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Claim Your Cash: Data Breach Payouts & More Financial Help

Claim Your Cash: Data Breach Payouts & More Financial Help

We’re breaking down financial barriers with another edition of our low income resource roundups! From shocking debt demands to new financial assistance programs, we’ve got a ton of nationwide and local news to cover today.

Nationwide Low Income News

In our nationwide news section, we cover topics that are relevant to our readers no matter where they live. For more local news, be sure to scroll to your state under the “Local News” subheading below.

VA Demands Money Back from Veterans

Another government agency has decided to start recouping overpayments. The Department of Veterans Affairs has started issuing letters demanding that overpaid veterans pay back the money that they should not have received.

Patrick McFeely of Florida received a letter demanding that he return $108,094 due to overpayments. The agency claims that they did not know that Patrick started collecting Social Security. Patrick did not report it because he did not know it was necessary since all the money he receives comes from the federal government.

Although the VA has used data matching to verify veteran’s self-reported income in the past, the system had issues. VA Press Secretary Terrence Hays said that the VA was unable to reliably verify the income of veterans and survivors who were receiving pensions for 11 years between 2011 and 2022. The issue was not fixed until mid-2022, when it was discovered that around 10,000 veterans had been overpaid.

Patrick received a letter that said his benefits would be reduced by $211 beginning in March. The reduction would continue until the VA fully recouped the six-figure debt.

However, following significant press coverage, the VA has said that they will pause collections while they figure out the situation.

More Free COVID Tests Available

The federal government is providing four free COVID-19 rapid tests to every US household. If you didn’t order free tests last fall, you can actually get 8 free tests now.

The order is completely free. You won’t even have to pay for shipping! Just make sure you place your order on the official government website or by calling their official hotline at (800) 232-0233.

Remember to check the FDA’s website before discarding any “expired” tests, as their expiration dates might have been extended.

Get Cash from these Settlements!

If you need some extra money, don’t forget to check if you are eligible for these class action settlements! Most of them don’t provided an estimated value because it depends on how many people apply, but some have been worth hundreds of dollars in the past!

Several of the settlements in this week’s roundup are focused on data breaches. Data breaches can have a huge impact on your credit score and financial wellbeing. Some companies that have been breached are paying benefits to their affected customers.

Here’s a list of upcoming settlements. Don’t miss these deadlines!

SettlementDue
Paysafe Data Breach
If you got a notification from Paysafe about your information possibly being affected in a data breach between May 2018 and October 2020, you might be eligible for a part of this settlement.
Nov 27, 2023
Spear Wilderman Data Breach
This settlement is for people whose personal information might have been exposed in the Spear Wilderman data breach in May 2021.
Nov 27, 2023
Inntopia Data Breach
If you got a letter about the Sterling Valley Systems (Inntopia) data breach found around February 18, 2022, you might be included in this settlement.
Nov 30, 2023
Spartan Mosquito
You may be eligible for this if you bought Spartan Mosquito Eradicator or Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech products between December 21, 2016, and August 2, 2023.
Dec 1, 2023
TenantReports.com Background Checks
If someone pulled a background check on you through TenantReports.com between April 8, 2020 and April 9, 2023, then you may be eligible for this.
Dec 5, 2023
Hyundai Engines
If you owned or leased a certain Hyundai vehicle, you may be eligible for this. The list of eligible vehicles can be found on the settlement website linked above.
Dec 7, 2023
Radius Financial Group Data Breach
You may be covered by this settlement if you received a data breach notice from Radius Financial Group informing you that your information was compromised in a data breach that occurred in July 2021.
Dec 7, 2023
Kia Engine Failure
If you bought or leased certain 2010-2020 Kia vehicles, you may be eligible for this. The list of vehicles can be found using the settlement link above.
Dec 7, 2023
Chicco “KidFit” Booster Seats – $50 value (estimated)
If you bought a Chicco “KidFit” Booster Seat between April 22, 2015 and December 31, 2021, you may be covered by this settlement!
Dec 11, 2023

Apply for these Entrepreneur Grants!

