The Obama administration has issued a loan guarantee program that could provide up to $3.6 billion to medical assistants and other caregivers to help them pay their bills.
The loans are available to qualified applicants who are employed by federal, state or local governments, as well as nonprofits, hospitals and other organizations.
The federal government has been offering loans for a number of years to help low income Americans pay for medical care, but the program is the first of its kind to be extended to the private sector.
“There are many reasons why this is a good idea,” said Amy S. Miller, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers.
“There are so many ways for a person to make ends meet, and this is one way that they can.”
The program, which is aimed at assisting low-wage caregivers who help people with medical conditions or disabilities, was designed to be “proactive,” meaning that it would not penalize the individuals who make the loans, Miller said.
“This is a way to get a lot of people into the work force and also to help the health care system as a whole,” she said.
The program was originally proposed in 2013, but has only been expanded since then.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that it will help about 400,000 individuals and their families.
“It’s not going to cost anybody any money,” Miller said, noting that the program would not affect those making $50,000 a year.
But the government has not provided the information on how many individuals and families are eligible to qualify for the loan, which will be administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The department said in a statement that the agency will determine eligibility and eligibility criteria based on an individual’s income level, age and other factors.
The goal of the loan is to help people who “need help to help themselves,” according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The program is available to individuals in the 25 to 64 age range.
According to the federal Department of Labor, nearly 50 percent of workers in nursing homes are on fixed incomes.
The government estimates that more than 20 percent of Americans are on food stamps, which are used to help pay for housing and other expenses.
More:HHS has said that it does not intend to penalize any employers who fail to help with payments.
However, in a blog post on Monday, HUD said that the VA and its contractors, the Community Development Banks, are not eligible for the loans.
“If a qualified caregiver makes a loan application to help a veteran, the federal government will not provide assistance to a VA contractor if the worker fails to make timely payments, the blog post said.