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Low Income Resource Roundup | Jan 20, 2024

Low Income Resource Roundup | Jan 20, 2024

Don’t miss out! We’re diving deep into critical updates for low income Americans. Today’s agenda covers disaster SNAP replacements, easy ways to claim some cash, important updates for housing and health care, and other financial assistance programs that are available this week.

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Nationwide Low Income News

In this nationwide news segment, we’ll provide an overview of major trends and topics that impact low income Americans across the country. We’ll also share essential information and insights to help you stay informed about crucial resources and issues affecting communities nationwide.

Disaster SNAP Replacement May Be Available

he SNAP program authorizes states to replace food benefits if you lose your food due to a disaster or household misfortune. Those rules consider extended power outages as a household misfortune, so if your power was out for more than four hours you may be eligible to get more SNAP benefits.

However, this is very time-sensitive. You only have 10 days from the date of the event to file your claim. You need to get a letter from your power company stating how long your power was out and then you need to fill out the application with the food stamps office. If you qualify, you should get those replacement benefits within 10 days. 

I know we all had some crazy cold weather recently. Local news providers are reporting that Oregon and Wisconsin have already authorized these disaster replacements and I expect more states will be making that announcement soon. However, even if your state does not make an announcement, I recommend getting that letter and reaching out to them if you had an extended power outage anyway.

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Easy Ways to Get Extra Cash

You may be able to get some extra cash if you are eligible for one of these class action settlements! Filing your claim is easy and free. It often takes only a few minutes with no documentation required.

These settlements happen when a large group of people are affected by a company’s wrongdoing. If you were affected, you can file a claim to get part of the settlement money.

Here are some open settlements you may be eligible for:

Open Settlements
Equifax Data Breach – up to $500
If you are among the roughly 147 million individuals impacted by the Equifax data breach in September 2017, you may be able to claim a check from this settlement. Claims are due January 22.
Lending Tree Data Breach – $100 est.
If your personal data was potentially exposed during the LendingTree data breach in February 2022, this settlement is for you. You can claim a $100 cash payment or up to $10,000 in reimbursements for actual economic losses.
Bank of America Collection Calls – $500 est.
If you are a Florida resident who has received communication from Bank of America about your account between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. in your local time zone since April 22, 2020, this settlement may apply to you. Claims are due January 26.
GoodBelly Probiotic JuiceDrink Sugar Content
If you purchased any variety of GoodBelly Probiotic JuiceDrink in 32-ounce bottles between August 13, 2017, and November 27, 2023, you could be eligible to receive compensation as part of this settlement. Claims are due January 29.

These are just the ones with upcoming deadlines. There are many more you can apply for. Check out our comprehensive list of class action settlements for more opportunities to claim some cash!

If you have been personally injured or affected by the wrongdoing of a company, you may be eligible for even more significant financial compensation! Our sponsor, Injury Claims, can help you pursue justice and get the money you deserve.

Open Cases
RoundUp Lawsuits
If you have been diagnosed with an eligible illness after being directly exposed to popular weed and grass killer Roundup, you may be eligible for compensation.
Talcum Powder Injuries
If you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian or gynecologic cancer after using talcum powder for feminine hygiene, you may be eligible for compensation.
Other Open Cases
There are also open cases for hernia mesh complications, Ozempic and Mounjaro injuries, Bard PowerPort injuries, birth injuries, auto accident injuries, rideshare assault victims, and veterans who were exposed to certain things.

Don’t wait! Many of the cases we’ve told you about in previous updates have already closed to new claims. Time is running out for these opportunities so start your free claim review today.

For more information about guaranteed income programs and other state-specific initiatives, please check your state subheading below for more information.

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Financial Assistance for Entrepreneurs

Skip offers a unique and valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners through their ongoing grants program. Since 2020, Skip has been awarding grants on a monthly basis to eligible individuals and small businesses.

