Credit Counseling Related Links

Credit Reports and Scores


Credit scores are often called FICO scores because the most widely used credit score is the FICO score, created by Fair Isaac Corporation. Lenders use the FICO score to help make credit granting decisions. Your FICO score is available for a fee. Credit reports, however, are free.

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus. Go to or call toll-free 1-877-322-8228 to order the free reports. The Federal Trade Commission offers more information about free credit reports here.

Federal Trade Commission—Credit and Loans

Tips on how to choose a credit card and how to determine if an offer for credit is right for you.

Consumer Protection

Federal Trade Commission—Consumer Complaints

To report fraud, identity theft, or unfair business practice, use the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant.

National Do Not Call Registry

Information about the National Do Not Call Registry—a registry created by the Federal Trade Commission to help you stop getting telemarketing calls you don’t want. Register for free, online at:

Information and tips provided by the federal government on how to protect yourself and your information online.

Emergency Services

First Call for Help

A national help hotline that provides free information and referrals for help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling, and more. Find your local provider here.

American Red Cross

Non-profit organization that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly Food Stamps)

SNAP website features everything from recipes to SNAP retail locator maps to a list of state hotline numbers. You can also use this online screening tool created by the USDA to determine if you’re eligible for SNAP benefits.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

WIC is a national supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children under five.

National School Lunch Program

USDA website with information about free and reduced price lunches for school-aged children and other child nutrition programs.

Government Services

Official website of the U.S. government to inform you of benefits you may be eligible for and how to apply for assistance, such as Medicaid, Disability, and Unemployment. You can search for benefits by state or specific benefit category (food, healthcare, etc.).

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)—Help for Families

States receive funding to help families reach self-sufficiency. Find out how your local program can help.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—Insure Kids Now

Information for free or low-cost health insurance coverage for children and teens. You can also learn more about health coverage in your state by calling 1-877-543-7669.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Find a health center near you! HRSA is the primary federal agency helping improve health care access for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable.

Get help finding and using health insurance with this federal website that helps you find and compare private health plans.

Money Management

Several government agencies offer advice on how to manage your money; site includes calculators, budgeting worksheets, and checklists to help manage your finances.

Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC)—Money Start

Money Smart is a website designed to help you enhance your financial skills, and includes budget worksheets, a checklist for credit decisions, and a sample daily spending diary.—Managing Household Records

Guidelines and tips for records management system for your home—how to know what to keep, what to throw away, and how to store it all.

Senior Resources

National Center for Elder Abuse

Find out more about Elder Financial Abuse and how to prevent it. If you suspect someone is a victim of financial abuse, visit this online locator to find resources in your state, or call the hotline at 1-800-677-1116.

Social Security Administration—Retirement Benefits

Publications and interactive tools to help in planning for retirement benefits. Retirement

Learn some of the basics of retirement and pension benefits.

Student Resources

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB)—Paying for College

Get help to make informed financial decisions about how to pay for college—visit CFPB’s website for financial aid worksheets and tips on student banking.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Apply for federal student aid online using the Department of Education’s FAFSA on the web.

U.S. Department of Education—Federal Student Aid

Learn how to prepare for college, what types of aid you can receive, whether you qualify for aid, how to apply for it and how to manage your loans on the federal student aid website.

Tax Preparation

Volunteer Income Tax Sites (VITA)

The IRS’s VITA sites offer free tax preparation help to people who cannot prepare their own taxes and whose income falls below the guidelines for that year. For the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-906-9887. A map of Baltimore CASH Campaign’s Maryland VITA sites can be found here.

Free File

Free File, a partnership between the IRS and electronic tax software companies, provides free online tax preparation and e-filing services for taxpayers earning less than a certain income.

IRS—Help & Resources

Information on applying for an Electronic filing PIN, how to correct a mistake made on a tax return, check the status of your refund, and more.

Workforce Development/Employment Assistance

U.S. Dept. of Labor—America’s Service Locator

This online tool connects you to employment and training opportunities. The website provides contact information for unemployment benefits, career development, and educational opportunities.

United States Department of Labor

Use this directory to find workforce services in your neighborhood.

United States Department of Defense Office of Warrior Care Policy–Education and Employment Initiative

The Education and Employment Initiative is a Department of Defense program that assists wounded, ill and injured Service members early in their recovery process to identify their skills and match them with the education and career opportunities that will help them successfully transition to civilian life.