Zakat cannot be paid to everyone. There are eight specific categories of people to whom zakat can be given:
“The charity are only for the Fuqara’ (the poor), and Al-Masakin (the needy) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s Cause, and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” [Al-Quran 9:60]”
Al-Fuqara (The poor)
Fuqara are the people who live below the poverty line and don’t have enough means to live a normal life like others. They deserve your zakat in order to meet the daily necessities of their lives.
Al-Masakin (The needy)
Masakin are extremely poor and needy people. These people don’t have any possessions or income. Your zakat money can help them in improving their living condition.
Zakat can be given to the people who are authorized to collect and distribute it among the needy and poor.
Those who have converted to Islam
Those who are newly converted to Islam are eligible to receive zakat (if they are needy). If someone has converted and is detached from their family and friends, you can give your zakat to them so that they can start their new journey.
Slavery is prohibited in many parts of the world but still, people are trafficked and kept as slaves. Zakat money can help slaves in freeing themselves and improve their living standards.
Zakat can be given to pay off the debts of someone who cannot repay on his own. However, one must make sure that the money borrowed by the debtor is not used for any un-Islamic or wrong purpose.
For the cause of Allah (Self-Explanatory)
For a traveler who is alone in a foreign land and is in need of money to fulfill his objective of traveling. Refugees can be given zakat money as they leave their countries because of violence and oppression in search of a safe and better place.