The vast majority of Americans are experiencing the impact of the financial crisis that is currently choking the economy. As a result, many of us have racked up large amounts of debt on credit cards, lines of credit, and mortgages. These debts often come coupled with high interest rates and monthly payments which, if missed or paid late, can damage your credit score and result in even higher interest rates. Luckily for the millions of Americans suffering with debt, the Obama Administration has increased funding to the many government debt relief programs available to help. The types of government debt relief programs offered are numerous, but can be classified into three categories: Debt consolidation, debt forgiveness or debt elimination. All of these government programs are non-profit based, so do not require any type of upfront payment for the services offered, funding is provided by federal taxes and stimulus funding from corporate sponsors. There are many free private debt relief services also available, so be sure to explore all of your options with a trained government agent before taking the next step.Debt consolidation is the most common type of debt relief program, and works by replacing all of your high interest bills with one lower interest consolidation loan. This simplifies your monthly obligations and lowers your total monthly payments, allowing you to start paying off the principle of your debts, not just the interest. Credit card debt forgiveness (sometimes called debt elimination) is achieved by negotiations between government agents and lenders to reduce your total amount of debt owed. By lowering your total amount of debt, lenders receive tax breaks and lower their risk of having clients default on their balances.