Want to turn your hobby or side hustle into a thriving business? Our sponsor Skip can help! They maintain a robust database of business grants that can help you start or grow a business.

Don’t miss out on these upcoming grant opportunities – make sure to apply before the deadline!

Open Entrepreneur Grants
November Skip Grants – $1,000
This grant is open to all US-based entrepreneurs and small business owners. You just need to subscribe to Skip’s YouTube channel and have a Skip account. Click the button by November 27 – it takes less than 30 seconds!
Lenovo Evolve Small Grant Program – $15,000
Small business owners in specific cities may be able to get up to $15,000 through this program! You must live in one of these cities in order to be eligible:
-Atlanta GA
-Chicago IL
-Dallas TX
-Los Angeles CA
-Raleigh NC
-Toronto, Ontario, Canada
You must apply by November 27.
Stacy’s Rise Project – $25,000
Founders or co-founders of businesses that have earned more than $25,000 per year but less than $1 million may be eligible for this grant. However, your business must sell a consumer packaged good. Applications are due December 1.
$10k Skip Grant for Entrepreneurs – $10,000
All US-based entrepreneurs and small business owners who are at least 18 years old can apply for this grant. You must apply by December 15!
Atomic Grants – $1,500
Four women age 21+ will be awarded $1,500 to help bring their dreams to life! Winners will also receive coaching from Keystone International Group and a free year of Passion Collective On Demand. You must apply by December 15.
Galaxy Grants – $2,500
This program is looking for US-based women and minority business owners! You must refer a friend when you apply but don’t worry – if they win, you win! Apply by December 16.

Interested? Just claim your free Skip account to start applying!

Local Low Income News

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and even Guam!

Alabama

The 10th Annual Gift of Sight event will take place between November 27 and December 1. During this event, low income and underinsured people will be able to receive free eye exams and glasses. This event takes place at the Jefferson County Western Health Center in Midfield.

You need to apply in advance for the eye exams. You can print the application here and submit it via email. Exact instructions are found in this press release on the University of Alabama at Birmingham website.

Don’t forget these important dates!

Alaska

A disturbing new report from Alaska Public Media Radio revealed that the state does not have enough housing for domestic violence survivors.

Abusers tend to destroy the economic independence of their victims by sabotaging their credit or preventing them from earning an income. This creates a situation that is almost impossible to escape without help.

However, the interim directory of the Interior Center for Non-Violent Living has revealed that the state does not have enough housing to help those survivors. There is plenty of money for rental vouchers but no homes available to place them in.

This is a very significant and dangerous problem that needs immediate attention.

Arizona

The Arizona Rental Assistance Program can provide up to $10,500 toward your rent payments. In order to be eligible, you must be a renter in Arizona who is facing housing insecurity or risk of eviction. You must have at least one child or senior in your home and meet income limits. You can apply on the Arizona government website.

Arkansas

Arkansas River Valley Area Council received a grant of $1.25 million from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund. This grant will allow the organization to expand their homeless services. They plan to use the money to provide rapid rehousing and homeless prevention services.

California

Marin County households can get a free energy-saving kit to help lower their energy bills. The program provides energy-efficient light bulbs and other devices. You need to fill out a survey in order to claim the kit. Get more details from ABC7 News.

In Kern County, Kern Transit is offering many routes for free thanks to some grant money they recently received. They’ve also announced that all routes will be free for everyone in December. Students will be able to ride free until 2024.

Don’t forget these important dates!

Colorado

A special legislative session recently concluded. Lawmakers delivered about $430 million in tax cuts for homeowners and around $500 million in tax benefits for low income Coloradans. This package includes expanded tax credits for low income workers.

All taxpayers will receive a flat refund of around $800 from the excess TABOR funds. This is a change from how the refunds are usually calculated, because they are usually paid in tiers. Typically, those who pay the most get the most back.

