How To Claim Billions In Free Money From the Government!
Every day, the government hands out an average of $1.41 billion through a series of programs and, quite frankly, free giveaways that 99% of Americans have no idea exist.
You and every other taxpayer are already paying for this cash bonanza, so you’ve earned your piece. It’s yours – you’re entitled to it.
For example, you could get paid $2,000 a year to improve your golf game, receive $6,500 to improve your home, or even collect up to $500,000 on unused insurance policies.
And if you don’t step forward and claim this cash, somebody else will.
Which would be a shame, because with very little effort on your part, a six-figure reward could be waiting for you.
Let’s look at all the ways you can get your tax-money back…
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 1:
With home-ownership rates at a 20-year low, the government is actually paying people up to $625,000 – completely tax-free – to stay put in their homes with absolutely no monthly mortgage payments. Over 41 million Americans may already be eligible for this federally sponsored, government-insured program.
The deal also includes:
- No out-of-pocket costs
- 100% tax-free money
- Government-guaranteed cash payouts, federally insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- No impact on your Social Security
- No more missed payments resulting in foreclosures or home seizures
- No claim on any of your other financial or personal assets
- No debt ever passed along to your heirs or your estate
Ronald Reagan himself signed the Housing and Community Development Act into law in February of 1988. The 150-page bill contained a provision (Section 417, amending 12 USC 1715z-20) authorizing the Federal Government to insure reverse mortgages – also known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (or HECMs).
By 1990, only 157 Americans took advantage of the new program. In 2011, a mere 72,000 HEMC loans were issued – meaning only one in 600 potentially eligible Seniors took advantage of this free-money program – despite an AARP poll saying 93% of borrowers surveyed reported a good experience with their loans.
With a Reverse Mortgage, You’ll Get Paid Monthly Just for Living in Your Home
Let’s say, for sake of example, that you’re 65 years old, living in a home you purchased back in 1995 for the then average cost of $158,000. After 20 years of monthly mortgage payments, your loan balance is mostly paid down. Along with some modest price appreciation, you’ve got a net equity of $200,000.
Unfortunately, this is “dead money.” It’s locked up in the home and you realize no benefit from it. If you died tomorrow (or in 10 years) every penny would flow to your heirs and you’d never see a dime of it in your lifetime.
You could take out a home equity loan to tap some (or most) of the value. But then you’d be stuck paying not only your regular mortgage, but also interest (and possibly principal).
Fortunately, there is a better way.
With an HECM, you’re essentially “selling” your home to a reverse mortgage lender. You still retain all the rights to ownership during your lifetime (100% rent and mortgage free). In addition, you can actually draw out cash from the property as a lump-sum, monthly stipend, or revolving line of credit (hence the “reverse” in reverse mortgage). They pay you to own the home for the rest of your life.
In this example, you could get paid up to $1,000 per month just to live in your own home.
Upon your death, the home is sold to pay back whatever money you drew out (plus imputed interest). If there are excess proceeds, your heirs get a payday. But if the sale price isn’t enough to cover the debt – say, because of another housing market crash – no worries… the slate is wiped clean. Your estate (or heirs) will never be liable for any more than the actual sales price of the home.
Reverse mortgages are based on bedrock principals of finance and actuarial science, with plenty of supporting material out there that’s beyond our scope here. Just remember, the concept of life insurance once seemed just as mysterious and exotic. Now it’s as common in households as a microwave oven.
Here’s what to do next. First, find out if you’re eligible for the program by completing the following checklist:
- Are you 62 years of age or older?
- Do you own your primary home outright (or have considerable equity in the property)?
- Can you afford to continue paying your property taxes, maintenance, insurance, etc.?
- Are you willing to participate in a consumer information session given by a HUD-approved HECM counselor?
If you answered “yes” to all of the above, your next stop is the HUD website at www.HUD.gov (or a call to a regional field office). Type “HECM” into the search box and then click the link for “Home Equity Conversion Mortgages for Seniors.”
From there, you’ll see a series of resources including a list of frequently asked questions, HECM lender directory, list of certified mortgage counselors and even a reverse mortgage calculator to figure out how much money you can have for simply living in your home.
You should NEVER pay for any service that charges a fee for referring you to an FHA-approved lender. All that information is free. Instead, always locate a FHA-approved lender by searching online at www.HUD.gov or by contacting a HECM counselor directly for a listing (HECM counselors are free or operate at a low cost).
If you’re not online, just call (800) 569-4287 toll-free, for the name and location of a HUD-approved housing counseling agency near you.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 2:
Get a $966,000 “Life Insurance Policy” for Both You and Your Spouse
The greatest source of government money that you’ve already earned is Social Security and Medicare. Throughout your working life you’ve been paying into these programs, and once you retire, you’re entitled to them.
And these two programs are no laughing matter. For example, a two-earner couple making an average wage that turned 65 in 2010 can be expected to take out $966,000 in Social Security and Medicare benefits.
