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Low Income Relief Roundup: May 25, 2024

Low Income Relief Roundup: May 25, 2024

Housing and healthcare can be very expensive, and raising a family on a budget is challenging. This article provides practical ways to save money and get the assistance you need. We will cover tips for housing, healthcare, and other areas. Let’s begin!

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Nationwide News

Let’s take a look at some important updates and opportunities available across the country. Here’s what’s happening nationwide:

New Class Action Settlement

Did you buy essential oils from Young Living between 2017 and 2024? If so, you might be able to get up to $20 or a $5 Young Living coupon from a recent class action settlement.

To file your claim, go to the settlement page. If you have receipts, you can get the maximum payout, but you can still claim up to $5 without receipts.

You can also check if you are eligible for the Walmart Weighted Grocery Settlement and the Panera settlement. It’s always worth checking for these opportunities!

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New Patient Assistance Program

If you have Medicare and are living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you may be eligible for financial help from the HealthWell Foundation.

They have a new program that can provide up to $3,250 for your medication copays or insurance premiums. To qualify, your household income must be at or below 500% of the Federal Poverty Level.

For help, visit HealthwellFoundation.org. To learn about more programs like this, explore other ways to get financial assistance for chronic illnesses.

Section 8 Updates

Section 8 housing vouchers are supposed to help, but the system is a mess. Millions of people who qualify are stuck on waiting lists for a long time. Even when they get a voucher, many landlords turn them away.

A recent report by Business Insider showed that only 60% of Section 8 recipients actually find housing through the program. There are a few reasons for this. Sometimes, you only have 60 days to find a place once you’re approved, which is very difficult. Many landlords also don’t want to deal with the inspections and paperwork that come with Section 8.

Advocates suggest that getting rid of the inspection requirement and reducing paperwork could encourage more landlords to accept these vouchers.

In the meantime, the folks at HUD are trying to make things fairer for people who have had run-ins with the law.

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They are proposing new rules to protect people living in public housing or using HUD vouchers from being evicted just because someone in their family gets in trouble. These rules won’t change things for everyone, only those in public or HUD-supported housing, but it’s still a big step.

This is just a proposal right now. HUD is asking for everyone’s thoughts on it by June 10th. After that, they’ll make a final decision. If you have an opinion on this, now’s your chance to be heard! Contact HUD or leave your thoughts at regulations.gov if you want to share your views on this change.

Dental Care Reform Act

A new bill called the Comprehensive Dental Care Reform Act of 2024 has been introduced. If passed, this Act will provide dental coverage for seniors, veterans, and low-income families through Medicare, Medicaid, and VA benefits.

The state of dental care in America is concerning. One in five seniors has lost all their natural teeth, and over 40% of kids have tooth decay by kindergarten. Many people with dental insurance still can’t afford necessary care, and nearly 70 million adults and 8 million children have no dental insurance at all.

This new law could save money by reducing emergency room visits for dental issues, which cost over $2 billion annually. Treating these problems at a dentist could save up to $1.7 billion each year.

The Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2024 is now in the Senate. If you’d like to see affordable dental care options expanded, please visit Congress.gov to find your senators and encourage them to support this bill.

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New Mortgage Plan

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) has a special program that offers a zero down payment option. They can provide up to $15,000 towards your down payment with no interest and no monthly payments.

However, there is a catch. This assistance is a second loan that you need to pay back when you refinance or sell your home. Despite this, it could be a great way to start your journey to homeownership.

There are some rules to qualify. Your income must meet certain limits, and you need a good credit score. Also, you can’t apply directly with UWM. Instead, you need to find a mortgage broker who works with them. You can use MortgageMatchup.com to find a suitable broker.

Local News

Now, let’s dive into the latest updates and opportunities available in your area. Here’s what’s happening locally:

Alabama

If you’re in Jefferson County and have been delaying a colonoscopy due to cost, there’s good news. The Alabama Colorectal Cancer Screening Project offers free colonoscopy screenings for low-income or uninsured individuals. This program aims to catch colon cancer early when it’s easier to treat. For more details, contact the University of Alabama.

Alaska

In Alaska, Medicaid applicants are facing long wait times, with over 15,000 applications still pending. If your application is pending, you can still get medical care. Coverage starts on the first day of the month you applied.

The Division of Public Assistance is working to reduce the backlog by adding staff, working overtime, and automating tasks.

