Transportation and Loans
3. Free rides
Who's eligible: People with mobility problems and seniors
What you get: Transportation to and from your home to appointments and activities
How it works: Paratransit is the official term for transportation provided by local communities for those who can't drive or comfortably use regular public transportation. These services vary by community, but typically it's a door-to-door van service that's available by appointment. The services are provided by local government agencies, but they receive federal funds intended to guarantee access for the disabled and elderly.
To find out more about the federally funded transportation options in your area, contact your local Area Agency on Aging. More transportation resources are available by searching the Department of Health and Human Service's Eldercare Locator on the topic Transportation.
Tip: These services typically require advance planning. It works best if you establish a regular weekly schedule, so you don't have to remember to call each time.
4. Low-interest loans for small businesses affected by disaster
Who's eligible: Any business or nonprofit damaged in a disaster
What you get: Up to $2 million in low-interest, long-term loans
How it works: If your business is affected by a natural disaster such as a flood or hurricane, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest long-term loans to help you rebuild, make repairs, restock inventory, and do anything else you need to do to get your business back off the ground. The loans can be used to make repairs to the property itself or to machinery and equipment; the money can also be used to replace furnishings and inventory.
Tip: You can get a larger loan to pay for improvements to your property that protect against future damage.
5. Home or car modifications for veterans
Who's eligible: Veterans with a disability
What you get: A loan or loan guarantee to buy a house or car or modify an existing house or car
How it works: The Veteran's Administration provides extensive services to veterans who are considered to have a service-related disability that prevents them from performing normal, everyday activities. But this doesn't mean that you had to become disabled during service; for many veterans, a mental, emotional, or physical condition that began decades before in the military only becomes disabling with age. In this case, you may qualify for service-connected disability benefits at the point that your condition actually becomes disabling.
A key V.A. disability benefit comes in the form of loans and loan guarantees to help veterans buy or refinance a home or condominium. These loans can also be used to modify a home or car. For some veterans with service-connected disabilities, the V.A. also gives Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grants, which pay for modifications to a home to adapt it to accommodate their disability.
Tip: If you live with family members, the grants may also be used to modify the home you're living in or the car in which you're being driven, although it's not owned by you.