This blog post was first published in 2017 and updated on April 1, 2020.
Grants.gov regularly receives a significant amount of queries from users hoping to apply for personal financial assistance from the federal government. These individuals might be looking for home repair grants or forms of disability assistance.
Others are unfortunately driven to Grants.gov by scam artists posing as agents of Grants.gov (or some made-up variant) who promise “free government grants” in exchange for monthly fees or gift cards.
Benefits.gov vs Grants.gov
As we have stated before on this blog, it’s important to make a general distinction between individuals (i.e., one person) seeking government assistance and organizations (e.g., a university, state government, or nonprofit) applying for a federal grant.
If you are an individual seeking government assistance, you should go to Benefits.gov. There, you will find eligibility information for a wide range of offerings, including healthcare and medical assistance, housing and public utilities, financial assistance, and social security and retirement.
The website, which has recently been redesigned, also has a helpful tool, called Benefit Finder, that can guide you to any federal assistance programs for which you are eligible to apply. Benefits.gov has also set up a resource page specifically focused on the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
How Grants.gov Differs
Grants.gov, on the other hand, is a web application that publishes funding opportunities from federal government agencies and serves as a digital mailbox for grant applications submitted by nonprofit organizations, universities, institutions, local governments, and other entities.
Grants published on Grants.gov fund the development and management of government programs and projects that benefit the public in some way.
If you are a researcher, grant manager, local government employee, or principal investigator looking to fund work that will benefit the general public, then you are in the right place. Click here to begin searching for grants relevant to your field or industry.