That’s a nice “Life Insurance Policy,” courtesy of Uncle Sam and your own hard work. But there are ways to get more out of the Social Security you’ve toiled so long for than just the regular file-and-forget approach.
For example, Social Security can provide what amounts to an interest-free loan from the government, for Americans 62 or above.
You see, even if you don’t mean to retire early, a little-known provision called Withdrawal of Application allows you to collect Social Security for one year and then, if you pay it all back, you’ll be eligible to sign up for Social Security at a later date without penalty.
This only works one time, for one year. But if you face unexpected expenses just before your planned retirement age, this strategy can help you clear that home stretch.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 3:
Claim up to $2,000 a Year to Improve Your Golf Game
As part of a little-known section of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $2,000 for qualified education expenses each and every year – with no limit. Best of all, unlike a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax, a credit is a dollar-for-dollar decrease of your tax bill itself.
Just think of the possibilities:
Learn a new language
- Take golf classes
- Finish your college degree
- Earn a pilot’s license
- Study massage therapy
- Try your hand at acting
- Learn interior design
Only 1 in 15 taxpayers took advantage of this remarkable payout in 2013, but those who knew the trick reaped a windfall of over $10 million in combined benefits.
Now, the program is confusing… especially if you don’t even know it exists. But now you’ll know.
The IRS has a dozen ways to offset educational expenses, ranging from the American Opportunity Credit to the Qualified Tuition Program – each with their own requirements and restrictions. All but one program is restricted to K-12 or undergraduate and graduate degree programs – and the IRS isn’t about to shine a spotlight on it.
This is the Only Government Credit for Continuing Education
This little-known secret is called the Lifetime Learning Credit. It’s different from all the other education tax benefits geared toward degree-earning programs. In fact, the IRS explicitly states that the “student does not need to be pursuing a program leading to a degree or other recognized education credential” to take the credit.
All you need to do is enroll at any eligible educational institution in courses to acquire or improve job skills. These job skills could be almost anything, from computer coding to woodworking – whether or not you ever pursue the career. Since virtually all accredited public, nonprofit, and proprietary postsecondary institutions are eligible, the possibilities are almost limitless. Local community colleges offer a wealth of options from photography to floral design. And yes, if golfing with clients is a regular part of your business, honing your skills may just earn you a payday from the government.
The Lifetime Learning Credit covers 20% of the first $10,000 of tuition, fees, books, and supplies required for the courses you enroll in. There is no limit to the number of years you can claim the credit (hence the term “lifetime learning”).
For more information, contact your tax advisor or check out the IRS website at www.irs.gov and search for “Lifetime Learning Credit.”
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 4:
Have the Government Pay for Your Vacation
A little-known rule buried in IRS Publication 527 offers you a two-week paid vacation every year absolutely FREE. That means you could catch a show on the Las Vegas strip, sip wine in a private cottage in Napa Valley, or relax along the tranquil waters of Key West on the government’s dime.
When you rent out your home for less than 15 days per year, the money you earn is completely tax-free thanks to this obscure IRS provision, often called the “Masters Exemption” due to its popularity in Augusta, Georgia, during the famous April golf tournament.
But you don’t need to live near a world class golf course to take advantage of this free money trick. In fact, the provision could just as easily be called the Football Home Game, City Getaway, Beachside Bungalow, Family Reunion, or Country Retreat exemption. There’s no limit to the upside. Rent your home tax-free for as much as the market will bear and then spend the money you earn from rental income to go on vacation anywhere in the world.
There are thousands of dollars for the taking.
With the median rental price for a three-bedroom home around $250 or more per-night in the Midwest and up to $400 or more in hotspots like Florida and Arizona, you could easily earn $3,000 to $5,000 or more every year completely tax free. That’s enough free coin for a tropical cruise, a trip to Europe, or a trek across the U.S. to take in the grandeur of the nation’s National Parks.
It’s Really That Easy
The first step is to sign up for one or more rental listing sites like www.airbnb.com, www.homeaway.com, www.onefinestay.com, or www.flipkey.com to market your home by the day or week to billions of travelers worldwide. Other sites like www.airdna.co provide real-time analytics to help you competitively price your home rental and outperform the competition. Books and websites are also available with valuable tips to market your place for maximum profit.
You don’t need a real estate or marketing degree to get started. All you need is the camera from your smart phone and an internet connection to get a listing posted. When the rentals start to come in, collect your money and start booking your own getaway.
And there’s not a single sheet of paperwork required. In fact, as long as you don’t rent your home out for more than two weeks a year, the IRS doesn’t even want you report the income on your Schedule E (Form 1040). If the listing site you use does happen to issue a 1099 at tax time, simply deduct the equivalent amount on your tax return.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 5:
Collect $500,000 on Unused Insurance Policies
Last year more than $10 billion worth of life insurance policies were sold by savvy seniors. Meanwhile, a whopping $500 billion were left to lapse by Americans who never learned this simple trick. Others surrendered their policies back to the insurance company and received a pittance.