California

Here are some important housing programs available for residents in different parts of California. Check out the opportunities below to see if you qualify:

  • Pasadena residents can receive up to $100,000 loan for home repairs. The loans have zero interest and no payments while you live in the home. You must meet income and residency requirements. Attend a virtual workshop on June 5th at 6 pm to learn more. Applications are open between June 10th and July 12th. Learn more at the City of Pasadena website.
  • San Diego residents aged 55 or older can get $500 monthly rent assistance through a rental subsidy program. You must be a resident of San Diego, spend over half of your income on rent, and be struggling to make ends meet. Applications are open now, and selections are random. For more information, email [email protected] or call (619) 780-3684.
  • Fresno residents can apply for new low-income housing in Fresno and Pinedale. Applications are open from May 23rd to June 6th. Sign up for an account on the Fresno Housing Authority website to apply. If selected, you will be placed on a waiting list and receive further instructions.
  • San Francisco residents may soon receive rent assistance through a proposed city charter amendment. The amendment aims to create a Housing Opportunity Fund to help low-income seniors and people with disabilities aged 62 or older living in affordable housing. If approved by the Board, the amendment will go to voters in November for final approval.

Delaware

Delaware is also offering free diapers to families on Medicaid. New parents can get up to 80 diapers a week, plus a pack of wipes, for the first few months after their baby is born. This initiative will significantly help families who are struggling to afford diapers, keeping babies healthy and happy. This support means parents won’t have to miss work or school due to not having enough diapers required by child care providers.

For more details on the program and eligibility, please visit Delaware’s Medicaid website.

Georgia

The Central City Apartments and the Phil and Alice Sheridan Health Center are offering 82 new apartments in Macon. Sixteen of these apartments are specifically for people experiencing homelessness, while the rest are available for low-income residents. Each apartment includes a kitchen, living room, and bathroom. The center will also provide health care, case management, and educational classes to help residents get back on their feet.

Most applicants will need to pay a $25 application fee, but there are options for those who can’t afford it. Rent will depend on your income, and you’ll need to be in good standing with any previous landlords. If you’re in the Macon area and this sounds like it could help you, reach out to the Macon Housing Authority for more information.

Iowa

Kansas

Exciting news for Kansas residents! The Double Up Food Bucks program is now available at Harvest Farmers Market in Salina. Double your benefits and enjoy more fresh, healthy food.

Maine

Kennebunkport is holding a housing lottery for a beautiful two-story home in Heritage Woods. This three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home could be yours for a fraction of the market price.

To qualify, you can’t earn more than 120% of the area median income, you need to secure a mortgage, and you must be able to afford the home. If you’re interested, apply by June 24th. The winner will be announced on June 27th. For more information, contact the Kennebunkport Town Hall.

Missouri

The Mid America Regional Council has established a new meal program for seniors at the Parkville Living Center. Seniors over age 60 and adults with disabilities can enjoy a hot meal for free at noon on Mondays and Wednesdays. All others pay $5.75. Reservations are required, so be sure to call in advance.

Nebraska

If you’re in Nebraska, LIHEAP cooling assistance is now available to help you beat the summer heat. To qualify, your household must include someone who is at least 70 years old, under the age of 6, or has a severe illness aggravated by heat. If you might be eligible, contact the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to apply.

New Mexico

Low-income seniors in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, can now access free groceries at several locations. If you’re over 50 and meet the income requirements, you can receive fresh produce, non-perishable goods, toiletries, and even pet food.

For more information or to confirm eligibility, call 505-884-3881. This is a great opportunity to stretch your food budget and access essential supplies. Don’t miss out!

New York

For the first time in nearly 15 years, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is opening applications for their Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. This program helps low-income families afford rent by covering the difference after you pay about 30% of your income.

To qualify, your household income must be 50% or less of the area median income. The application window is from midnight on Monday, June 3rd, to 11:59 PM on Sunday, June 9th. Only 200,000 applications will be randomly selected for the waitlist.

Check your status on the NYCHA Self Service Portal and apply online. Don’t miss this opportunity!

North Carolina

WAMY Community Action is offering free weatherization assistance to low-income families in Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties. This program helps make homes more energy-efficient, saving money on utility bills. To learn more and apply, visit WAMYCommunityAction.org or call 828-264-2421.

