1Online Resources to Assist Financially Distressed Individuals and FamiliesCompiled by:Dr. Barbara O’Neill, CFP®, CFCS, CPFFE, Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management, RutgersCooperative Extension, E-Mail: email@example.com Twitter: http://twitter.com/moneytalk1This list includes a description of and links to Web sites and videos designed to help family and consumer scienceseducators assist financially distressed individuals and families. The financial distress category includes people whohave experienced economic shocks from causes such as a loss of income, an accident or illness, or a natural disaster.Specific topics covered in the list include: general personal finance, jobs and unemployment, federal governmentpublic health insurance programs, food assistance, home energy assistance, telephone service assistance, debt andwage garnishment, foreclosure and foreclosure counseling, credit counseling and bankruptcy, legal assistance,retirement savings plan hardship withdrawals, natural disaster assistance and recovery, and frauds and scams.General Personal FinanceFinancial Fitness Quiz: http://njaes.rutgers.edu/money/ffquiz/This 20-question quiz assesses users’ frequency of performance of recommended financial management practices.Users receive a score, an interpretation of their score, and a list of suggested action steps to improve their finances.360 Degrees of Financial Literacy: http://www.360financialliteracy.org/The “In Crisis” section of this Web site includes resources to assist people who are experiencing financial distress.National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) Articles on Crisis and Emergencies:http://www.smartaboutmoney.org/Your-Money/Crisis-and-Emergencies.aspxThis Web page includes links to NEFE resources to help people experiencing a variety of economic emergencies.Jobs and EmploymentCareer Builder: http://www.careerbuilder.com/This Web site provides information about various categories of careers and information about job searching.Career One Stop: www.CareerOneStop.orgThis Web site from the U.S. Department of Labor provides information about jobs, salaries, resumes, interviews, etc.American Job Center: http://jobcenter.usa.gov/This federal government Web site provides information and tools to help job seekers find employment.Vow to Hire Heroes Act 2011: http://benefits.va.gov/vow/This Web site provides information about a job assistance and training program for service members.Unemployment Insurance (U.S. Department of Labor): http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/unemployment-insurance/This Web site has links to information about different types of unemployment insurance.
2Federal Government Public Health Insurance Programs and LawsMedicare: www.medicare.govThis is the official U.S. government Medicare Web site to help users learn about Medicare, find health and prescriptiondrug plans, and access other information about health insurance for older Americans.Medicaid: www.medicaid.govThis is the official U.S. government Medicaid Web site to help people find information about Medicaid in their homestate. Medicaid is a state-administered public health insurance program for eligible low-income people.Veteran’s Administration: VA Health Care Benefits:www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book/benefits_chap01.aspThis U.S. Veterans Administration Web site contains information about VA medical benefits and benefit eligibility.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: www.healthcare.govThis Web site provides information about finding health insurance, health care legislation, and related topics.U.S. Department of Labor: Continuation of Health Coverage- COBRA: http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htmThis Web site provides information about the federal COBRA law that allows eligible workers and their families wholose health benefits the right to choose to continue group health insurance at their own expense for a designated periodof time (generally 18 months for workers who lose group health coverage and 36 months for dependents).Lost Your Job? COBRA Lets You Keep Your Health Insurance (About.com):http://careerplanning.about.com/cs/legalissues/a/cobra.htmThis Web site provides information about COBRA law eligibility, costs, and insurance continuation procedures.Food Banks and Food AssistanceFeeding America (Food Bank Locator): http://feedingamerica.org/This Web site includes a search feature to help users find local food banks in their state. It also includes informationabout hunger and food insecurity.Temporary Emergency Food Assistance (eHow):http://www.ehow.com/list_6884631_temporary-emergency-food-assistance-programs.htmlThis Web page includes information about the USDA Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) andfive other emergency food assistance programs.Home Energy Assistance ProgramsHome Energy Assistance Program (HEAP): http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/federalbenefitprograms/a/liheap.htmThis Web site provides information about eligibility and application requirements for the federal HEAP program.
3Telephone Service AssistanceLifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers: http://www.fcc.gov/lifelineThis Web site describes a program that provides discounts on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers.Debt and Wage GarnishmentWage Garnishments (U.S. Department of Labor): http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/garnish.htmThis Web site explains how the wage garnishment process works and specifics about garnishment laws.How Wage Garnishment Works-and How to Avoid It: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/wage-garnishment-for-credit-card-debt-1282.phpThis Web site explains how the wage garnishment process works and includes a link to specific state laws.Foreclosure and Foreclosure CounselingAvoiding Foreclosure (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development):http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/avoiding_foreclosureThis Web site describes federal government programs to help financially distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure.National Mortgage Assistance Center: www.nmacenter.org/foreclosure_assistance.asp?apcid=3976This Web site describes an organization that provides foreclosure assistance to troubled homeowners.Making Home Affordable: www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/pages/default.aspxThis Web page describes a federal government program to assist struggling homeowners with mortgage payments.Credit Counseling and BankruptcyNational Foundation for Credit Counseling: http://www.nfcc.org/This Web site provides information about how credit counseling works and links to credit publications and resources.Bankruptcy Basics: http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspxThis Department of Justice Web site includes information on filing bankruptcy and different bankruptcy chapters.MyFICO: How Will my FICO Score Consider a Bankruptcy?:http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/questions/bankruptcy-fico-score.aspxThis Web page discusses how a variety of personal factors impact how filing bankruptcy affects a person’s credit score(e.g., the amount, type, and duration of previous negative credit history information).Legal AssistanceLegal Service CorporationThis Web site describes an organization that provides free civil legal services to those who cannot afford an attorney. Itincludes a “Find Legal Aid” link to search for legal services offices in a particular state.
