In this weekly low income news recap, we’re going to talk about recent changes to the Affordable Care Act, as well as some local news that is really exciting!
Affordable Care Act Ruling
Some key provisions of the Affordable Care Act were struck down by a federal judge this week. The Act previously required health insurance companies to fully cover certain preventive services, like certain cancer screenings, HIV prevention drugs, diabetes screenings, and children’s vision exams. The federal judge ruled that this cannot be required.
Bloomberg Law reported that “Access to such services largely won’t grind to a sudden halt, because annual insurance plan benefits are already set for the year. But health experts warn that Americans who struggle with co-pays and deductibles might forgo life-saving preventive treatments should insurers eventually stop covering them.”
This is a major problem because preventative services can help save lives. They also help people save money overall by catching important health problems early, before those problems worsen.
It is likely that the federal government will appeal this decision to a higher court.
State-Specific Low Income News
Now, let’s talk about some state-specific news updates.
In Arkansas, the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund awarded 383 scholarships to single parents this week.
Their next application period opens April 15 for the Fall 2023 semester, so be sure to apply if you want to start college in the fall!
In California, the city of El Monte is launching a new guaranteed income pilot program. This program will provide $500 per month for an entire year to 125 eligible women. You must be a single low income mother living in El Monte to qualify. The application period is only open until April 15, so be sure to apply right away!
Also in California, Los Angeles County is trying to raise awareness of the LIFE program that provides discounted fares to low income people in the county. You can get a free 90 day pass if you attend one of their sign-up events.
In Georgia, a new nonprofit named RIP Medical Debt has paid more than $61 million in medical debt for 89,220 residents of Georgia. This debt was four to nine years old.
A lot of people received letters about this and thought they were scams, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that this is actually very real!
In Michigan, a free mobile dog clinic has been helping pet owners in Detroit. The organizers say that they plan to host free monthly mobile clinics throughout the summer, so I will try to get more information about that.
In the meantime, the event was sponsored by Dog Aide and they may have more details for you.
In Mississippi, victims of the recent tornadoes should be able to find help at DisasterAssistance.gov. The Clarion Ledger reports that residents of affected counties may be able to receive temporary housing grants, home repair assistance, low cost loans and other resources to assist with recovery.
In Montana, homeowners who were affected by flooding in 2022 can now apply for grants through the USDA’s Rural Disaster Home Repair Grant Program.
According to KULR8, “eligible homeowners may apply for up to $40,675 directly from the USDA to repair their homes.”
The funds must be used for home repairs, or to prepare a site for a manufactured home, or to relocate a manufactured home.
In Nevada, officials are looking for more landlords who are willing to take section 8 Housing Vouchers. According to The Nevada Independent, “At the end of last year, the average asking rent for an apartment in Southern Nevada was $1,420 — a cost that is more than half the per capita monthly income for someone living in Las Vegas.”
Hopefully their campaign will get more landlords to accept those vouchers.
In North Dakota, the Senate narrowly rejected a plan to provide free school lunches to more K-12 students. The plan lost by literally one vote in the Senate and now the state’s House of Representatives is trying to fix the measure to see if they can push it through.
In Pennsylvania, Solar United Neighbors is offering free solar panel installations for low income homeowners in Allegheny County. According to the article I read in WESA, the penal provides a free 5 kilowatt solar panel and 15 years of maintenance for eligible households. It looks like they are opening up applications for another 7-10 homeowners next week, so please contact SUN for more information.
Also in Pennsylvania, the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program is coming back! This program can provide up to $5,000 toward your water and sewage costs. It ended last October after the money ran out, but the state expects that the federal government will make more funding available soon.
In West Virginia, the Humane Society of Raleigh County is offering free spay and neuter vouchers to low income pet owners. You may qualify if you receive SSDI, SNAP, SSI, LEAP, TANF, AFDC, CHIP or Veterans benefits.