You can now double your benefits with the Double Up Food Bucks program at Wilmington Farmers Market. This means more fresh, healthy food for you and your family.

Ohio

Families in Stark County, Ohio, the YMCA of Central Stark County is offering free summer programs for low-income families. If your household income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level and you have K-12 students, your children can participate at no cost!

Choose from summer camps, sports, and more at any YMCA branch or Camp Tippecanoe. Register at your local YMCA and complete the TANF self-attestation forms to get started. Visit ymcastark.org for details and a full list of programs. This is an amazing opportunity you won’t want to miss!

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is introducing an alternative to the ACP program as it winds down. State Representative Powell has proposed a new bill to provide a $30 monthly internet subsidy for eligible low-income families and households with children. This initiative aims to ensure continued access to affordable internet for those in need.

Allegheny County has announced a new program called Allegheny Go. Starting June 3rd, SNAP recipients can use the Ready2Ride app to purchase discounted fares on public transportation. This includes a 31-day pass for just $48.75, which is half the regular price. If you don’t have a smartphone, a new ‘smart card’ will be available in January to extend these discounts to everyone. For more information, visit Allegheny County’s website.

Tennessee

Tennessee is making history by offering free diapers to families on Medicaid. Starting in August, families can get up to 100 diapers a month for kids under two years old. This is a huge deal for families struggling to make ends meet, as diapers are expensive. This program will help keep babies healthy and happy and ensure parents don’t miss work or school due to a lack of required diapers for child care providers.

In addition, Tennessee has raised the income limit for Medicaid, so even more families might qualify for this help. If you think you might be eligible, check out TennCare’s website for more information.

Vermont

In Vermont, lawmakers have decided not to fund the baby bonds plan that would have created investment accounts for babies born into low-income families.

The plan aimed to deposit $3,200 into accounts for approximately 2,000 babies born each year to Medicaid-eligible families. These “baby bonds” were projected to grow to $11,500 by the time the child turned 18, with the funds intended for buying a home, starting or investing in a local business, or contributing to a retirement account.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t secure the necessary funding, so the plan will not move forward.

Virginia

Loudoun County is considering a new program to help low-income families. The program would provide monthly payments to people earning less than 30% of the area’s average income. The exact amount hasn’t been decided yet, but the proposal is moving forward and could be implemented as early as September if it passes.

Washington 

Starting July 1st, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission is launching a down payment assistance program with a twist. It’s interest-free, and the amount you can get depends on the price of modest homes in your area. For example, in King County, you could receive an average of $161,797 in assistance!

This program is specifically for first-time homebuyers with household incomes at or below the area median income. Another requirement is that you or a family member must have lived in Washington before April 11, 1968. The program aims to help communities that faced economic challenges, so there may be other requirements as well.

If you think you might qualify, this could be your chance to own a home in the Evergreen State. Check out the Washington State Housing Finance Commission website for all the details.

Starting June 20th at 8am, Washington state will accept applications for a new program called the Apple Health Expansion. This program offers health insurance similar to Medicaid, even for adults without immigration papers.

Ahrens Valley Eyeworks in Snohomish County is offering free diabetic eye exams for low-income individuals. This is a great opportunity for those in need of this important health service. If you’re interested in this program or other health services for low-income individuals, check out Project Access Northwest online or call (206) 788-4204.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin residents, there’s important news regarding food pantries. As of now, food pantries participating in the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) can choose whether or not to ask for ID and address verification. Starting in October, these pantries will no longer be allowed to request this information.

This change affects 265 state-funded pantries that provide essential food items like milk, eggs, meat, and fresh produce. Previously, ID and address verification were required, which some argued created unnecessary barriers for people in need.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced this change to simplify access to food assistance. By removing these requirements, they aim to make it easier for everyone, regardless of their circumstances, to get the nutritious food they need.

Relief Recap

Many new and ongoing programs are available to help low-income individuals and families across the country. These initiatives aim to improve access to essential services and support. Stay informed about the resources in your area to take full advantage of the assistance available to you and your loved ones.

Michelle Castile

Tuesday 28th of May 2024

The link for the Young Living Settlement does not work. It goes to a page that is not relevant to the settlement at all.

Nicole

Tuesday 28th of May 2024

Thanks for catching that! I missed one letter in the URL. I've fixed it now and here's the correct link: https://www.essentialoilsclassaction.com/