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Unlocking Financial Relief: This Week’s Essential Guide for Low Income Families

Unlocking Financial Relief: This Week’s Essential Guide for Low Income Families

Find new ways to save money and get free stuff with this week’s resource recap! From From groundbreaking childcare assistance updates to a crucial lawsuit aiming to protect consumers from deceptive practices and a host of new checks you can claim, let’s dive into this week’s update.

Nationwide Low Income News

In this edition of Nationwide Low Income News, we dive into transformative policy changes, legal battles affecting the financially underserved, and an array of compensation opportunities that could benefit low-income individuals and families across the country. Stay tuned for detailed insights into how these developments could impact your access to essential services and financial relief.

Major Child Care Assistance Program Changes

The White House has announced sweeping changes to the Child Care & Development Block Grant, which provides child care assistance to low income families. The new rules will have a big impact on many families.

For example, the new rules cap copayments for low income families at 7% of income. That means that families will not have to contribute more than 7% of their income toward their child care costs. In states that do not yet cap contributions, low income families are expected to save more than $200 a month on average!

The new rules also encourage states to completely eliminate the copayments for certain eligible families. These include families that are homeless, dealing with foster care, and those who have incomes at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.

H&R Block Sued by FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has sued tax prep company H&R Block for deceiving low income customers. The government agency alleges that H&R Block intentionally made it difficult for people to access the free filing tools they were eligible for.

Instead, it says the company frequently changed the definition of a simple tax return and upsold pricier services. They also made it difficult to downgrade, requiring users to call customer support and then deleting all the user’s tax data if they downgraded their service so that that someone who decided not to pay would have to start completely over.

If you are looking for a truly free tax filing, you can use the IRS’ Direct File or Free File systems. You can also contact a VITA volunteer tax program in your area.

Claim Your Settlement Checks

This week presents new opportunities to secure financial compensation if you’ve been impacted by the practices of major corporations. Be mindful of approaching deadlines.

Should you have purchased certain products or utilized specific services, you might be eligible for financial redress. Explore the most recent class action settlements now before time runs out!

Open Settlements
Wells Fargo COBRA Settlement – $20
If you were part of the Wells Fargo Health Plan and got a COBRA notice from May 3, 2018, to December 23, 2021, without choosing COBRA coverage, this settlement is relevant to you. Apply by March 3.
Bradley County Jail Medical Care – $400 or more
If you suffered from a clear or diagnosed medical condition during your incarceration at Bradley County Jail from September 18, 2017, to November 29, 2023, you may qualify for this settlement. Apply by March 8.
CafePress Data Breach
If your Social Security number was compromised in the 2019 CafePress data breach, you may be entitled to compensation. Apply by March 10.
Knix Underwear – $15.90 est.
If you bought any Knix or KnixTeen leakproof or super leakproof underwear, tights, swimwear, or reusable pads between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2022, you may qualify for this settlement, provided you have proof of purchase. Apply by March 11.

Keep in mind, these chances are fleeting. For those in search of similar opportunities, explore our comprehensive guide to future class action settlements, where numerous claims await your attention.

Moreover, for a potentially larger compensation, consider filing a tort claim promptly. These claims offer a path to recover losses for any injustices or injuries experienced. Our associate, Injury Claims, stands ready to support you. Below is an overview of some cases they are currently handling:

Open Cases
Ozempic Side Effects
If you have been diagnosed with a severe illness or have experienced adverse effects after using diabetes medications like Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, or Rybelsus, you may be eligible for compensation. Apply now!
Personal Injury & Auto Accidents
If you or your loved one sustains injuries from an accident that was not your fault, such as car accidents, workplace incidents, slips and falls, or medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. Apply now!
Other Open Cases
Currently, legal proceedings are in progress for individuals affected by products including RoundUp, Talcum Powder, Infant Formula (NEC), chemical hair relaxers, several herbicides, PFAS Chemicals, and hernia mesh, among others. Get the details.

Unlock New Opportunities with Skip

Have you considered starting your own company or taking your current business to new heights? You could be eligible for grants intended to fuel your dreams.

Our partner, Skip, offers a wide range of grants tailored to support entrepreneurs in either launching or scaling their businesses. Obtaining one of these grants can be a key step in navigating financial challenges, making it essential to explore the opportunities on offer!