4Retirement Savings Plan Hardship WithdrawalsInternal Revenue Service Web Site: www.irs.govOn this Web site, search the words “401(k) Hardship Withdrawals” to find IRS resources about hardship withdrawals.Should You Borrow From Your 401(k) or 403(b)? (Smart Money):http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/debt/should-you-borrow-from-your-401k-or-403b-9657This Smart Money article includes information about the pros and cons of borrowing money from a retirement plan.Natural Disaster Assistance and RecoveryFederal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): http://www.fema.gov/help-after-disasterThis federal agency Web site contains information about emergency preparation, disaster survivor assistance, how tofile a claim for losses, and other related topics.Small Business Administration (SBA): http://www.sba.gov/On this Web site, search the words “Disaster Recovery Assistance” for information about SBA disaster loans.After the Disaster: Watching Out for Fraud and Scams (USA.gov):http://www.usa.gov/topics/consumer/scams-fraud/family-home-community/disaster-scams.shtmlThis Web site includes links to articles about common types of frauds and scams that follow natural disasters.Hurricane Sandy Scam Fact Sheet (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission):http://www.sec.gov/investor/alerts/hurricanealert.htmThis fact sheet describes common types of scams that are often pitched to disaster victims who are receiving insurancesettlements for damage claims.Frauds and Scams (General)Watch Out for Debt Settlement Companies (NBC 4 New York):www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Watch-Out-for-Debt-Settlement-Companies-127327738.htmlThis Web site contains an article about fraudulent debt settlement companies and “red flag” signals of fraud.Job Search Fraud Rising in Recession: Five Job Search Scams to Avoid (FindLaw):http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2009/04/job-search-fraud-rising-in-recession-five-job-search-scams-to-avoid.htmlThis Web site contains a description of five common types of unemployment-related scams.Financial Crimes and Scams (USA.gov): www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Money/Financial-Crime.shtmlThis Web site provides a list of links to information about common money, tax, and phishing scams.Scams By the Season (AARP): www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/This Web site provides information about a variety of scams that are seasonal in nature including snowbird scams,bedbug scams, door-to-door home improvement scams, and Who’s Who directory scams.
5StopFraud.gov (Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force): www.stopfraud.gov/This federal government coalition Web site (20 federal agencies, U.S. Attorneys offices, and state and local partners)contains information about a variety of types of financial fraud. There is information about how to protect againstfraud and how to report fraud as well as advice for fraud victims.Job-Hunting/Job Scams (FTC): www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/moneymatters/jobs-hunting-scams.shtmlThis Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Web site provides information about dealing with job placement firms and “redflags” of scams involving misrepresentation of services, outdated or fictitious job offerings, and high fees.Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams: http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/learning-center/Pages/beware.aspxThis federal government Web site has information about “foreclosure rescue” and mortgage modification scams.Common Loan Modification Scams: http://www.loanscamalert.org/common-scams.aspxThis Web site provides information about common loan modification scams that take advantage of financially-distressed homeowners. It is sponsored by a coalition of government and non-profit organizations.VideosStruggling to Save for Emergencies? http://www.bankrate.com/finance/video/saving-money/save-for-emergencies.aspxThis 2-minute Bankrate.com video discusses research about the percentage of families with emergency savings.The New Face of Poverty: Meet Yolanda: http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2012/mar/06/brink/This two-minute, 38-second video features a woman describing her ongoing financial hardships.Wage Garnishment FAQ (eHow): http://www.ehow.com/video_5112533_wage-garnishment-faq.htmlThis one-minute, 22-second video explains how the wage garnishment process works.Who Can Garnish Your Wages: www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_8dSJa1ne8&feature=relmfuThis two-minute, forty-second video explains how the wage garnishment process works.Credit Counseling Sessions: www.nfcc.org/CreditCounseling/counseling_session.cfmThis Web page includes links to five National Foundation for Credit Counseling videos about counseling sessions.Types of Bankruptcy (eHow): http://www.ehow.com/video_4982843_types-bankruptcy.html#ixzz1mBiwjRnzThis one-minute, eight-second video describes different types of bankruptcy. It is part of a five-part video series.Individual Development Accounts: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CErbfxiIs4A&feature=relatedThis four-minute, 56-minute video features successful IDA program participants discussing their experiences.Loan Modification Scam Alert (Federal Trade Commission): http://www.loanscamalert.org/ftc-video.aspxThis short Federal Trade Commission (FTC) video features financially-distressed homeowners talking about theirexperience with loan modification scams and FTC staff talking about “red flags” for loan modification fraud.