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Low Income Resource Roundup | Aug 26, 2023

Low Income Resource Roundup | Aug 26, 2023

Need some extra cash in your budget? From student loan restructuring to grants to utility assistance programs, we’ve found some great new ways to save money and get free stuff this week!

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Nationwide Low Income News

This week’s headlines were dominated by the new SAVE Plan for student loans, but we’ve also found some interesting grants and class action lawsuits you can apply for!

New Student Loan Repayment Plan

If you’ve got student loans, you need to know about the new SAVE Repayment Plan. This is going to help a lot of low income student loan borrowers save a lot of money.

This program is called the Saving on a Valuable Education Plan, or SAVE. It is the new plan that President Biden’s administration introduced after the Supreme Court ruled against the student loan forgiveness plan.

The SAVE Program is income based. If you earn more, you’ll pay more… but if you earn less, you’ll pay less. There are several big differences between SAVE and the other income-based repayment plans that we already have.

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  • The SAVE Program reduces payments on undergraduate loans from 10% of discretionary income to just 5%. Graduate students will pay a weighted average between 5-10% of their discretionary income, depending on their original principal balances.
  • More people will qualify for $0 per month payments because the income exemption will be increased to 225% of the Federal Poverty Level. An individual who earns $15 per hour would not have to make any monthly payments with the SAVE Plan. The Department of Education estimates that around one million more borrowers will qualify for $0 payments under this program.
  • As long as you make your payments on time, your balance will not grow from interest. If your payments are lower than the actual interest due, the excess interest will be forgiven.
  • If you maintain on-time payments for 20 years, the government will forgive whatever is left. If you borrowed $12,000 or less, you only have to wait 10 years for that forgiveness.

You can use the IDR Application to apply for the SAVE Plan. If you were already enrolled in the REPAYE Plan, you’ve been automatically moved to the SAVE Plan already.

If you’re overwhelmed and want help with your application, our sponsor CareConnect USA has a helpline that can assist you. You can reach them at 888-201-0431.

FAFSA Changes

If you’re attending or interested in attending college, then you need to know about these exciting FAFSA changes! The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is getting an update that will make the form easier to fill out. It will also have a later start date and provide more aid to some families!

When I used the FAFSA, it had over 100 questions that needed to be answered. Now, the form will only have 36 questions. Some of the phrases are changing, too.

Instead of opening in October, the new FAFSA will launch in December.

Get Your Settlement Checks

There are a ton of class action settlements with upcoming deadlines that you don’t want to miss!

Eligibility SummaryDue
Instacart Shopper Misclassification
Instacart shoppers in California between Sep 13, 2015, and Dec 15, 2020
Aug 31, 2023
Optimum & Suddenlink Fees
Optimum or Suddenlink customers who paid fees between Jul 27, 2018, and May 5, 2023
Sept 5, 2023
Schnucks Misleading Beer & Wine Prices (est. $11)
Missouri residents who bought wine/liquor from Schnucks between Dec 3, 2015, and Feb 15, 2023
Sept 8, 2023
Home Trust Mortgage Data Breach
Home Trust Mortgage customers affected by July 2022 data breach
Sept 11, 2023
Journeys Unwanted Texts (est. $161.47)
Individuals who got unwanted texts from Journeys between Dec 21, 2017, and May 9, 2023
Sept 21, 2023
Baptist Emergency Hospital Billing
Patients billed for tests at Baptist Neighborhood Hospital
Sept 18, 2023
NetSpend Prepaid Debit Cards
Individuals with NetSpend cards (Jan 1, 2010 – Aug 31, 2016) with fees deducted
Sept 21, 2023
Los Angeles Sewer Service Charges
City of Los Angeles customers billed between May 4, 2016, and Jun 30, 2022
Sept 24, 2023

Often, you are not required to submit any evidence in order to process your claim. If you think you might be eligible, don’t hesitate to start your application. It’s easy and free.

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New Grants Available

If you have a business or you’ve considered starting your own business, there are grants that may be able to assist you. To apply for these, you’ll need to set up account with Skip.

