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Free Rent for Three Years?! & More Low Income News

Free Rent for Three Years?! & More Low Income News

Shutdown scare, Social Security shakeup, and… Santa? From top-tier government tussles to early holiday hurrahs, we’re covering the news that impacts you the most.

This week’s low income news update includes nationwide headlines as well as local news.

Nationwide Low Income News

As autumn leaves begin to tumble and the scent of pumpkin spice fills the air, our nation faces a whirlwind of pivotal updates that might just influence your holiday plans and pocketbook. Here’s what every low income American needs to know this week.

Government Shutdown Debate

If the government doesn’t take decisive action by midnight tonight, the United States Government may be compelled to shut down. If the shutdown happens, here’s a quick overview of what you can expect.

Social Security, SSI and VA Benefits will continue uninterrupted, according to sources at the VA and Congressman Dan Kildee. However, secondary services from Social Security and the VA may be reduced or halted during the shutdown. For example, the VA’s GI Bill Hotline would be closed and 15% of the Social Security Administration’s staff would be furloughed.

Those who rely on SNAP or WIC for food benefits are especially at risk. According to Congressman Kildee, “Over 7 million Americans, including over 200,000 Michigan families, who count on WIC would lose their benefits and be turned away at grocery store counters. In a prolonged shutdown, nearly 1.5 million Michiganders who count on SNAP could lose access to affordable food options.”

Update on Social Security Repayments

Lawmakers have called for Congressional hearings to investigate the recent uptick in Social Security overpayment problems.

Two weeks ago, we reported that Social Security was demanding billions of dollars back from people they claimed had been overpaid. Representative Mike Carey and Senator Sherrod Brown agree that hearings must be held to get to the bottom of this situation.

However, so far no conclusive action has been taken.

Free Christmas Gift Programs Starting Now

Christmas is less than 85 days away and many of the country’s best Christmas gift-giving programs are already gearing up for a busy season.

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Campaign helps millions of low income children and seniors every year. This is one of the most reliable ways to get help if your family needs it.

In some states, enrollment for this program has already begun. After all, these organizations have to find the families in need before they can find people to fulfill those wishes. All this takes time, so it’s important to register as soon as possible if you need help this holiday season.

In Mississippi, the Salvation Army Angel Tree program is opening registrations this week. You can apply online or contact your local Salvation Army for assistance.

For other programs that provide free Christmas gifts and food, check out our Christmas Resources List.

Nationwide Guaranteed Income Program Proposed

A new proposal would create a nationwide guaranteed income pilot program. This program would provide monthly cash payments equal to the rent of a two-bedroom home in your zip code for three whole years!

This new Act is called the Guaranteed Income Pilot Program Act of 2023. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The amount would be equal to the fair market rent for a two-bedroom home in the recipient’s zip code
  • Payments would be sent on or near the 15th of each month
  • Payments would continue for three years
  • Income from this program wouldn’t count toward SNAP, Medicaid or other assistance programs

That’s the good news. The catch, of course, is that not everyone will be able to get that money.

Only 10,000 people would be selected to receive those payments. Another 10,000 would be selected as a control group for a comparative study.

If you’d like to see this become law, reach out to your elected representatives – and remember to thank Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey for reintroducing this Act to the House of Representatives.

Medicare Prices Remain Stable in 2024

No need to worry about Medicare price hikes in 2024! The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has confirmed that average premiums and benefits for Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Part D prescription drug program will largely remain unchanged in 2024.

Due to the Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare Part D will continue to offer benefits such as a $35 limit on a month’s supply of covered insulin products, no-cost adult vaccines, and additional savings on drug coverage costs in 2024. For those in need, the subsidy program, also known as Extra Help, is expanding to assist with premium and cost-sharing expenses.

Dental Now Included in Medicaid in Some States

More states are adding dental coverage to their Medicaid plans! Since the start of this year, six states have worked toward expanding Medicaid to provide adult dental care.

These states include:

  • Hawaii
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • Tennessee

When people don’t have access to dental care, it can cause a lot of problems. Dental problems can lead to significant health problems, and the pain can be absolutely debilitating. I’m glad to see that these states are expanding this essential coverage.

Free Online College for Low Income High School Students

The University of California has announced that they will offer free online classes to low income high school students nationwide! This program is expected to begin next year.

Through this program, students who attend high schools in low income areas will be able to attend two classes for credit starting in Winter Term 2024. These courses will be available through the National Education Equity Lab, which also hosts free courses from Harvard, Howard University and Stanford.

The courses will be available for free to eligible students, although participating schools will have to pay $250 per student to cover administrative and support costs.

Free Financial Literacy Course

Capital One has partnered with the online learning platform Khan Academy to offer a Financial Literacy course.

This course addresses many different important topics, including:

  • Budgeting
  • Loans & Debt
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • and more!

This course can be found in Khan Academy’s Life Skills category.

Get Your Piece of these Payouts!

