The current issue focused on public safety wages, but no discussion would be complete without resources to support your public safety career. In this article, you will find some resources and information to help you with your current finances and opportunities to ensure your future financial health. For example, the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) may be available to you if you meet certain criteria. We understand the importance of keeping personal stress low because the professional stress can be very high. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments!
The HUD Good Neighbor Next Door Program
The Retirement Education Center has great information for all aspects of your financial life, including programs that help public safety employees purchase homes!
"During your career, you may be able to purchase a discounted home, up to 50% off the list price, in the community you work in. Through this federal government program, you must commit to live in the home for at least 36 months as your sole residence. Qualifying workers include Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters, EMTs, as well as Teachers.
The benefit is available through the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Good Neighbor Next Door Program. A limited number of homes are available. You don't have to be a first-time home buyer to qualify, but at the time you submit your purchase offer, you cannot own another home or have owned one in the last year."
Visit the HUD website for details.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness for Your Student Loans
Be sure to check out this program if you have federal loans from the Department of Education. You have to meet certain criteria and make 120 payments. Criteria includes working for the right employer, many of which employ public safety professionals:
"What is qualifying employment?
Qualifying employment for the PSLF Program is not about the specific job that you do for your employer. Rather, it is about who your employer is. Employment with the following types of organizations qualifies for PSLF:
* Government organizations at any level (federal, state, local, or tribal)
* Not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
* Other types of not-for-profit organizations that are not tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, if their primary purpose is to provide certain types of qualifying public services"
Also consider that if you are having trouble making your student loan payments, you may qualify for repayment programs that can lower your monthly payment. Visit the student loan website for details. Ensure you are dealing with an actual servicer, and watch out for student loan scams. Unfortunately, scams are recently on the rise.
Life Insurance for Volunteers
If you are a volunteer public safety professional, whether Fire, EMS, or Law Enforcement, there are companies that will provide life insurance for you, whether or not your agency does. Many agencies carry liability, and perhaps disability. Many states require organizations to participate in the program to compensate survivors. But spending time researching the options in your state for a policy that you hold personally should be on your list of financial “things to do.” There are no links in this section, because At the Ready does not promote any single company and are not agents, therefore you must check availability in your own state. A quick Internet search uncovered many companies that advertise these policies.