All property owners also get a $55,000 discount on the assessed value of their homes as well. The tax rate has also been lowered for all property owners.

Lawmakers have also decided to authorize $30 million in rental assistance funds to help cope with the record rate of evictions that are happening. This money will be available to help people who earn 80% or less of the Area Median Income. The money will only be available until July 1, after which any remaining money will be returned to the state to spend on other programs.

Don’t forget these important dates!

  • April 30, 2024: Deadline for LEAP

Connecticut

A new affordable housing complex is coming to Farmington! This new apartment building will have 91 units. The 9-acre plot will include 33 one-bedroom and 58 two-bedroom homes.

Of the total, 40% is for families earning 50% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI). Another 20% is for those earning 30% of the AMI, and a further 20% is for families earning 80% of the AMI. The remaining portion will be rented out at market rate.

Florida

St. Johns County has a new rental assistance program for low income renters. This program can help you pay for rent and utilities. In order to be eligible, you must have a household income that is 80% of the Area Median Income or less. In order to apply, you need to register as an applicant on the program website.

Don’t forget these important dates!

Georgia

In Atlanta, canvassers from Sustainable Georgia Futures are spreading the word about the city’s weatherization programs. They are looking for 200 homeowners who will receive free weatherization services to help their home become more energy efficient.

Don’t forget these important dates!

Guam

The Homeowner Assistance Fund is open for applications until December 11! This program can help you pay your mortgage, utilities, property taxes, and other charges. You can apply via email, phone call or in person.

Hawaii

Hawai’i residents may be able to receive free training from the Good Jobs Hawai’i initiative. This program is provided by the University of Hawa’i Community Colleges. They are designed to help people get skills in health care, clean energy, skilled trades and technology industries so that they can secure better employment. There is more than $5.5 million available to help with tuition!

Idaho

Kootenai County families can apply for the Habitat for Humanity’s Housing Program! This program provides new condo-style homes for those who qualify. You must have an Area Median Income of 80% or less in order to participate. You will also be expected to participate in 250 hours of sweat equity.

The organization announced that applications are open now. Apply right away by contacting Amy Billings for more information. You can reach her via email or by calling (208) 762-4633 extension 2.

Don’t forget these important dates!

Illinois

Don’t forget these important dates!

Indiana

Lily Endowment Inc. has awarded $11 million to support human service organizations in Indiana! This money will be used to help immigrants and refugees who need help in order to become self-sufficient.

Iowa

Tell your local food bank that Growing Together Iowa is accepting applications for grants! This program provides up to $4,000 to help food banks start community gardens. Applications are due December 18!

Don’t forget these important dates!

Kansas

Students in Kansas have amassed more than $23 million in lunch debt and some schools are punishing those past-due families in major ways. Some districts have policies that single out kids from families that can’t afford to pay. This could involve giving them an “alternative meal” like crackers or even prohibiting them from participating in after-school activities.

In nine districts, families that accumulate a certain amount of debt will automatically be reported to the state’s Department of Child and Family services for abuse or neglect!

It’s very frustrating for families because the policies vary so widely between districts. Some will feed all children regardless of debt, while the neighboring district may refuse to feed them or report them to CPS.

Topeka has recently decided to offer free lunches to all students. Wichita offers a free breakfast for everyone. Advocates are pushing for a consistent state policy that will use the state surplus to provide low-cost lunches across the state.

Don’t forget these important dates!

Kentucky

Kentucky is trying to get federal money to help provide solar panels to low income and disadvantaged communities. The goal is to get around $100 million to help add energy resilience to these areas. However, the applications won’t receive a response until July of next year.

Don’t forget these important dates!

  • Dec 15: Deadline to apply for LIHEAP

Louisiana

Don’t forget these important dates!

Maine

Maine is expanding eligibility for their Low Income Assistance Program! This program helps pay for electric bills. Through the expansion, another 67,000 people can receive up to $1,000 in assistance!