Open Cases
UPS Store® Small Biz Challenge – $35,000
The UPS Store Small Biz Challenge offers small businesses a chance to win part of a $35,000 prize, a feature in Inc. magazine, and exposure at a Miami event. Owners must be U.S. residents, over 18, and operate a non-franchised business with 9 or fewer employees. Apply by March 8.
2024 National Virtual Pitch Contest – Up to $3,000
The 2024 National Virtual Pitch Contest, scheduled for April 17, 2024, at 5pm Eastern Time on Zoom, invites U.S. entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas in a 3-minute presentation. Participation is open to owners of existing businesses located in the U.S. Apply by March 8.
AI Innovation Grant – $10,000
US-based entrepreneurs and small business owners can apply for a $10,000 AI Innovation Grant. You can apply whether you already use AI or haven’t started yet. Apply by March 15.
March Skip Grants – $1,000
Skip is awarding $1,000 grants to U.S.-based small business owners and entrepreneurs aged 18 and over. To qualify, applicants must subscribe to Skip’s YouTube channel and have a Skip account with the grant added to their Funding Assistant. Apply by March 25.
Skip $10k Perseverance Grant – $10,000
The Skip $10k Perseverance Grant rewards the resilience of U.S. entrepreneurs and small business owners of any stage or size, aged 18 and above. Apply by March 31.

Local Low Income News

We have local news updates for 45 states this week! Scroll to find your state subheading below for updates and application instructions.


In Montgomery, Mayor Reed cleared many unpaid fines, fees and conviction costs that were more than 10 years old. If you owed a fine in Montgomery for more than 10 years, you may have been absolved from the debt.


The first 1,000 high school students to complete the FAFSA application will receive four free spring training tickets from the Arizona Cactus League. This incentive is being offered to drive up college rates in Arizona, which is currently 49th in the nation for FAFSA applications.

Don’t miss out on these events:


The Habitat of Humanity of Central Arkansas is on a roll! They just concluded construction on their fourth home in the last five months. This home was completed in Little Rock and has already been given to the newest homebuyer. Make sure to reach out to Habitat for Humanity about their upcoming home ownership opportunities!


Governor Newsom’s new budget does not fund the California State Library Parks Pass program, meaning that state libraries may not be able to issue free state parks passes int the coming year.

Don’t miss out on these events:


A new bill has been introduced that would stop landlords from price gouging during disasters. If passed, this new regulation would make it so that landlords cannot increase rent by more than 10% during emergency situations that are declared by either the Colorado Governor or the President of the United States.

Lawmakers introduced this bill in direct response to the 2022 Marshall Fire that destroyed over 1,000 homes in Boulder. It exacerbated the state’s affordable housing crisis. Rents skyrocketed and many people were forced out of the community because they couldn’t afford it.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Connecticut is struggling to fill 40,000 child care worker vacancies across the state. Towns like Marlborough and Hampton are missing up to 40% of the child care workers that are needed there.

Part of the problem, according to the United Way, is that the cost to provide care exceeds what providers can charge. That means that staff wags are kept low, which makes it difficult to attract applicants.


Achieve Miami is working with Morgan Stanley to develop a financial literacy program that will serve low income students who attend high school in Miami. This new program is expected to benefit 300 students.

Don’t miss out on these events:


A new partnership between the Macon Area Habitat for Humanity and the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Habitat for Humanity will provide four new homes in the next two years. These will be first Habitat homes built in the area since 2019. They expect that homeownership applications will open on the spring, so keep an eye on their website for details.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Around 12,000 low income homes are at risk of disappearing in Hawaii over the next 20 years. That’s because the tax credit terms are coming to an end for some of these properties. Of these, around 1,000 are expected to stop being affordable homes by the end of 2025.


Don’t miss out on these events:


Evansville is considering using $5.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to help build more affordable housing in the area. The city council will discuss it again at their next meeting on March 11.

Don’t miss these deadlines:


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Kentucky lawmakers have advanced a bill that would ban source of income discrimination bans in the state. Basically, this bill would stop cities from forcing landlords to accept Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. Currently, Louisville and Lexington have both passed rules banning source of income discrimination.

Don’t miss out on these events:

  • March 31: LIHEAP deadline


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Maine has been engaged in a lawsuit because the state was not providing legal representation to low income defendants. The case will now have to go to trial, because a judge recently rejected the proposed settlement in the case.

The judge said that the settlement did not include an enforcement mechanism. She also pointed out that there are currently 400 low income defendants who have not been assigned lawyers. Around 100 of them are waiting in jail without an attorney.

According to Maine Public, this case will become a class action lawsuit that will go to trial sometime in the summer.