According to the London Business School, seniors receive four times more value by selling their insurance policies to an investor (either directly or through a broker), than they do from selling their policies back to insurance companies.
In fact, you could see a payout of $200,000 to $500,000. And if you let the policy lapse, you get nothing at all.
Unlocking This Six-Digit Payout Is Simple
Your first step is to check out the Life Insurance Settlement Association at www.lisa.org. There you’ll find everything you need to know about the life settlement process in an easy-to-use walk-through tutorial.
Click through and answer the questions:
- Why sell?
- Do I qualify?
- How much can I get?
Then peruse their articles, videos, and whitepapers. If you decide selling your life policy might be right for you, go to your state’s insurance commissioner website, where you’ll find a list of licensed life settlement companies. Your state governments have strict requirements to make sure you’re in good hands.
The paperwork can be daunting, so it’s important to get help. LISA member brokers and fee-based financial advisors are a good place to turn to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
You can even customize a deal to retain a portion of the death benefit for your heirs, while still getting yourself a healthy lump sum.
The possibilities are endless. Check out your options today.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 6:
Buy a Mansion in Florida for Pocket Change
It used to be that living in a place like Boca Raton or Aspen was available to anyone. Not anymore. A fixed income or low credit ratings are shutting many out of the housing markets.
But don’t worry. Your dream house isn’t out of reach.
Millions of government dollars are being spent right now on helping Americans buy a house, and if you don’t sign up for this money, someone else will.
The program is called the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), and provides grants to states and other organizations to help buyers of various income levels purchase the house they want. The aim of the NSP is to increase homeownership rates in communities affected by foreclosures, and so far, more than 309 organizations in 55 U.S. states and territories have received NSP grants.
That means chances are good there’s a grantee near where you want to live. But that’s not all. Some states, such as California, offer their own programs to help with the costs of buying a home, such as special loans not due until the home is paid off or sold.
HUD-approved housing counseling agencies will be able to find and guide you through all the grants and programs that can help you get your dream house. Find one close to you by going to www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm.
This is your opportunity to buy housing at low prices, often in swanky areas which suffered foreclosures when people overestimated how much they could afford. Your dream house is waiting for you.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 7:
Have Your Dream Vacation for Half the Price
The government is trying to pump up the number of visitors to every U.S. state and territory, from Alaska to the Virgin Islands. And they’re willing to compensate you for half the cost.
If you’re one of the half-million Americans who take advantage of this special program each year, you could visit attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Old Faithful, Yosemite, and thousands more, as many times as you like for the rest of your life absolutely free.
You see, U.S. citizens age 62 and older can purchase a pass for just $10 that entitles them to lifetime free admission to over 2,000 federal recreation sites, national parks, and national wildlife refuges.
And that’s not all. The senior pass also entitles you to a 50% discount on facilities and services including camping, swimming, boat launch, and guided tours.
All you need to do is visit your closest National Park area on or after your 62nd birthday. Show them your state driver’s license, passport, green card, or U.S. birth certificate, fork over $10, and you’re good for life. The Park Service has a handy map locator on their site at www.nps.org to help you find the closest venue.
The slower and costlier option is to go online through the U.S. Geological Survey at: store.usgs.gov/pass/senior.html. Fill out the application, submit proof of residency, and pay $20. The pass may take a month or so to arrive, so don’t use this option if you’re in a hurry (or pay up for expedited shipping).
Then start planning your travels. Experts suggest traveling during off-peak times to avoid the crowds. Book lodging and services for popular sites well in advance to ensure availability.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 8:
Get Paid to Hunt
Thanks to a new land and resource management program, hunters have the chance to spend time in the best hunting spots in Texas, and get paid while they’re at it. The state paid out $7 million last year alone and is aiming to spend even more.
The program, known as CHAMPS (County Hog Abatement Matching Program), makes grant funds of up to $30,000 available to counties on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis. Some counties in Texas have a standing bounty of up to $10 per head to help the Lone Star State eradicate their enormous wild hog population.
One hog hunter, Bubba Ortiz, bagged 469 hogs from within the city of San Antonio last year. At $10 a head, that’s a pretty healthy payday of nearly $4,700 for Bubba just to be outdoors with his trusty rifle.
In 2010, hunters and trappers killed an estimated 753,646 feral hogs in Texas, about 29% of the population, according to a report from Texas A&M University. But don’t worry about a lack of targets. Due to their prodigious reproduction, there are way more hogs out there. Texas is home to about 2.6 million feral swine, about half the number of feral swine in the U.S., and that number is growing every year.
And they’re not hard to find. According to a report from Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service’s Wildlife Division, feral hogs can also be found on farms, golf courses, and residential areas in every one of the state’s 254 counties.
