5 things you can get for free from the government

U.S. Capitol dome restoration formally finished November 15, 2016. (Photo: Alex Schuman)
U.S. Capitol dome restoration formally finished November 15, 2016. (Photo: Alex Schuman)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Many people don’t know that the federal government and many state governments offer free goods and services to their citizens.

Free tax help

If you earn $54,000 or less a year, the federal government offers free tax help through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. You also might qualify if you have certain disabilities or if you speak limited English.

A separate program known as the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offers what the IRS describes as free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 and older. This assistance is focused on pensions and other retirement issues unique to seniors.

Happy Birthday Mr. President

Imagine a loved one receiving birthday greetings from the president of the United States.

That dream can come true — all you need to do is contact the White House, and a greeting card will be mailed posthaste!

In addition to birthday greetings, you can score presidential cards for a baby’s birth, retirement, wedding or anniversary. Just visit the White House’s website.

Job training

Experience is the key to landing the job of your dreams and students can us the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) to get on-the-job training in a position related to their field of study.

The paid program provides formal periods of work and study while you are attending school. In order to qualify you must be a student enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a degree-seeking student, at least the minimum age required by laws governing employment of minors, taking at least half-time academic course load, a U.S. citizen and able to produce a letter of verification from your education institution showing proof of enrollment.

Free Consumer Action Handbook

Feel like you’ve been ripped off by a merchant or retailer?

The federal government will send you a free copy of the Consumer Action Handbook, which provides information about your consumer rights when shopping. The handbook has information to help you file a complaint about a purchase and includes a sample complaint letter that you can use and send to a company. There is also a consumer assistance directory, with contact information for consumer protection offices in government agencies, and customer service departments at many national corporations.

Find out more at the USA.gov website.

Free adoption assistance

Few actions are more loving and commendable than the decision to give a new home to a child with physical, mental or developmental disabilities.

The federal government recognizes that generosity by offering free adoption assistance. Programs vary by state, so check out the Benefits.gov website to learn more.

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