If you’re interested in claiming a Skip Grant, here are some that are currently open to applications:

Open Cases
January Skip Grant – $1,000
Skip is giving away $1,000 to eligible small business owners and entrepreneurs. You must be at least 18 years old and subscribed to Skip’s YouTube channel to apply. Applications due January 29, 2024.
Skip 2024 Kickoff Grant – $10,000
The Skip $10k 2024 Kickoff Grant is an inclusive opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners across the United States, welcoming applicants from all stages and sizes of businesses. Applications due January 31.

The Skip system even has an AI tool that makes it easy to fill out grant applications. Claim your free Skip account today!

Of course, many areas around the United States are facing a child care crisis because there just aren’t enough child care providers. Idaho is doing something about it, so be sure to check out the information on that under the “Idaho” section below.

We also have information about other local employment initiatives like job fairs, resource fairs, employment workshops and even job placement programs as well. All that information can be found under the state subheadings below.

Concerning Housing Policy Changes in Several States

There is a very dangerous trend emerging across the United States that is going to make it harder for very low income earners to get safe and stable housing. Low income housing rules are changing in many states. The changes will make it harder for the most vulnerable to afford housing.

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In Hawaii, the Hawaii Department of Planning and Permitting recently proposed raising the maximum rent limits, removing minimum household income requirements, and scrapping the rule that requires households to earn three times the rent.

While some of these rules may be beneficial to low income renters, many local residents are furious. One of them said the state is just redefining the word affordable. Others said that if you read between the lines, the new rules just make it easier for landlords to charge more without offering any real help to low income residents. 

In Michigan, the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners just approved a new PILOT program. In this case, PILOT stands for Payment in Lieu of Taxes. This program is designed to encourage builders to create more affordable housing by giving them tax breaks. Instead of paying property taxes, the developers will pay a percentage of the rental income instead. 

But here’s the problem: the housing they’re building isn’t really going to benefit the lowest income earners who need it.

The rules for this new program say that the developer has to rent to people who earn between 80% and 120% of the Area Median Income. That’s between $71,920 and $107,880 per year for Grand Traverse County. 

Some commissioners complained about this and tried to bring those limits down, but the majority of the commission felt that if they lowered the limits then builders wouldn’t participate. So instead, the city decided to basically subsidize the building of so-called affordable housing for people who already have a relatively standard income for the area.

The changes in Washington will affect people who have been waiting for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. The Seattle Housing Authority has decided to completely restructure the way they handle Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. They will now keep the wait list open at all times and award vouchers on a lottery basis.

Since anyone who is eligible can apply online and you don’t have to be in Seattle to apply, the competition for these vouchers will likely increase. They will also be drawing names lottery-style, so someone who’s been on the list for five minutes will have the same odds of winning a voucher as someone who has waited for five years. This means those who have waited the longest may have to wait even longer. 

The situation in Washington DC is so dire that many advocates are calling for social housing. They want the government to purchase and manage housing to make more housing available. Under the most recent proposal, ⅓ of housing would be set aside for very low income earners who make less than 30% of the Area Median Income, another ⅓ would be set aside for people who earn between 30-50% of the Area Median Income, and the rest would be market rate. 

As some regions embrace more government involvement in housing, others are moving in the opposite direction. In Kentucky, the state legislature has taken steps to advance a bill that would prohibit cities from mandating that landlords accept Section 8 housing vouchers. This legislation is specifically aimed at source of income discrimination laws that certain cities have put in place.

Supreme Court Tackles Homeless Camp Case

The Supreme Court has decided to review a decision that impact the rights of homeless individuals in the western United States. The cases under review focus on whether cities can prevent homeless individuals from sleeping on streets when there aren’t enough shelter beds available.

Previous decisions from lower courts have indicated that penalizing homeless individuals for street sleeping when no shelter options exist could be seen as “cruel and unusual punishment,” which would violate the Constitution.

However, city officials and some residents argue that the lower court rulings have made it challenging for cities to manage public spaces and address the issue of homeless encampments. This has become a significant concern, especially as tent encampments have become more common across America.