The animals have caused an estimated $500 million in damages to crops, wildlife, water sources, and other property, so the state is doing everything it can to support hunters in their efforts to eliminate the beasts. Texas allows hunters to kill wild hogs year-round, without limits, or to capture them alive to take to slaughterhouses for processing and sale to restaurants as exotic meat.
All you need to get started is a hunting license and suitable armament ranging from a hunting bow, muzzleloader, handgun, or rifle. According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Division, because the feral hog has such a tough hide the best rifle calibers to use are .243 or greater. Some locals trick out their rifles with optics and even suppressors to score multiple hits before scaring away a large pack of the wild beasts.
In some counties, like Caldwell (just outside of Austin), hunters must take a one-hour education course on feral hog management to be eligible for the full $10 bounty. Otherwise, you’ll still get $5 per hog tail redeemed at any designated local business.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 9:
Travel the World for Free
Government-paid cultural exchanges are sending people to hundreds of destinations around the world. There are a number of ways to participate.
For example, if you have an MBA or a background in finance, you can sign up for an all-expense paid trip as a volunteer Business & Investment Specialist. This is your opportunity to see the Pyramids of Giza while advising local Egyptian companies on how to improve their trade practices.
If you’re handy, you can apply for a four-week expense-paid gig to Ghana and help the good folks at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology design a furniture production program for their students, while going on safari on the African savannah.
From animal nutrition to web development, opportunities abound to travel the world and share your knowledge and expertise on the government’s dime.
USAID contractors are always looking for expert volunteers to support their international development activities. They routinely have ongoing needs for candidates with 10 years or more of experience in business, agriculture, banking and financial services, marketing, food processing, community development, and other areas.
Geographic assignments include Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. Trips typically last two to four weeks – although some can last longer (maybe even a year or more) depending on your interest. Language skills are usually not necessary, but might come in handy.
All Your Expenses Will Be Paid
Volunteers contribute their time and expertise. The sponsoring aid organization pays for all assignment-related expenses. These include round-trip coach airfare, passport, visas, lodging, meals and incidentals, immunizations, supplemental health insurance, and even emergency medical evacuation if required.
Housing is in comfortable hotels, guesthouses, or apartments that the project leases. In rural areas, you may be asked to stay with the host, or in more rustic settings – maybe a rainforest lodge or mountain chalet.
Skills and background in agriculture are highly sought. But even if you’re not a farmer or agronomist, there are still plenty of opportunities.
First, take a look at the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance at www.vegaalliance.org. There you’ll find a listing of dozens of government-funded NGOs (non-governmental organizations) currently seeking experienced volunteers for a variety of roles from financial services, to education, engineering, and healthcare.
Some of the best NGO sites, like www.acdivoca.org and www.cnfa.org, post real-time listings of current volunteer opportunities in a searchable format like a job board. Then it’s just a simple matter of applying online and submitting your credentials for consideration. If the organization thinks you’re a match for one of their openings, it’s time to pack your bags. You’re about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 10:
Collect up to 24% Interest on This Secret, Government-Created Investment
Between $7 and $10 billion in property taxes go delinquent in the U.S. each year. For the already strapped coffers of state and local governments, those delinquencies mean money isn’t available to fund schools, road repairs, healthcare, and police or fire services. In 26 states, plus the District of Columbia, governments turn to private investors for help.
Instead of forcing local officials to deal with the long and complex process of foreclosures and resales, these states sell what’s known as a “tax lien certificate” – usually at a public auction – to an investor as a way of recouping these unpaid property taxes.
Purchasers of the certificates have a priority position on the underlying property itself – even ahead of the bank mortgage (if any). They’re also entitled to collect a minimum set rate of interest on their investment which can range from 14% to 18%, or even more, depending on which state the property is located in.
The state gives the delinquent taxpayer a window of time to pay their taxes (plus any accrued penalties and interest) known as the redemption period. Redemption periods range from six months to four years. After the redemption period expires, the holder of the tax lien certificate receives the deed and becomes the outright owner of the property. Often times, the property value can exceed the cost of the tax certificate by 10 times or more, giving the investor upside potential of more than 1,000%.
Since 99% of property owners eventually redeem their certificates, those out-sized returns are rare. But that just means that you’ll be earning double-digit interest with minimal risk, and you’ll avoid the hassle of dealing with a property sale on your payday.
To get started, first think local. Your best investments will be in your home county or municipality where you know the neighborhoods and can look at properties yourself. The last thing you want is to buy a tax lien certificate on a property that’s burned to the ground or contains hazardous waste and is ultimately worthless.
You’ll also want to get to know the county officials handling sales of tax lien certificates, and be able to easily attend auctions locally. Since each state and county has different rules, it’ll help to become a local expert on the ins and outs of the process in your investment area.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 11:
Seek $50,000 in Excess Bailout Cash
You could be eligible for a microloan of up to $50,000, with low interest rates and generous repayment terms.