AmountTitleEligibilityDue Date
$1,000August Skip GrantsUS Small Business OwnersAugust 28, 2023
$20,000She’s Connected by AT&TFemale Small Business OwnersAugust 31, 2023
$25,000Bold BeginningsWomen with Big IdeasAugust 31, 2023
$5,000Keep It Local Business FundBusiness owners of color with 1-25 employeesSeptember 1, 2023
$5,000Certification Boost GrantMinority business owners in specified statesSeptember 1, 2023
$10,000Voya Cares Entrepreneur GrantsAdults with Down Syndrome who own or want to start a businessSeptember 1, 2023
$5,000$5 Skip Growth GrantUS Small Business OwnersSeptember 30, 2023
$2,000No GrantUS-based moms over age 18October 31, 2023

These grants are all available in the Skip Dashboard, so sign up for a free account today!

Local Low Income News

This week, we have updates for Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Arkansas

Washington County has made $300,000 in housing stabilization funds available to eligible residents. The money was given to five nonprofits. The money will be used to provide case management services, legal aid, support for domestic violence victims, and more.

The nonprofits who received funds are:

  • Legal Aid of Arkansas
  • Samaritan Community Center
  • Peace at Home
  • Goodwill Industries fo Arkansas
  • Credit Counseling of Arkansas

California

In San Mateo County, county officials have announced plans for a new guaranteed income program. This program will provide financial support for children between birth and three years old, as long as their families meet certain requirements. The new program will provide $300 per month to 200 families who qualify through Medicaid.

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The California State Legislature passed a new bill that is designed to speed up the building of affordable housing the state. This bill removes the repetitive reviews required under the California Environmental Quality Act, thereby removing extra steps and helping developers build low income housing faster.

On September 9, families in San Diego can pick up a low-cost laptop or desktop computer at a drive-thru event. The San Diego County Office of Education and Computers 2 Kids have partnered to offer these low-cost devices for as little as $100. You’ll need to register online by September 6 to claim your device.

On October 8, the Down Syndrome Information Alliance will host a resource fair in Sacramento. This event includes a one-mile fundraiser walk, a children’s fun zone, free entertainment and more.

Connecticut

Homeowners can apply for the Hartford Flood Compensation Program starting September 1st. You can read more about this in our last update.

Delaware

Seaford-area seniors may be able to get help with home modifications through a new partnership between the Sussex County Habitat for Humanity and Delaware Health and Social Services.

In order to be eligible, you must meet these requirements:

  • You must be at least 60 years old.
  • You must own your own home.
  • Your home must be located in the 19973 ZIP code.

This program can provide help with wheelchair ramps, grab bar installation, sidewalk and step repairs and more. You can apply online.

Florida

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the state of Florida. Residents allege that the state is not properly notifying low income patients before removing their Medicaid coverage. The lawsuit claims that the state has known since 2018 that their letters are confusing but they are still using the same notices.

The Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund can help homeowners who have lost money due to the mismanagement or misconduct of a licensed contractor.

In order to be eligible, you must meet these requirements:

  • You must have lost money due to the financial mismanagement or misconduct of a licensed contractor.
  • You must have a judgment against the contractor or have been awarded restitution by the Construction Industry Licensing Board.
  • You must have exhausted all other avenues of repayment.

If you are eligible, you could recover up to $25,000 from this fund. You need to apply right away, though.

Georgia

On September 23, the Greenbriar Mall will host a Hispanic Community Resource Fair between 1pm and 3pm.

Hawaii

The Maui United Way is offering a new Maui Fire Disaster Relief Fund. This fund can provide up to $1,000 in emergency assistance per adult. The money can be given over Venmo, PayPal, direct deposit or through pre-paid Visa gift cards. In order to be eligible, you must have experienced loss, damage, or have lived in the Fire Impact Zone. You can apply online.

The Family Assistance Center has moved to the Hyatt Regency Monarchy Ballroom. This agency is a one-stop shop for anyone who has been affected by the Maui wildfires. They can help you coordinate services from FEMA, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Tzu Chi Foundation Emergency Financial Assistance, legal aid and more.

The SBA has also opened a Disaster Business Recovery Center for survivors of the Maui wildfires. This isn’t just for businesses! Homeowners, renters and small business owners can receive financial assistance through the SBA after an emergency.

This agency can provide disaster loans of up to $500,000 to homeowners who need help repairing or replacing damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are also eligible for up to $100,000 in funding to repair or replace damaged personal property. This can include vehicles!

The loans have interest rates as low as 2.5 percent and terms up to 30 years, to make them as affordable as possible. New SBA rules ensure that interest doesn’t even start to accrue until after the fist 12 months!

