We received an email recently from a reader with a question about relocation grants. While looking into it for him, I came to the conclusion that the problem he was having was caused by simple confusion due to the rather broad term used to describe several different types of actual grants. What Jacob was looking for was a grant that would pay for moving expenses so he and his family could relocate to a new city to take a better job. And while I found some information out there claiming that relocation grants simply do not exist, this is not entirely true. You can in fact receive money to help you and your family move especially when taking a new job. But usually the source of this funding is going to be from your employer and not from an organization handing out free cash through moving grants.
Many companies often provide new employees with money to pay for moving expenses when taking a job that requires relocating to a new city. But to call this a relocation grant isn’t being entirely honest. According to a CNN Money article I read, 30-40% of companies regularly pay between $1,000 and $2,500 in moving bonuses to new employees so they can relocate to take a job. And around 10% are willing to pay up to $10,000. But for the most part your ability to get relocation funding from your new employer is going to come down to your negotiation skills. And with the state of the economy in recent years many new employees are just thankful to have a job and are a bit shy about asking for moving expenses. Don’t be afraid to ask but make sure you do so only after you have received a firm job offer. And you should also do your homework before asking. Make sure you research how much your move is going to cost before asking your new employer to pay for your moving expenses. Don’t be afraid to cite this actual cost when approaching your employer about relocation.
So what Jacob was asking was if there are any organizations to turn to that provide relocation grants. Well, yes, there actually are. Grants do exist that help families move for economic reasons, but I was only able to find this type of relocation grant offered in Australia. In the Sydney area, the local government offers these Regional Relocation Grants to people who have to make a move regionally to find better employment. Unfortunately, inside the United States I was not able to turn up any similar programs.
There are in fact relocation grants offered here at home but they don’t actually provide funding for what Jacob was looking for. In New Jersey, the Economic Development Authority offers incentive programs like this Relocation Assistance Grant. The grant provides up to $2,250 per employee to businesses relocating within the state. There is also a program offered by the U.S. Department of Transportation that offers funding to state and local governments called the Rail Line Relocation Program. And while I think its great that these exist, they certainly aren’t the types of relocation grants most of us are looking for.
Remember that if you are buying a new home and you are eligible to receive help through any federal, state or local municipal programs that offer assistance to home buyers, you can use this funding to pay for moving expenses for you and your family. Most of these programs are only available to first time home buyers but there are some local programs that will provide assistance to families moving into a specific neighborhood as part of their community development efforts. Always check locally for this type of help as this is where the vast majority of funding like this is distributed.