To claim it, you must be running, or planning to start, a small business or a non-profit childcare center. While you cannot use the loaned money to pay for real estate or existing debt, any of the following uses are fair game:
- Working capital
- Inventory or supplies
- Furniture or fixtures
- Machinery or equipment
This microloan program, run by the Small Business Administration (SBA), is administered by community-based nonprofits, and the details will depend on the specific organization. But in general, you will be looking at a maximum repayment term of six years, and interest rates of 8-13%.
For more information, and to find a microloan provider near you, go to www.sba.gov/content/microloan-program.
Uncle Sam Could Give You a $127,500 Loan Guarantee
But that’s not the only loan that the SBA offers for fledgling entrepreneurs. Under the so-called 7(a) loan program, the SBA will guarantee as much as 85% on loans up to $150,000 (and 75% on loans over that).
That means you could, in effect, receive $127,500 to open, say, a winery in Sonoma, CA, to start a roadhouse BBQ joint in downtown Dallas, TX, or to become a fishing charter captain in Key West, FL. To see if you’re eligible for this program, and to find a loan provider near you, visit this website: www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sb-programs/Pages/sblf-map.aspx.
If you have dreams of starting your own business, these programs could be your ticket.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 12:
Receive Free Medical Care for the Rest of Your Life (Without Medicare or Medicaid)
You can take advantage of this little-known IRS loophole at any doctor or dentist of your choice. All you have to do is say this simple, five-word phrase and free care can be yours:
“Are you interested in bartering?”
Back in the Great Depression, rural doctors wouldn’t bat an eye if a patient offered to pay them with chickens, eggs, livestock, or cords of wood. These days, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the modern equivalent of barter exchange is seeing an uptick – even in more affluent urban settings.
Stories abound of patients who traded their carpentry skills for physical therapy sessions or doctors who exchanged medical service for those of contractors, electricians, hairdressers, and even a chimney sweep.
A growing number of younger physicians are trading their medical services for everything from office supplies and staff meals to plumbing work and other goods and services. These savvy medical professionals learned early that barter transactions not only save them from having to spend cash for necessities in the lean early years of a physician practice, but also helped build their patient base.
It may seem weird to offer your local dentist say, an original oil painting or a month of office aquarium maintenance in exchange for a routine filling, but it may be worth asking. According to IRS publication 525, reimbursement for medical care generally is not taxable, so not only is the exchange cashless, but there’s also no reckoning come April 15.
If You’re Uncomfortable Bartering Directly, Exchanges Are Here to Help
For those uncomfortable posing the question, more and more local barter exchanges are popping up online to facilitate these kinds of barter deals.
These come in two kinds. First are direct exchanges, where the provider and patient work out specific deals one-on-one, either in person or through sites like Craigslist.
Then there are barter exchanges (400 or more and counting), where members earn and receive points or “trade dollars” for services performed or received. This sort of exchange concept enables participants to bank virtual dollars which they can then spend on participating healthcare providers, even if what they have to offer isn’t a direct match with the doctor’s current needs.
Check out sites like www.ITEX.com or www.imsbarter.com for examples of indirect barter exchanges. You can also search for a local barter exchange in your area, which routinely show numerous doctors, dentists, chiropractors, and physical therapists as members. You may never have to pay for a healthcare visit again.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 13:
Claim Free Cell Phone and Internet Service
The government is spending $2 billion a year to help low-income seniors stay in touch with family and friends. This so-called “Lifeline” program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands.
Originally designed to offset the cost of landline phones during the mid-1980s, the Lifeline program was established as part of the Universal Service Fund. In 2005, Lifeline was expanded to include wireless (i.e. cell phone) service plans in addition to traditional hard-wired service. Ten year later, in June 2015, the FCC expanded Lifeline to include broadband internet services as well. Now you can get cellphone, internet, and landline phone service completely free courtesy of this government program.
To see if you’re qualified, first check your income. Anyone in the U.S. making less than 135% of the federal Poverty Guideline is automatically qualified. For a retired couple in 2015 this equates to an annual income of $21,506 ($24,746 in Hawaii, $26,892 in Alaska). Nearly half of all seniors will meet the income threshold alone, but if not, there’s still hope.
If you are “dually eligible” and enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare, you also qualify for the Lifeline program. Similarly, if you participate in Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or any other State assistance program, free cell phone and internet could be yours for the asking.
To get started, go to www.lifelinesupport.org. There, you can verify your eligibility and use an interactive map to select a participating telephone company near you.
Next, you’ll complete an application including your name, address, date of birth, last four digits of your Social Security number and submit income and identity verification documents (like your annual W-2 form). Once enrolled in the Lifeline Program, you’ll get a brand new phone and your free benefits will start as soon as you receive it.
For more information or help, go to the FCC site at www.fcc.gov/lifeline.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 14:
Collect $2,000 or More From the Federal Government With a Phone Call
If you’ve ever taken out a mortgage loan, you may be eligible for a big cash payment straight from Uncle Sam. You see, one government department has an unclaimed $412 million still sitting in their coffers. All you need to do is call their little-known hotline and ask for your check.