When companies make mistakes, such as misleading promotions or offering defective products, they may face class action settlements. If you’ve been affected, there’s a possibility of compensation for you.

There could be unclaimed funds with your name on them! Every dollar adds up, so you don’t want to miss out on these. It usually only takes a few moments to claim your money.

SettlementDue
Froedtert Health Meta Pixel Data Privacy
If you logged into a MyChart patient portal that was maintained by Froedtert between February 1, 2017, and May 23, 2022, you may be eligible.
Oct 5, 2023
Waste Pro USA FCRA – $59.74 value (estimated)
If you applied for a job or worked with Waste Pro USA and the company pulled your credit on or after June 5, 2020, you may be eligible for a check.
Oct 6, 2023
Onfido Biometrics
This one is a little complicated. In order to be eligible, you must have been in Illinois while you uploaded a photo or video (and photo ID) to a website or app that used Onfido’s identity verification between June 12, 2015 and May 5, 2023.
Oct 6, 2023
Vivint Smart Home Accounts
If you did not sign up for Vivint’s home security and monitoring and yet an account opened in your name between 2016-2019, then you may be eligible for this. More than 9,000 people are expected to be eligible.
Oct 9, 2023
Right Guard Antiperspirant
If you bought Right Guard Sport or Right Guard Xtreme antiperspirant sprays between November 19, 2018 and June 8, 2023, then you may be eligible. No proof required.
Oct 14, 2023
A&W Root Beer & Cream Soda – $5.50 value (estimated)
A&W wasn’t exactly honest when they said their products were “made with aged vanilla.” In fact, their products contained ethyl vanillin, an artificial flavoring. If you bought a cream soda or root beer product that said “made with aged vanilla” between Feb 7, 2016, and June 2, 2023, then you may be eligible for a check. No proof required.
Oct 18, 2023
The Standard Market – $750 value (estimated)
If you worked at The Standard Market in Illinois and they scanned your fingerprint between May 9, 2014 and February 22, 2020, you might be eligible for a substantial check!
Oct 18, 2023

Secure Your Success with these Grants!

Got a business idea brewing? There are grants ready to back your venture’s kick-off or growth. Think of it as complimentary capital – no payback needed!

Our partner, Skip, provides a comprehensive database of entrepreneurial funds to help you take the leap. Below is a curated list of grant initiatives accepting applications now:

Open Grants
Awesome Grant – $1,000
Got an awesome idea for a project or business? Apply on the Awesome Foundations website! You don’t need an established business or anything – just an awesome idea. This grant is awarded monthly.
FedEx Entrepreneur Fund 2023 – up to $10,000
This program will provide $10,000 each to 30 eligible entrepreneurs. In order to be eligible, you must have a disability or a connection to the military (such as a veterans, military spouses or family members). Applications are due October 6.
October Skip Grants – $1,000
Every month, Skip gives away $1,000 to a US-based small business owner! To enter to win October’s grant, you need to apply by October 30.
“No” Grant – $2,000
This grant is open to US-based moms over age 18. Applications are due October 31, 2023.

Local Low Income News

We have low income news updates for Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin!

Alabama

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

Arizona

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

California

Governor Newsom signed a new bill that raises the minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 per hour. This will only affect those who work at restaurants that have at least 60 locations nationwide. The law contains an exception for restaurants that make their own bread, like Panera Bread. The wage increase will take effect in April.

In San Francisco, Mayor Breed has proposed a new rule that would require people who receive San Francisco County cash assistance to undergo drug testing. If the screening is positive, that person would need to enter substance abuse treatment in order to get the money. This program currently pays about $697 per month to people who are homeless or formerly homeless.

In Santa Rosa, there’s a new program that can help first time homebuyers. This program can provide low interest loans of up to $75,000 toward the purchase of a home within city limits.

Don’t miss these upcoming events and deadlines!

Connecticut

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

Florida

Saving Our Seniors in St. Petersburg delivers fresh fruits and vegetables to 20,000 seniors every month. This program serves those in

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

On October 13, there will be a Substance Abuse Awareness Resource Fair hosted by the Miami-Dade Community Action and Human Services Department. This event will take place at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center and will feature resources that can help those who have been impacted by substance abuse. 

Illinois

Don’t miss these upcoming deadlines!

Iowa

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

Kentucky

Don’t miss out on these upcoming events!

Louisiana

On October 5, there will be a Game On with COAST resource event for older adults. The event will take place at the Castine Center in Mandeville.

On October 21, there will be a Career & Resource Fair at the Gonzalez Library. Bring a copy of your resume and dress for success, because potential employers will be on-site for interviews.

Maryland

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

Michigan

Applications are opening for Ann Arbor’s Guaranteed Income Program this week! The application period will only be open until October 13.

Minnesota

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

Missouri

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

Nevada

North Las Vegas has a quarterly Resource Fair to help unhoused Clark County residents. The event occurs every three months and assists with the following:

  • Free Food
  • Free Water
  • Blood pressure testing
  • Medical check-ups
  • Housing assessments
  • Health insurance enrollment
  • Information about resources

For information about the Resource Fair, please contact The HOME Team.

