Financial Help for Victims of Domestic Violence

Don’t Let Your Finances Be The Reason You Don’t Leave An Abuser — Help Is Here

(RightWing) – When people think of domestic violence, they often think of four main types of abuse. Physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect. But there’s another kind of abuse that most don’t consider: financial abuse.

The definition of financial abuse (also called economic abuse) is when one domestic or intimate partner has control over the other partner’s access to financial or economic resources. This can also include a partner forcing the victim to take out loans, applying for credit cards in the victim’s name, or opening other financial accounts in the victim’s name, whether by force or without the victim’s knowledge.

Financial abuse can have devastating consequences for the victim. It can put the victim in serious debt, tear apart their credit score and credit history, and sometimes even lead to bankruptcy. Fortunately, there is help out there. There are a lot of programs that can help you with food assistance, housing assistance, mortgage assistance, and some even offer financial assistance to help you pay your bills.

Programs That Offer Help

If you or your loved one have been a victim of financial abuse, don’t lose hope. The federal government currently offers several assistance programs for American citizens in need. Take a look:

  • SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

This Federal program offers low-income individuals and families assistance with purchasing food. You will want to apply online, and some states have a separate website altogether, so make sure you look it up under your state. For example, if you live in Florida, you should look it up as Florida SNAP. Keep in mind that if you do qualify for assistance, your benefits will be based on your income.

This program is funded jointly by states and the federal government but administered by states, according to federal requirements. Medicaid offers health coverage to eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. Just like with the SNAP program, applications are mostly online, and income limits are similar also.

  • TANF – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

This is a federally-funded program. However, its purpose is to provide states with the ability to create and administer their own assistance programs for individuals and families in need. Overall, the main goal of the TANF program is to provide families in need with a combination of both work opportunities and financial assistance, so TANF recipients are required to participate in work activities (basically hold a job or be actively looking for one) in order to receive TANF benefits.

This federal program is run by the U.S. Department of Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They are a HUD-approved housing counseling agency, and they offer help with obtaining mortgage assistance.

  • LIHEAP –  Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

LIHEAP helps eligible low-income households with energy bill payment assistance (like electricity or gas). A person who participates or has family members who participate in certain other benefit programs, such as SNAP, TANF,  or SSI, may be automatically eligible for this program.

Don’t forget that there are also many programs that are run by individual states and even some that are county-specific. And if you need more help, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from local churches or community centers. These places often have an emergency fund in place to help community members in emergency situations.

But if you or a loved one are a victim of financial abuse, please remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand. There are tons of certified domestic violence advocates who can help you get back up on your feet, all you have to do is reach out.

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