For anyone who took out an FHA loan in the 21-year period between September 1983 and December 2004, there’s a chance you have a mortgage insurance premium refund coming to you. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has the names of thousands of people they owe money. Most of them have no idea.
If you’re one of them and you paid off your loan in full and on time, you can get your up-front mortgage insurance premium back plus a share of any excess earnings from the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Amounts range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars or more – all for a simple phone call.
All you need to do is call 1-800-697-6967 toll-free to get your refund. The hotline operator will check their database for your name and property details. If they find a “hit” they’ll also be able to tell you right then exactly how big a check is coming your way.
Having your FHA case number is handy (usually found on your mortgage documents) and can expedite the process, but it’s not necessary. If your details check out, HUD will order the U.S. Treasury to mail you a check right away.
If there’s any confusion about your claim (say, several folks in their database with the same or similar name), HUD will just send you a quick form to complete proving your identity. Once they receive it back, check your mailbox. It may take a few weeks to deliver – the Government has never been known for its speed and efficiency – but it’s worth it.
Some third party services will offer to help you collect the money you’re owed – for a fee. You don’t need them. A quick call and (maybe) a simple form is all you need to collect.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 15:
Play the Zip Code Lottery
If you live in California, you might be owed a one-time payout of $250. Your reward may be $350 in Florida and $100 in Illinois. And if you live in Pennsylvania, this is your lucky day, because there may be a $1,000 check with your name on it.
A quick search and a few minutes of filling out a form could be everything that stands between you and a check.
You see, in 2006-07 alone, federal courts approved 688 class action settlements, for a sum total of nearly $33 billion. And some of that money could be meant for you.
For example, if you made a call to, or received a call from, the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas while you were in California, you could be eligible for a payment of up to $500.
Or maybe you bought milk or other dairy products from Dairy Farmers of America in Missouri, in which case a check of up to $40 could be waiting for you.
And anyone who has shopped at the Zara clothing store and paid for their purchase with a credit card could be eligible for $100 per transaction.
And this is just a taste of the money federal courts have made available to Americans. To see if you’re eligible for these settlements and many more, go to any of these sites:
They will show you if you’re eligible for a payment from a lawsuit settlement, and guide you through filing your claim.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 16:
Reclaim Thousands of Lost Dollars
States across the nation are sitting on $30 billion in unclaimed money they’re just dying to get rid of.
You see, each and every day all 50 States collect a mountain of abandoned and unclaimed assets including:
- Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents
- Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends
- Uncashed checks and wages
- Insurance policies, CD’s, trust funds
- Utility deposits, escrow accounts
And these unclaimed checks can be huge. One retiree in Sarasota left behind a hundred shares of Occidental Petroleum stock worth $7,400 today. Another housewife from Iowa moved away and let an $850 insurance reimbursement sit in her mailbox undelivered.
Yet over one in ten Americans are owed money and don’t even know it.
But don’t worry. Here’s how you can claim what you’re owed.
A coalition of all fifty states – the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators – has set up a master site to help Americans search for their missing funds.
All you need to do is check a single link, www.missingmoney.com. From there, you can search for your name (or your friends and relatives) to find your lost cash. MissingMoney.com scans across all the States to pinpoint exactly where your lost money is.
To claim your cash, just follow a few simple steps to fill out a quick online claim form. Then just sit back and wait for your payday.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 17:
Protect Your Home Against the Next Natural Disaster
The National Centers for Environmental Information recently released a study, which estimated that over $1 billion was lost during the natural disasters of 2014. That’s why Uncle Sam is trying a new experiment. You may be eligible for $6,500 worth of special weather-related improvement on your home, direct from the government, by tapping this little-known program.
Thirty million U.S. families are eligible for weatherization services at no cost under this program. From solar panels to energy-efficient heat pumps, residential wind turbines to programmable thermostats, Uncle Sam will pay for it all.
You’ll also receive an all-around safety check to protect you and your family in the event of a natural disaster. All in all, cheaper utility bills, new appliances, and a safe and secure home that’s toasty all winter is what’s waiting for you.
The U.S. Department of Energy provides these so-called Weatherization Assistance grants, but each state runs their program slightly differently, so you’ll need to check with your local administrator first.
Some states have $10, $15, $20 million or more to give away each year on home weatherization. Find your State office at http://www.waptac.org/Grantee-Contacts.aspx. Then click through to find out about eligibility criteria and to find a local agency near you to apply.
Things are even better if you’re a senior. The federal government’s Very Low-Income Housing Repair program can distribute grants up to $7,500 and loans up to $20,000 to Americans aged 62 or above. Contact your local Department of Agriculture Rural Development office, or go to www.rd.usda.gov, for more information on this program.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 18:
Receive $10,000 as a Freelance Photographer for the Government, No Experience Necessary
The National Park Service and other federal agencies are seeking amazing amateur photos that highlight the best of America’s federal lands, national parks and historical sites. If you’ve got a camera and an eye for the frame, up to $10,000 could be waiting to be snapped up just outside your door.