The Department of Health and Human Services has started sending out letters to those who are eligible for the additional assistance. If you receive a letter, you need to submit fill out the form and submit it to your power company to get a bill credit.

Maryland

Maryland residents may be eligible for up to $20 in free Lyft rideshare credits this holiday season. There is $20,000 available in this fund. You need to claim your code from this website and then enter it into the Lyft app. You add the code in the payments tab.

Frederick County residents may be able to get a free laptop from a new program. The United Way is expected to distribute laptops in early 2024. You must have a household income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level for your household size. Claim yours by registering on the United Way of Frederick County website.

Montgomery County is providing free hearing aids and personal sound amplifiers to eligible residents who are 60 years old or older. In order to be eligible, you must have mild to moderate hearing loss, have an annual income that is at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level, and be at least 60 years old.

The free hearing supplies will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis by their partners at Access HEARS. You can get application instructions in the county’s press release.

Massachusetts

Low income residents who receive their energy from National Grid may soon be able to get a deeper discount on their monthly bills. The current structure provides a flat 32% discount to qualifying customers. Under the new proposal, there would be different discount tiers with the highest being 55%.

If this proposal is approved, the changes would go into effect on October 1, 2024.

Michigan

A new program will provide $5,000 in free home improvements for low income homeowners in Oakland County! This program is expected to help around 1,000 people after it launches in January 2024.

Don’t forget these important dates!

Minnesota

A new program is helping small businesses in Minnesota! This program provides low-interest loans to eligible entrepreneurs and small businesses, with a special emphasis on helping women and people of color achieve their business goals. These loans will be available from non-profit lenders.

Mississippi

Jackson has proposed discounting water bills for people who receive SNAP benefits. Bills for other customers will rise by around $10 per month in order to provide a $20 discount to SNAP recipients.

A previous proposal by the city was rejected by the state. The city wanted to base the water bill payments on property values, but the Mississippi Legislature passed a law requiring that water bills be based on actual water volume.

Missouri

Less than 25% of Missouri’s Head Start centers are within walkable distance from public transportation. That makes it hard for families to get their children involved in this crucial early education program.

Some Transit Authorities have already started moving bus stops closer to these destinations. However, advocates are calling for more action to make Head Start accessible to all low income children in the state.

Montana

Good Samaritan Ministries in Helena is working toward creating an emergency shelter. They want to renovate the building at 648 N. Jackson St. to house homeless women during the winter. This would help the 40-50 homeless women in the area.

New Mexico

Advocates are pushing for New Mexico to become the first state with free transit for everyone. Since three out of New Mexico’s 12 transit agencies are already operating without fares, they claim it would be easy to expand these programs to the rest of the state.

New York

New York City has expanded their rental voucher program so that they can be used beyond the city limits. This was intended to help people find homes since there’s such a housing shortage in New York City itself.

However, some counties have issued emergency orders blocking those vouchers from being used. Broome, Chemung and Schuyler counties have already enacted those bans.

Don’t forget these important dates!

North Carolina

A low income housing complex in Holly Ridge was condemned. The town council decided that they would not attempt to repair it because it would cost too much. The chronic mold issue would cost over $1 million to repair. The former residents of this complex will be allowed to stay in a hotel until January 1st, after which the city intends to offer them a settlement if they agree not to pursue any further damages.

Don’t forget these important dates!

  • Dec 1: Medicaid expansion begins

Ohio

Ohio residents must apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) before May 31st! This program can pay a certain amount toward your utility bills to help with your heating. You must have an income that is at or below 175% of the Federal Poverty Level in order to qualify.

Don’t forget these important dates!

Oklahoma

The Cherokee Nation is accepting applications for LIHEAP. In order to be eligible, you must be a Cherokee Nation member who is disabled or at least 60 years old. You also have to meet income limits and not receive LIHEAP from other sources.

If you are under age 60 or not disabled, you may be able to get LIHEAP a little later in the season.

To apply, call Cherokee Nation Human Services at (918) 453-5422.