Illinois

Low income seniors in Wheaton can apply for the Wheaton Senior Assistance Program! This program provides monthly financial assistance for low income seniors.

In order to be eligible, you must meet these requirements:

  • You must be at least 65 years old.
  • You must be a current resident who lives within the incorporated Wheaton boundaries.
  • You must live within those boundaries for at least nine months of the year.
  • You must have at least three years of residency.
  • You must have an annual household income that is $32,050 or less.
  • You must agree to an in-person interview at home.
  • You must NOT be participating in Section 8 or DuPage Housing Authority Assistance.

The deadline to apply for this program is September 22, 2023. You can use this application.

Indiana

On September 9, a Community Resource Fair will be held in Riverside. This event includes free carousel rides, free food and help connecting to resources in the community.

On September 20, Handing Out Hope will provide free resources and supplies to the Fort Wayne community. The event will take place between 11am and 1pm at the Allen County Public Library.

Iowa

Construction has started on the AHEPA Senior Living facility near Southridge Mall! This complex will provide 90 affordable apartments for low income seniors in the Des Moines area. It is expected to be ready within the next two years.

Kansas

The Wichita City Council approved a new one-year property tax relief program for low income seniors, veterans, and families. In order to qualify, you must provide proof that you received a tax credit of at least $40 from one of three state programs. The eligible state programs include the Kansas Property Tax Relief for Low Income Seniors, Homestead Refund or the Kansas Property Tax Relief Claim for Seniors and Disabled Veterans.

As long as you’ve received at least $40 in credits from at least one of those programs, you’ll be able to apply for this program when it opens. Follow the Wichita Eagle for more information.

Maine

Maine has already repealed the senior property tax freeze program that they introduced last year.

Instead, they are expanding two other tax relief programs that only serve low income seniors. The Property Tax Fairness Credit has been increased to $2,000 and the State Property Tax Deferral Program has doubled the income limit to $80,000.

If you are a low income senior in Maine who owns real estate, make sure you check out these programs that can help!

Massachusetts

Around $5 million has been set aside in the state budget to develop a low income discount fare program for MBTA. This new program will help low income customers use public transportation for less. The program is still being developed.

On September 9, a Community Resource Fair will take place at CHA in Malden. This event will offer face painting, music, ice cream and games. The event will also help you connect with housing, food, immigration assistance and other resources.

Also on September 9, the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council will host a Community Resource Fair. The event will take place at Campognone Park between 11am and 2pm that day. There will be games, raffles, arts and crafts, live music and community resources provided.

On September 27, the Bourne Public Schools system will host a Community Resource Fair. The event will include entertainment, as well as help with food, housing, clothing, mental health services, safety and more.

Michigan

Grand Traverse is building 170 affordable homes for Tribal members. The first 16 units have already been built. The housing is exclusively for members of federally-recognized tribes like the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Minnesota

On August 30, a Back to School Resource Fair will take place in Shakopee. The event will occur between 3 and 6pm at 1615 Weston Court. The event will include free snacks, activities and giveaways.

Missouri

On October 5, an Autism Resource Fair will be held in Chillicothe. This event will take place at the Calvary Baptist Family Life Center between 4:30 and 6:30 pm. The event will include a free meal, giveaways, and tons of resources for families who have a child with autism.

Montana

Montana homeowners have until October 1 to apply for a $675 property tax rebate! In order to be eligible, you must have lived in your home for at least seven months during 2022. Get yours at getmyrebate.mt.gov.

Nevada

The United Way of Southern Nevada is hosting a Project REACH Senior Expo Event at various locations around the city. This event helps seniors get financial assistance with their utility bills.

The upcoming events include:

  • August 29: Aliante Casino Hotel & Spa between 8am and 12pm
  • August 31: Palace Station Hotel & Casino between 8am and 12pm

New Hampshire

The University of New Hampshire has opened a Student Emergency Financial Assistance Fund for NH students. It is available to both graduate and undergraduate students who cannot afford their essential expenses. This fund can help you up to once per year. You can apply online using the request form.

New York

A state senator in New York wants to change the rules for the HEAP program so that more seniors can receive free or discounted air conditioners.

Housing lotteries are currently open for 40 low income units in Harlem (until October 9) and 138 apartments in Inwood (until October 13).