If you’re a high adventure buff, you can start taking photos of your favorite activities on federal lands across America’s Great Outdoors. Almost anything goes – camping, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, kayaking, skiing, climbing, diving, or riding.
If instead you’re more of a history buff, you can grab your camera and head out to your local historical landmark or battlefield to tell a moving story with pictures.
Or just capture scenic vistas and sweeping landscapes including fall foliage, winter wonderlands, floral landscapes, mountains ranges, deserts, canyons, lakes, beaches, and rivers. With over 80,000 national parks, forests, and registered historical landmarks in the country, your options are almost limitless.
Once you’ve filled your memory cards with pixels and Photoshopped them to perfection, turn to the Share the Experience site at http://www.sharetheexperience.org/home to submit your creations.
Photos will be judged on originality, artistic composition, technical quality, photographic technique, and whether the photograph showcases the best of America’s recreational opportunities. More than $30,000 in cash and other great prizes are available ranging from free overnights in famous historic hotels to the $10,000 grand prize.
With any luck – and a good bit of photographic skill – your picture might even be featured on the America the Beautiful Federal Recreation Lands Pass for 2017 for all to see.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 19:
Get Free Car Repairs
Auto companies want to make a profit, meaning they don’t always go out of their way to advertise the stunning breadth of their manufacturing defects.
In the summer of 2015 alone, car companies conducted 289 vehicle recalls ranging from lethal airbags to faulty antilock brakes. Only a few of these ever got headline coverage, with shocking stories of gruesome fatalities. Most of us are left in the dark – and at risk.
Take look at a small sampling of potentially deadly hazards lurking under the hoods and chassis of our nation’s cars:
- Chevy Malibu – Faulty seat belts resulting in vehicle ejections.
- Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks – Brakes suddenly fail.
- Ram 4500 and 5500 trucks – Tires break apart at high speeds.
- Nissan Versa – Ignition shuts off while driving.
- Hummer H3 – Console blower motors catch fire.
- Audi SQ5 – Power steering fails.
- Mercedes 2014 CLA 250C – Instrument panel lights and wiper blades die while driving.
Owners may not always know their recalled vehicle still needs to be repaired. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) new search tool can immediately flag any open recalls for your specific vehicle so you can have them repaired – for free. And if a mechanic charged you for a repair that should have been covered under the warranty, you’re entitled to a reimbursement.
Check the government’s site at https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/, type in your vehicle identification number (or VIN) – usually located on your insurance policy or on your driver’s side dashboard. You can even register your vehicle and tires to get immediate alerts of any future recalls at https://www.recalls.gov/nhtsa.html.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 20:
Sail to Exotic Locations on the Government’s Dime
It’s no secret that the U.S. is losing its competitive edge in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Since leading the world as a nuclear and space-faring superpower in the 1960s, America has fallen to almost dead-last among developed countries in almost every measure of scientific capability.
One government agency is trying to stem the tide of our sinking talent pool through their innovative Teacher at Sea program. You could be a part of the effort simply by taking a sea-born vacation at the government’s expense.
Since 1990, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has helped hundreds of Americans gain first-hand experience of science and life at sea. The program provides a unique opportunity for kindergarten through college-level teachers to sail aboard NOAA research ships and gain hands-on, real-world research experience working at sea with world-renowned NOAA scientists. Participants return to share unique insight into oceanic and atmospheric research crucial to the nation.
To see if you’re eligible, complete the following checklist:
- Are you a K-12 teacher or administrator?
- Are you a community college, college, or university teacher?
- Are you a museum or aquarium educator?
- Are you an adult education teacher?
If you qualify, all you need to do is navigate to the NOAA Teacher at Sea website (http://teacheratsea.noaa.gov) to start the application process. If accepted, the program pays for all necessary travel costs, including transportation to and from the ship, lodging, and a per diem allowance.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 21:
Collect $25,000 for Suffering a Crime
Some deadbeat committed a crime against you. Even if they have nothing you can sue them for, you may be able to collect $25,000 from the government’s victim compensation fund. Each year, close to $500 million is paid to and on behalf of more than 200,000 people suffering criminal injury.
In fact, the good news is that every state has a crime victim compensation program that can provide substantial financial assistance to crime victims and their families. This can help cover the financial stress that comes with crime.
After all, recovering from violence or abuse is difficult enough without having to worry about how to pay for the costs of medical care and counseling, or about how to replace lost income due to disability or death. Even the best insurance policy won’t cover all the expenses needed to get back on your feet.
Payments of $25,000 (or even more) from the compensation fund can be used to cover:
- Medical and hospital care, and dental work
- Mental health counseling
- Lost earnings due to crime-related injuries
- Loss of support for dependents
- Funeral and burial expenses
Fittingly, most of this money comes from offenders rather than tax dollars, since a large majority of states fund their programs entirely through fees and fines charged against those convicted of crime.