Oregon

Homes for Good has two programs that can help people who live in Lane County this winter. These programs include weatherization assistance and crisis bill payments. You can contact Homes for Good for more information.

Utah

Harris Elementary School in Tooele has been converted into housing for the homeless! The Harris Community Village has 44 shelter beds and 66 apartments. There is a soup kitchen, food pantry, and 24/7 child care on site.

They are just waiting on a license from the state, so the facility expects to open by mid-December. The property will be managed by Switchpoint, so contact them for details.

Virginia

Loudon County’s new eviction assistance program is open for applications. This program has $500,000 that will be used to help people pay rent. The program will end on January 31, 2024 or whenever the money is spent, whichever comes first.

In order to be eligible, you must:

  • have a valid lease in Loudon County
  • earn 80% or less of the Area Median Income (that’s over $120,000 for a family of four!)
  • hold an eviction summons
  • demonstrate a financial hardship.

If you are interested in this rental assistance program, you can apply online now.

Don’t forget these important dates!

Washington

The PeaceHealth chain of hospitals will refund $13.4 million to more than 15,000 low income patients who used their services. This refund is the result of an investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office. They found that the patients should have qualified for financial assistance.

The affected patients were served at five different PeaceHealth locations, including:

  • Bellingham
  • Friday Harbor
  • Longview
  • Sedro-Woolley
  • Vancouver

The state Attorney General’s office found that PeaceHealth failed to screen them for financial assistance before pursuing collections. They also failed to mention that financial assistance was available even though the hospital system uses public data and analytics to predict which patients may be eligible for help.

The affected patients will receive a refund for the full amount of restitution plus interest. Eight patients are expected to receive more than $10,000. Nearly 50 will receive more than $5,000. More than 4,500 will receive an average payment of $900.

The claims process will also refund an additional 11,000 or so patients who were likely eligible for help. However, those patients will have to file a claim in order to get their payments. The process for filing claims hasn’t been clearly outlined, but you can contact PeaceHealth or the WA State Attorney General’s Office for details.

West Virginia

You may be able to get an $84 payment from DHHR if you rely on propane for heating and you received a payment from the Low Income Energy Assistance Program last winter! This supplemental payment will be sent automatically to those who qualify.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Shoppers have been overcharged by Dollar General. A new report showed that many stores in Wisconsin were charging more at checkout than the prices listed on the shelves. There were more than 600 items that were overcharged across the state between January 30, 2023 and February 10, 2023. On average, those products cost 17% more than the stated price. As a result, Dollar General will have to pay over $850,000 in penalties to the state. Unfortunately, none of that money will be given back to the customers who were harmed.

Don’t forget these important dates!

Relief Recap

From scandalous six-figure repayment demands to new financial assistance programs, this week’s Resource Roundup includes a ton of updates for low income Americans. We’ve covered nationwide topics like VA debt collection and entrepreneur grant programs. Our local news section also includes a variety of state-specific updates. Don’t forget to come back next week for even more low income news!

Nicole is the owner and lead researcher for Low Income Relief. She has over 20 years of professional research and writing experience, and she has been solely dedicated to investigating low income topics for the last 10 years. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more. Her work has also been featured by Google for Publishers and other leading industry publications.

Sabrina crawford

Sunday 26th of November 2023

Colths and fooed outfits mediun size and paint s size 8 and shoes size 8 andatches socks too

Catherine Marucci

Monday 27th of November 2023

Hi. This article may help with finding free clothing: https://lowincomerelief.com/how-to-get-free-clothing-near-you/

Diana Dupin

Sunday 26th of November 2023

Payne glasses offer's 2 pairs of frames (only certain ones) plus lenses per a year just provide prescription and pay for shipping.

Tonya Harper

Saturday 25th of November 2023

There's never anything for west virginia people who work. We can't get any kind of help because we make 5,10,even 50.00 to much. Poverty is poverty.

diana

Sunday 26th of November 2023

@Tonya Harper, Dont hate the player,hate the game!