Federal Apps at apps.usa.gov

Did you know that the federal government produces apps? Not the bird-tossing kind, but the kind where you can pull up the Constitution of the United States with analysis and interpretation. “The U.S. Constitution:  Analysis and Interpretation” app was created by the Library of Congress.  Got a G5 Grant? The Department of Education has an app for you that will allow you to (depending on your security level) create and modify payments, view and modify profiles, view grant award information, access links to related websites, view G5 News and Events, and contact the help desk. Or have you ever wondered about your mobile broadband performance? If you are like me, then the answer is yes! Everyday! Well, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has an app for you. It’s the “FCC Speed Test.”  This app allows you to access real-time performance data on your device and provides historical results with the touch of a screen. Of course, the FCC would love for you to volunteer to help them measure America’s broadband usage; tests run automatically and the data collected is anonymous. Oh and yes, the app is ad-free. There are 14 apps for travel. My favorite is GSA’s “Per Diem for Continental U.S. (Federal).” As you may be aware, federal per diem rates are based on counties within states, and I never know what county I am in, but I do know the state and city. This app allows you to input state and city to find your local per diem, no county required. And I love the “Smokey the Bear” app from the Forest Service. Not just because it gives you a step-by-step guide on how to properly build and put out a campfire, but because it comes with Smokey the Bear himself on the app. Be forewarned, not every federal app will work on every mobile device. Each agency decides which platform they will use for their particular app and not every agency works with the same service providers and platforms. There are 33 medical apps available and, while they don’t toss birds, you can quarantine a village, or talk to the sick, ask for more lab results, and save lives with the “Solve the Outbreak” app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And let us not forget the Internal Revenue Service, with their “IRS2Go” app; you can get your refund status or tax record, watch IRS videos from YouTube, get tax updates and the latest IRS news. And it is available in Spanish. All the apps featured are free, but charges from your cell phone carrier may apply. 

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