Each state’s program is slightly different, so you’ll need to check out the program operating in the state where the crime was committed. The National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards runs a website at www.nacvcb.org with links to every state’s compensation program, along with helpful information for how to engage all the resources available to help you or a loved one.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 22:
Get World-Class Medical Care for Free
The rich drop in at the Mayo Clinic when they need top medical care. Here’s a way for you to get the same top-notch care for free. More than 480,000 medically savvy individuals from around the world have participated in this little-known program – and you can join them by calling one toll-free number.
We’re not talking Obamacare here. The world’s leading medical institute is actively seeking patients for all-expense-paid treatments and top-notch hospital care for hundreds of different conditions including:
- Heart problems
- Liver disease
Even if you’re completely healthy, the government is offering regular checkups and health monitoring completely free of charge. They may even pay you cash to participate. A simple phone call is all it takes to sign up.
This program is run by the National Institute of Health (NIH), one of the largest research centers in the world. Every day they conduct basic, clinical, and applied research related to a broad spectrum of diseases and health problems. Over the years, NIH has even supported the work of numerous Nobel Prize winners. These experts are ready and waiting to help you, too.
Over 1,500 health-related research projects are currently underway. Research is conducted in a hospital setting with patients/participants who receive not only experimental treatments but also the very best in hospital care. You’ll receive cutting-edge medical treatments, as well as free in-patient hospital stays and out-patient visits.
All you need to do is volunteer by calling the Patient Recruitment Office at 1-800-411-1222 or by visiting the National Institute for Health at www.cc.nih.gov.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 23:
Buy Cars, Boats, or Planes for Pennies on the Dollar
Each year the federal government sells billions of dollars of surplus, seized, and forfeited assets. Homes, cars, jewelry, and boats snatched from drug dealers and white collar criminals are available at fire-sale prices. Take a look at a recent sampling from this astonishing inventory of government-owned assets currently being pawned off by Washington bureaucrats:
- Nikon digital cameras for $29
- HP desktop computers for $10
- Gym-grade treadmills for $25
- A 2011 Chevy Tahoe for $200
These days, you don’t even need to spend time and money traveling to physical auctions around the country to access this treasure trove of valuable property. Thanks to the E-Gov initiative, the nation’s surplus and seized assets are literally at your fingertips. All you need to know is where to look.
With hallmark government inefficiency, each federal agency runs their own online “sales centers,” making the process of shopping for your wish list items about as simple as reading the tax code. Thankfully, there’s a better way.
The www.GovSales.gov website is a one stop shopping navigation tool that provides access to all property offered for sale by linking all approved Sales Centers in one place. You can browse by category or location and then sort by relevance, price, or the name of the item. One click takes you right to the source auction site where you can register and bid.
Any U.S. citizen 18 or older is eligible to buy merchandise (although there are some restrictions for current government employees). If you don’t see what you’re looking for right away, check back frequently. Just like eBay, inventory is constantly changing. Or, set up an alert to let you know when an item you’re interested in is posted for sale.
“Easy Money” Shortcut No. 24:
Get the Best Health Newsletter Delivered to Your Inbox Every Month for Free
For over a century, scientists from the National Institute for Health (NIH) have paved the way for important discoveries that improve health and save lives. In fact, 148 Nobel Prize winners have received support from NIH. Their studies have led to the development of MRI, understanding of how viruses can cause cancer, insights into cholesterol control, and knowledge of how our brain processes visual information, among dozens of other advances.
Now, their expertise is available to you each and every month – absolutely free. And you don’t need a PhD in biochemistry to understand it. All you need to do is turn to the NIH News in Health website (newsinhealth.nih.gov) and sign up for your free subscription. Enter your email and you’ll soon receive your monthly newsletter jam packed with easy-to-digest articles and leading-edge research to help you live a healthier life and avoid costly doctor bills.
Signing up today could be the best medical decision you’ll ever make.
Extra “Easy Money” Shortcut:
Live in a Norman Castle in France for Pennies Rent-Free
This extra “Easy Money” Shortcut may not be from the government, but that doesn’t mean it won’t save you a lot of money. What we’re talking about here is the opportunity to stay in some of the most exotic places in the world – rent-free.
You see, the time-honored practice of housesitting has moved online, with websites like www.mindmyhouse.com and www.housecarers.com making it easier than ever to find a cottage, mansion, or even castle that you can live in – for free – as long as you promise to remember to water the plants.
The options here are limitless – countryside mansions in New Zealand, Norman castles in France, and European townhouses are just some of the examples. All you have to do is fill out a simple online form and you could be on your first getaway within 2 weeks.
These sites see a lot of traffic during the holidays, as people leave their homes to spend time with their families. That can be a great opportunity for you to get some travel-time in, as well as spend a week or two at a castle, or maybe just a place with a pool and a nice view.