On September 12, a Senior Resource Fair will be held at Southside Mall in Oneonta. This event will help seniors find help with housing, medical needs, health screenings and more.

On September 13, a Senior Moments Resource Fair will be held at Fingerlakes Mall in Aurelius. This event provides classes, demonstrations, benefits screenings, legal aid services, flu shots, discount cards, free goodie bags and door prizes.

On September 16, a Veterans Appreciation Picnic will take place in Salt Point. Each veteran can bring one guest to the free picnic, but you need to register online before September 8 to claim your spot.

On September 28, a resource fair will be held at the Kennedy Memorial Park in Hempstead. It will take place between 10am and 2pm. The main purpose of the event is to highlight job opportunities for people who are involved with the justice system.

North Carolina

Durham County is launching a new guaranteed income program called DoCo Thrive. This program will provide $850 a month to those who are selected. Around 125 eligible people who are not selected will receive $100 a month to participate in a monthly survey.

On September 14, a Community Health & Resource Fair will be held between 3-6pm in Spruce Pine. This event will include giveaways, helpful resources, and fun activities. The first 50 families to check in will also get a $10 voucher for free Mexican food that can be used at the event.

Ohio

On August 27, the GoPack Community Resources Fair will be held in the Lafayette Hotel. It will take place between 1pm and 4pm and is open to all residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley. The event features door prizes, events, classes, workshops, demonstrations and over 40 tables from various resources in the area.

Oklahoma

On September 8, OKFA is hosting an event for veterans called Sooner Stand Down. It will take place at 17424 NW 4th St in Oklahoma City. The doors open at 6:30 am for breakfast and agencies will be available to help you with various services, including dental care and legal assistance, starting at 8am. The event offers free food, personal care items, reading glasses and clothing.

Pennsylvania

The School District of Philadelphia has introduced a few new programs to help students get to school despite the city’s widespread shortage of school bus drivers. These programs include:

  • The Flat Rate Program provides $300 per month to families who drive their children to and from school. If you can only take your child in the morning or afternoon, you may be eligible for $150 per month.
  • Th SEPTA Student Fare Card allows children to use SEPTA trolley, buses and subway system for the entire school year.

You can get more information about both of these programs on the Philadelphia School District website.

On August 28, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is holding a veterans resource fair in Williamsport! This event will occur between 1pm and 1:30pm at the Penn College Professional Development Center.

Texas

Texas Mission of Mercy is a mobile dental clinic that brings free dental care to rural communities with limited access. They are planning an event in the Bert Ogden Arena on September 15 and 16. This event will provide free dental services to over a thousand patients. They will be able to provide x-rays, dental cleanings, fillings, and extractions at no cost.

On November 11, the Fresh Start Resource Fair will help people seal the records of non-violent low-level misdemeanors. The fairs also provide other services. Register in advance through the Bayou City Community Court.

Virginia

Fairfax County is launching a guaranteed income program that will help support 180 families. Those families will receive $750 per month for 15 months. This program is focused on serving working families who don’t qualify for SNAP or TANF.

In order to be eligible, you must be over age 18, employed, and living in Fairfax County with at least one child age 16 or under. Your income must be between 150-250% of the Federal Poverty Level. Only 10 zip codes in the county are eligible.

On September 6, the One Stop Resource Fair will open in Warren County. The event will take place between 1-4pm at the Warren County Community Center.

Washington

On August 31, a resource fair will be held at Heritage Park in Olympia. This event will run from 1-5pm and include demonstrations to teach people how to administer Narcan.

On September 7, there will be a Community Resource Fair in Tacoma. It will take place at Stewart Heights Park between 2-5pm. The event will offer goodie bags, free food, financial assistance and entertainment.

Wyoming

You may be eligible to get help with your water and sewer bills, but you need to apply before August 31, 2023. The LIHWAP program application portal will close that day. This program provides an average of $340 toward your utilities.

You may be eligible if you have a household income that is at or below 60% of the Area Median Income or if a member of your household receives LIHEAP assistance.

You can apply online before August 31.

Summary

The weekly low income news roundup from Low Income Relief provides the most comprehensive and trustworthy source for news that affects low income Americans. This summary includes information about the new SAVE Student Loan programs, as well as information about grants, class action settlements, housing support, financial assistance programs, disaster relief, and upcoming community resource fairs.