that focus on particular forms of economic hardship for low-income families and individuals:

  • Medical Bills for You, a Loved One, or a Pet — American Veterans Relief Foundation, CaringBridge, Children’s Healthcare Fun (CHF), Life Beyond Cancer, The Humane Society, The ASPCA
  • Everyday Expenses — The United Way, Net Wish, National Assistance League, Feeding America, The Red Cross, 1-800-Charity Cars, Catholic Charities, Jewish Federation of North America 
  • Housing — Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Operation Homefront, Home sharing, Mercy Housing.
  • Job Programs — Urban League, The YMCA, Dress for Success.

Consider Privately Funded and Government Loans To Provide You Fast Cash 

Suppose you do not have time to apply for grants or meet the eligibility criteria for government money. In that case, you may consider an emergency hardship loan. Unlike grants, you will have to pay back online loans with interest. However, for many people having the financial help they need is worth it. And if handled correctly, an online loan could be an excellent option to provide you with fast cash during a financial crisis. 

There are government-funded loans you can look into or loans with private companies. Your credit score and your income will largely determine the kind of loan you can get. Bad credit loans and no credit check loans are also available. Although a loan may not be the kind of relief you’d want first, it could be the only viable option for financial help.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hardship Grants

What are government hardship grants?

Government hardship grants are non-repayable funds provided by the government to individuals or organizations who are experiencing financial hardship. These grants are designed to provide financial relief and help recipients meet their basic needs.

Who can apply for financial hardship grants?

Financial hardship grants are typically available to individuals or families who are struggling financially due to unforeseen circumstances such as job loss, medical emergencies, or natural disasters. Eligibility criteria can vary, so it’s important to check with the specific grant program for details.

How can I apply for a financial hardship grant?

The application process for a financial hardship grant can vary depending on the specific grant program. Generally, you’ll need to complete a financial hardship grant application, which may require you to provide information about your financial situation, the reason for your hardship, and how the grant money will be used.

What can grant money from a financial hardship grant be used for?

Grant money from a financial hardship grant can typically be used for essential living expenses such as utility bills, food, medical expenses, or an upcoming rent or mortgage payment. However, the specific uses can vary depending on the grant program.

What is the difference between a government grant and government benefits?

A government grant is a non-repayable fund provided for a specific purpose, such as financial hardship. Government benefits, on the other hand, are ongoing payments or services provided to eligible individuals or families, such as unemployment benefits, food assistance, or healthcare coverage.

How long does it take to receive a financial hardship grant after applying?

The time it takes to receive a financial hardship grant can vary depending on the specific grant program and the completeness of your application. It’s important to apply as soon as possible and provide all required information to avoid delays.

Can I apply for multiple financial hardship grants at the same time?

Yes, you can typically apply for multiple financial hardship grants at the same time. However, receiving one grant may affect your eligibility for others, so it’s important to understand the terms and conditions of each grant program.

What CreditNinja Wants You To Know About Hardship Grants

A hardship grant is not always possible to get, as they usually have strict qualification requirements and limited availability.1 If you need a lot of money to get back on your feet, know that it’s possible to apply right now for a 2500 loan. A personal loan could help you get the financial support you need the same day you apply! Some lenders do not even require a perfect credit score.

At CreditNinja, we offer numerous articles on personal finance to help you increase your financial literacy.



  1. Grants 101 │ Grants.gov 
  2. Government grants and loans │ USAGov 
  3. Federal grants │ Federal Student Aid
  4. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Grant Opportunities and Guidance │ HHS
  5. Charities and non-profit organizations that help with bills │ NHPB
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