The Supreme Court’s decision to review these cases will be closely watched, as it has the potential to significantly impact how cities across the U.S. can address and manage homelessness in public spaces.

Application Links & Local Details

In this local news segment, we’ll be sharing valuable information and application links organized by state to keep you informed about important resources and opportunities in your area. Whether you’re looking for government programs, community events, or local services, we’ve got you covered.

Alabama

The childcare program at Troy University has received funding for the next four years. This program provides childcare assistance to low income students who are enrolled at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Arizona

A new affordable senior housing complex will be built in Goodyear. This development will provide 10 new homes for low income seniors who earn 50% of the Area Median Income or less.

Arkansas

Applications are now open for LIHEAP, which can provide up to $475 in assistance toward your home heating bills. The money is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis so it’s important to apply as soon as possible for assistance.

California

The California Dream for All program is back! This program will provide down payment assistance loans worth up to 20% of the home’s value or $150,000, whichever is less. The money does not have to be repaid until the home is sold again.

Since the last round of funding for this program was fully claimed in just 11 days, they’ve made some adjustments this year. Instead of offering the money on a first-come, first-served basis, the system will be set up as a lottery. The lottery will award vouchers in each area proportionate to the number of households who live there.

They will accept applications in April, and then around 2,000 lottery winners will receive vouchers that must be used within 60 days to purchase a home.

Meanwhile, the Long Beach Pledge guaranteed income program is now open to applications! This program will select 200 low income people who will receive a $500 payment every month for an entire year. You must complete the application at longbeachpledge.org before 11:59pm on January 24 in order to apply.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Colorado

Colorado state lawmakers are considering a proposal that would provide former inmates with $3,000 cash when they leave prison. The money would be used to help pay for their basic life expenses, like shelter, when they re-enter society. The only way the money would be distributed is if the person was already enrolled in a job-training program.

Meanwhile, Routt County Public Health is distributing free radon test kits to low income families in the area. You can pick up the kits from their office in Steamboat Springs.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Connecticut

Participation in the Energize CT program is very low in Connecticut, especially in the Fairfield area. Government officials are encouraging low income residents to apply for this program, which can provide free or discounted energy-efficient upgrades that can reduce your utility bills. Officials estimate that 30% of people in Connecticut are eligible for this program.

Delaware

Delaware’s Department of Agriculture is working hard to expand farmer’s market access to low income families. Last year, more people than ever used benefits from programs like the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. They are hoping to bring access to that program to even more communities across the state.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Florida

The My Safe Florida Home program, known for providing up to $10,000 in matching grants for home repairs, is considering some significant updates. These proposed changes are focused on enhancing the program’s effectiveness and reach. The new moves would allow the program to prioritize serving homeowners who are at least 60 years old, and allow the program to cover more services.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Georgia

The Macon Volunteer Clinic has opened a new eye clinic that can help low income residents. This clinic can offer eye exams, vision screenings and eyeglasses.

The MVC already offers primary, dental, and specialty care to low-income and uninsured adults in Macon-Bibb and Twiggs County. You must be between the ages of 18 and 64 years old, be employed and uninsured, and have an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level to qualify for assistance.

Hawaii

The Hawaii Department of Planning and Permitting recently held a daylong hearing about potential rule changes to affordable housing. Some of the rules would increase the maximum monthly rent limits, remove minimum household income requirements, and eliminate the requirement that households spend 33% or less of their gross income on housing costs.

Critics have said that this basically equates to redefining what is affordable. Many expressed concerns that raising the maximum monthly rent would make housing even less affordable to those who need it, since the new adjustments would raise rents by nearly $300 for studio apartments.

Idaho

Anyone who is interested in starting or expand a child care business in Idaho can apply for a free eight-week training program from Wonderschool! This virtual class will help you create or expand your child care business.

This program will also help you apply for the Child Care Expansion Grant, which can provide up to $15,000 per child care opening you create. If you are able to take care of three kids, you could receive $45,000, if you can take care of five, you could receive $75,000, and so on. The money can be used for startup or operational costs, supplies and equipment, learning materials, staffing costs, licensing costs and more.