New York

Military families in New York now have more options for child care! The Military Child Care In Your Neighborhood Program previously only provided financial assistance if the child attended a nationally-accredited day care. Now, it can help if the child attends a daycare that is licensed by the state as well.

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

  • Oct 3: CPC Manhattan Community Services Event to replace stolen EBT benefits

North Carolina

On Oct 7, there will be a Veterans Health and resource Fair at the Butner National Guard Armory. The event will offer resources about VA benefits, employment, legal, health, and other resources. There will giveaways, door prizes and refreshments provided.

Ohio

The state will implement a diaper tax exception on October 1. This will make it more affordable for low income families to get the supplies that they need.

Don’t miss these events and deadlines!

Oklahoma

Osage Nation students who attend K-12 grades can apply for $250 through the school assistance program. These funds can be used for school supplies, clothing, or technology to support their education. Any Osage Nation members can apply for this, no matter where they live in the United States. Call the Osage Nation Education Department at (918) 287-5300 for more information.

In Tulsa, Revitalize T-Town provides free home repairs for eligible veterans. If you are a low income veteran homeowner who would like help with necessary repairs or disability modifications, please apply online. They have 14 appointments available but you have to apply before October 27!

Don’t forget about these deadlines!

Oregon

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has announced a new program that will help low income customers pay their bills. This program will provide free leak repairs for customers who earn 150% of the Federal Poverty Level or less.

The company already provides a $35 discount per month, a $30 credit for successfully making payment plan agreements, and an additional $300 in hardship assistance every year.

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

South Carolina

If you live in Kingstree, there are a few things you need to know. First, the Kingstree Police Department is willing provide free senior patrol wellness checks for seniors, bedridden or sick residents. You can call the Police Chaplain at (843) 355-5435 to request regular check-ins.

The town also has additional services that are available. They have volunteers that can help people get to appointments, a free health and nutrition program and more. They are also trying to build a parent-to-parent support group for families with special needs.

The details for all of these updates can be found in the Post and Courier.

Don’t miss these upcoming events!

Tennessee

Don’t miss these upcoming events:

Texas

Don’t miss these events!

Utah

Utah has a Childcare Subsidy Program that can help parents, foster parents, and approved relatives get help paying for childcare.

In order to be eligible, the child must be under age 13 and the family must meet income limits.

You can apply online with the Utah Department of Workforce Services!

Vermont

The Humane Society of Chittenden County is offering a pick-your-price adoption promotion. They are hoping this will help more people adopt dogs from their shelter.

The shelter only has capacity for 20 dogs, but they are currently sheltering 33. There is an urgent need for adoptions, so they are waiving the adoption fee and asking for donations instead.

Washington

A new study by the University of Washington found that 28% of families in Washington State can’t afford their basic needs! That’s more than one in four!

If you need help, don’t miss these events!

Wisconsin

Chippewa Valley Little Libraries provide free books to children who are age 8 and under. This service provides help to families in Eau Claire and Chippewa Counties.

Summary

It’s a wild week! The nation stands on the edge of a government shutdown, causing ripples of concern, especially for those dealing with Social Security’s repayment demands. But hope is in sight! We’ve found many programs that may be able to help, including free Christmas gift programs, local resource fairs and so much more. This is the can’t-miss weekly update for low income Americans!

The Low Income Relief Team has over 10 years of experience exclusively researching low income topics. Because we focus on keeping our content as up-to-date as possible, our articles are regularly revised by different authors. When an article has significant contributions from at least two different authors, we use the designation "Low Income Relief Team." Articles attributed to this author may also include some contributions by AI tools. However, every article written by the Low Income Relief Team is personally reviewed by our founder and resident poverty expert prior to publication.

Cheryl Cabral

Saturday 30th of September 2023

Please tell me how to apply for the program.

Catherine Marucci

Monday 2nd of October 2023

Hi. Depending on the program, you should be able to click the links in the article for more information.

C.L.S.

Saturday 30th of September 2023

That would be very nice, if one was selected to receive it. I know there are many many people that could use the help. As for myself, I have been unable to work for 10 years due to pain in my hips and lower back, as well as the sacrum. It stems from broken bones and injuries I received due to a motor vehicle accident when I was 19. I have tried and am still trying to get approved for disability but it's taking a long time to get anywhere. In the meantime, I am dependent on family (mainly my 2 grown children) for most of my needs. I do without many other things as much and as long as I can. I long ago forgot my wants lol. There are so many people in similar situations as mine, and this program would make so much difference in the lives of those that live a sub-par life.

Cynthia

Saturday 30th of September 2023

It would be great if it would go to those who need a hand up and not a hand out. I see the elderly suffering because non citizens suck up the greatest portion of the funds in these programs.

orit

Saturday 30th of September 2023

I would love it if it would pass. I am a senior woman and I live under the poverty level. Not sure how am i going to pay rent in November.