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 www.annualcreditreport.com 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.
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: www.donotcall.gov.
Information and tips provided by the federal government on how to protect yourself and your information online.
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.
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.
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.
USA.gov—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.
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.
Learn some of the basics of retirement and pension benefits.
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.
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, 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.