You must be at least 18 years old and able to pass a background check to participate. Applications for this grant are due April 1, 2024.

Illinois

Metra, in collaboration with the RTA and Cook County, is launching the Access Pilot Program. This program aims to provide reduced fares on the entire Metra system for low-income riders in the six-county region of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties. If you receive SNAP in those counties, you will be eligible for the reduced fares. The program’s pricing will align with Metra’s existing reduced fare and zone structure. Applications for the program are now open and can be accessed online at GetAccess.org, by phone, or in person at designated registration sites​.

In Moline, homeowners can apply for the Homeowner Assistance Fund Home Repair Program (HAFHR) wait list. This program can provide up to $60,000 to help with critical repairs, roofing, plumbing, foundations, and so much more. You must have a household income that is less than 150% of the area median income, which is $132,600 for a family of four. The applications are open now and only 20 people will be selected, so you need to apply right away.

Meanwhile, State Senator Natalie Toro has introduced a new bill that would provide relief for low income renters. If passed, this bill would create a new refundable tax credit that would reimburse low income taxpayers for 5% of their rental costs.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Iowa

Iowa lawmakers are considering a proposal that would extend Medicaid coverage for pregnant women so that they can continue receiving care for up to 12 months after the end of their pregnancy. The current rules limit that coverage to just 60 days.

State lawmakers have also introduced a proposal that would ban guaranteed income programs in Iowa. There is already one program operating in the state.

Insulate Iowa City is a new program that can help low income households in Iowa City stay warm in the winter. If you meet the income limits, the city will pay a local contractor to add insulation to your home. You get to choose the local contractor and there’s no out-of-pocket cost to you.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Kansas

Low income seniors and disabled veterans who live in Johnson County can apply for up to $200 in property tax relief through the Senior and Disabled Property Tax Relief program. In order to be considered a senior, you must be at least 65 years old. If you are eligible, you must submit the application before April 15.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Kentucky

The Kentucky state legislature is advancing a bill that would prohibit cities from requiring landlords to accept Section 8. This bill is intended to stop cities from enacting bills protecting renters from source of income discrimination.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Maine

Governor Mills has requested a Major Disaster Declaration for 10 counties that endured severe storms in December. This declaration would make more disaster relief and financial aid available to people who were affected by those storms.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Maryland

The Maryland state legislature is considering several new proposals related to dental care. These proposals would do different things. One would instruct the state to study whether more dental services should be provided. Another would require all school children to obtain a dental health certificate before entering the school system. Another would expand coverage under the Healthy Smiles program. At this time, these are all just proposals.

Massachusetts

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has announced that the free bus pilot will be extended. It was initially scheduled to end February 29.

Michigan

The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners has approved a new PILOT program. In this case, PILOT stands for Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes, and this program is designed to provide tax incentives for builders interested in constructing rental units at more affordable rates. Basically, if the developer promises to rent to people who earn between 80% and 120% of the Area Median Income, the county could collect a percentage of the rental income instead of the usual property taxes for the property. Commissioners considered reducing the limit to 100% of AMI but they were worried it wouldn’t motivate enough builders to participate.

Meanwhile, Fivecap has implemented a new Diaper Assistance Program that will provide free diapers, wipes, ointments and related products to low income people in their service area. The diapers are available in child and adult sizes. In order to qualify, you must have a household income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and live in their service area of Manistee, Scottville, Baldwin and White Cloud Counties.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Mississippi

A new app called Mississippi Access to Maternal Assistance (MAMA) connects low income moms with resources in their community. This app helps pregnant women and mothers who already have children. Among other things, the app can help you find a free pregnancy test or ultrasound, find a diaper bank, take a childbirth or parenting class, enroll in Medicaid or food assistance, and so much more.

