1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

The Top Twenty Essential US Government Web Sites

By

11. CIA World Factbook

cia world factbook
Find detailed geographical, demographical, and statistical information for every country in the world at the CIA World Factbook - also available in a free download form for easy offline access.

12. US Department of Veterans Affairs

VA
If you are a veteran, then you need to put the VA site in your bookmarks immediately. You can find information about prescription refills, veterans affairs forms, health care benefits, education resources, and much more.

Related: If you've ever served in a branch of the United States military and would like to look someone up that you served with, then this list of free military people search databases is for you. Read more at Free Military People Search.

13. FEMA

fema
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is a great resource for the latest emergency headlines, disaster preparedness, and how to apply for federal or state emergency assistance.

Related:: Here are some of the best sites in which to find all kinds of natural disasters information, from breaking news to general information to history. Read more at How to Find Information on Natural Disasters.

14. IRS

irs
No, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) probably isn't where you want to spend too much of your time, but it's a very rich resource for when you need to find tax information quickly and efficiently.

15. United States Postal Service

usps
The United States Postal Service is a wonderful resource; you can print postage and labels online, change your address, stop your mail while you're on vacation, and a whole lot more.

16. NOAA

noaa
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is a treasure trove for weather junkies or anyone else who wants to stay on top of weather happenings, as well as oceanic research and new aquatic developments.

Related: There's plenty of great weather sites that you can use to find your local weather reports; here are just a few of my favorites at Check Your Local Weather on the Web.

17. National Archives

national archives
Research your genealogical history, delve into historical topics, and view historical documents and photos of all kinds at the National Archives.

Related: Are you trying to find information about a historical event? Looking for online archives for news, music, popular culture, or movie information? I've put together a good, basic list of online archives for you, with everything from the National Archives to Papyrus Archives (ancient Egyptian hieroglypics!) to Simpsons Archives. Read more at Find an Archive on the Web.

18. Social Security Online

social security online
Need to apply for social security benefits? Replace your Medicare card? How about plan your retirement, qualify for disability, or get help with name changes? You can do all these things and more at Social Security Online.

19. USGS

usgs
The US Geological Survey is one of the most interesting sites on the Web: "As an unbiased, multi-disciplinary science organization that focuses on biology, geography, geology, geospatial information, and water, we are dedicated to the timely, relevant, and impartial study of the landscape, our natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten us."

Related: Need more science? Try Scirus, a science search engine dedicated to only searching science-specific content. At the time of this writing, Scirus searches over 250 million science-specific web pages, filtering out those results that are not science related in order for you, the user, to quickly pinpoint what it is that you're looking for.

20. State and Local Government Information

state government
Find links to state and local government here at the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room's list of state government resources.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.