Missouri

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Montana

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Nebraska

Nebraskan lawmakers are proposing an increase to the state’s sales tax in order to lower property taxes. State Senator Lou Ann Linehan has proposed increasing the sales tax by one cent is required to reduce property taxes by 40% like the Governor has requested.

Nevada

Nevada HAND is building nearly 2,000 new low income housing units in Southern Nevada! They are currently working on a new complex for low income seniors. The Buffalo Cactus Senior Apartments in Las Vegas will contain 125 apartments for seniors who earn 60% or less of the Area Median Income. It will also feature a community area, pool, fitness center, outdoor recreation areas and free shuttle transportation.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

New Jersey

Governor Murphy signed a new law this week that requires all high school students at public or charter schools to complete a FAFSA application in order to receive their high school diploma. This does not mean that the students have to pursue a postsecondary education but it will help them understand what they may be eligible for.

The governor has also signed new legislation that will make 60,000 more children eligible for free school meals in the state. Under the new rules, families who have a household income that is 224% of the Federal Poverty Level or less will now qualify for free meals.

New Mexico

The Legislative Education Study Committee endorsed a pilot program that would provide a guaranteed income for low income pregnant women. The program would pay $1,500 per month to around 2,000 low income households. They would be required to participate in home visits from the state, complete surveys and attend prenatal appointments in order to continue receiving the money.

New York

In Brooklyn, a program called Wave Makers has received a grant that will allow them to provide free swimming lessons to 2,000 second grade students. The course will be offered as both a year-round class and an intensive summer program.

In Monroe County, a new program called ROC Your Job is connecting young adults between the ages of 14 and 20 connect with short-term paid opportunities. These jobs last for 17 weeks and are focused on neighborhoods that are heavily affected by gun violence.

  • Jan 30: Virtual Job Fair for job seekers in Chenango, Delaware, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, and Otsego Counties

North Carolina

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

  • Feb 2: Free over-the-counter meds from NC MedAssist at Davidson-Davie Community College

Ohio

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Oklahoma

Hearts that Care Volunteer Health Clinic will open the first free vision clinic in Southwest Oklahoma this week. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on January 22.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Oregon

If you lost food that you purchased with SNAP as a result of the recent storms, you may be able to get your benefits replaced! You could receive an amount equal to one month’s benefit, depending on how much food was affected. You have to file your claim within 10 days of the loss by calling (800) 669-9075 or contacting the office.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has advanced a bill that would restore dental services for adults who receive Medicaid benefits. This coverage was removed from the program in 2011 to cut costs.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Rhode Island

A state lawmaker is developing a pilot program proposal that would provide tax rebates to landlords who offer below-market rent to low income renters. This pilot program would encourage small “mom and pop” landlords to rent to lower income renters who earn 80% of the Area Median Income or less. The landlords could receive a rebate of up to $3,600 for offering more affordable rent.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

South Carolina

South Carolina state senators have proposed a new bill that would protect residents from predatory loan companies. The new legislation would require all lenders to check a borrower’s ability to repay before making the loan. The bill would also make it illegal for companies to mail checks, debit or credit cards to low income areas if those items weren’t’ specifically requested by the recipient.

South Dakota

South Dakota has advanced a bill that would encourage insurance companies to help low income students attend private school. The new legislation would increase the tax credit cap to $5 million from $3.5 million, which would make more money available for low income students.

The money from these donations funds a scholarship program for students who qualify for the National School Lunch Program. Each student who participates can receive about $2,000 per year in assistance.

Tennessee

The Driver’s License Reinstatement Resource Fair in Knoxville has been postponed due to weather. It will occur sometime in February, but the date will be announced later. This event is important, because Knox County has the second-highest rate of suspended or revoked licenses in the state. More than 1,000 people are expected to be helped by this event.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Texas

Texas has become the 43rd state to extend Medicaid coverage for new moms! Under the new rules, low income mothers will be able to continue receiving Medicaid benefits for 12 continuous months following the end of their pregnancy. Under the previous rules, that coverage only continued for two months. The new rules will go into effect on March 1, 2024.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

  • Jan 26: Deadline for Uplift Harris applications
  • Feb 19: Free swimming for Family Day in Houston

Utah

Utah is looking for more ways to stabilize the current emergency homeless shelter system. One of the ways they are doing that is by introducing micro-shelters. These small units are just 75 square feet in size but are more affordable than other shelter solutions. There is a case manager on site to help people connect with benefits, resources and essential services.

Vermont

Vermont lawmakers are considering a proposal that would expend Medicaid coverage in the state. The new bill would make many changes, including raising the income limits, increasing access for seniors on Medicare and extending the child age limits from 19 to 26.

Virginia

The Virginia House of Representatives is considering a proposal to temporarily raise the cap on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit from $60 million to $100 million. The hope is that this that would increase the amount of low income housing build in the state.

In Norfolk, the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters has free gun locks in the entrance to the emergency room. These are being offered for free to help prevent accidental gunshot wounds.

Virginia Mercury reported that one in four Virginia transit agencies are operating fare-free, which means that passengers can ride for free. This free service is available from eight transit systems, which operate in Albemarle, Alexandria, Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Chesterfield, Christiansburg, the City of Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Henrico, Lee County, Norton, Petersburg, Richmond, Scott County, Stafford, Spotsylvania and Wise Counties.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Washington 

The Seattle Housing Authority has changed the way that people apply for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. Instead of opening the wait list for short periods of time and then randomly creating a number-ordered wait list, the new system allows anyone who meets the income and age limits to apply online at any time. They don’t even have to live in Seattle, but the vouchers have to be used in Seattle for at least one year. Applicants will be chosen from the list at random when vouchers are available. The chance of being drawn will be the same, no matter when households apply.

The Housing Authority of Grays Harbor is opening the wait list for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers! Priority will be given to those who already work or live in Grays Harbor County.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Washington DC

Some advocates and lawmakers in Washington DC are pushing for what is called social housing.
Social housing is housing provided by the government for people who can’t afford regular housing.

The most recent proposal would have the government set aside one third of housing for low income people who make less than 30% of the area median income, and another third for those who earn between 30-50% of the area median income. The remainder would be rented at market rates. Each development would have a tenant leadership board to help with management.

West Virginia

Lawmakers in West Virginia are advancing a bill that would require photo ID to be added to SNAP cards. This bill is intended to combat fraud.

However, state administrators have informed those lawmakers that there is no way to enforce this legislation without conflicting with federal discrimination laws. Federal laws do not allow store owners to deny purchases from someone who has a viable card and knows the PIN. The state may require photos on cards, but there is no way to enforce it. Allegedly, they cannot even deny or delay benefits to people who refuse to be photographed.

Wisconsin

If your power was out for more than four hours, you may be able to get more food benefits from Wisconsin FoodShare. The state will authorize replacement benefits if you lose your food due to a flood, fire, or other household misfortune. Hunger Task Force has reported that a loss of power that lasts more than four hours can qualify as a household misfortune.

You must submit this documentation within 10 days of the incident in order to get those replacements. You will be asked to provide documented proof, so make sure to get a letter from your power company confirming the duration of the power outage. If eligible, you could get your replacement benefits within 10 days!

Wyoming

State legislators are considering a proposal that would allow low income children who are not in the public school system with $5,000 per year. This bill would help homeschool families and preschool families with extra funds, which would be distributed in the form of an education savings account. Students who attend private or charter schools would also be eligible.

Don’t forget to seize these opportunities!

Relief Recap

From easy ways to get extra cash to concerning trends in low income housing, this week’s resource recap has covered all the news that low income Americans need to know. We’ve talked about changes to welfare programs, upcoming deadlines, resource fairs and other events that could help low income Americans save money and get free stuff. Be sure to check your state subheading for more information!

stephanie l bailey

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

You list a lot of benefits for Snap recipients, but do you have anything for Louisiana?

Catherine Marucci

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

Hi. Here are some things you can do with EBT in Louisiana.