Due to delays in the federal FAFSA launch, the state of Maryland has announced an extension for their FAFSA and MHEC One-App deadlines. This two-month extension will push the deadline to May 15, 2024. You can apply for these scholarship programs online.


Boston Mayor Wu has announced that the city plans to expand free swimming lessons for low income youth in Boston. This is an expansion of the city’s Swim Safe Program, which provides free lessons at the local YMCA, Boys & Girls Club and DotHouse Health.

Don’t miss out on these events:

March 13: Older Adult Resource Fair in Sherborn MA


The director of a Detroit nonprofit has been accused of stealing more than 30 homes from low income families in Wayne County. Zina Thomas was working as the Director of Homeownership Programs at UCHC when she allegedly conspired to take these homes from people who were facing a potential tax foreclosure. Allegedly, she currently lives in one of the homes that was taken in the scheme.

Meanwhile, low income residents of Kent County may be able to get help from FEMA if they experienced losses due to the EF-1 tornado that touched down there in August 2023. If you experienced financial losses or property damage, you may be able to get assistance through this program.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Minnesota lawmakers have introduced a bill that would opt the state out of a federal rule called the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (often referred to as DIDMCA). If the bill passes, it would affect any consumer loans that are closed on or after August 1, 2024.

There are concerns that these new rules could make it harder for low income Minnesotans to access credit, especially for big-ticket items like auto loans or mortgages.


Mississippi lawmakers are considering expanding Medicaid for the first time! This proposal could provide health care coverage to more than 250,000 people in the state. If it passes, you will have to have a household income that is 138% or less of the federal poverty level to qualify. You may also have to meet work requirements, or participate in college or workforce training to get the benefits.


A new report by revealed that Missouri has had the highest rent increases of all states over the last year. Year-over-year, rent raised more than 13% across Missouri.


Applications for LIHEAP remain open until April 30 in many areas. HRDC processes those applications for Gallatin, Park and Meager Counties but the benefits are available in other locations. Don’t forget to apply if you are interested in getting help!


A state audit has found abuse in the Medicaid caregiver program. State Auditor Mike Foley reported that they found several instances of fraud, including:

  • One caregiver billed 32 hours of care in a single day, which is clearly impossible.
  • Another caregiver reported 100 hours of care provided per week, despite holding down at least two other jobs at the same time.
  • Another billed the state for hours worked while posting on social media about her vacation.

The small sample of cases that were audited revealed tens of thousands of dollars in overpayments. Foley expects that if the entire caseload was audited, the state could find over one million in erroneous payments.

The Auditors office is now working with DDHS to implement new requirements for caregivers who bill Medicaid. One option would require caregivers to log in on their smartphones and use their phone’s GPS to prove they are on-site during billable hours.


Don’t miss out on these events:

New Hampshire

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New Jersey

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New York

New York City evictions have reached pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, some landlords are pushing back against a “Good Cause Eviction” law that has been proposed by state lawmakers. Right now, landlords can choose not to renew a lease for any reason but this law would change that. It would make sure that landlords can only kick out their tenants if the lease has been violated in some way.

North Carolina

Governor Cooper has announced that more children will be able to get free breakfast at school. The new expansion will cover dozens of additional school districts, including the following:

  • Alexander County Schools
  • Carrabus County Schools
  • Catawba County Schools
  • Cleveland County Schools
  • Ire-dell Statesville
  • Roawn-Salisbury
  • Union County Public Schools

Also, don’t miss out on these events:


Upper Arlington provides a PLAY UA Financial Assistance Program for low income individuals and families. This program provides a 50% discount on most program and membership fees for those who qualify. This year, the program will also provide a 75% discount on swim lesson fees. You must live or work in Upper Arlington to qualify. You can apply online.

The Redeemer Lutheran Church in Findlay provides gift cards to Ohio National Guard families who get deployed. The gift cards are intended to help families who experience a financial need.

Don’t miss out on these events:


There are more than 20,000 Oklahoma residents waiting to receive a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher. The state says that there just isn’t enough funding or housing available for the people who need it.

The OKC Homeless Alliance has been helping people the best that they can but their resources are stretched thin. Executive Directory Dan Straughan said that many of the landlords are out of state and hard to work with.


Portland General Electric has decided to expand their low income discount program. The expansion will cover around 85,000 people who were not eligible before. This program is expected to help eligible customers save between 15-60% over the next two years.


Indraloka is a farm animal sanctuary in Dalton. They are now offering low-cost veterinary care services for low income households in the area. Their discounted services include vaccinations, wellness checks, spay/neuter services, diagnostics and even surgeries.

In Montgomery County, the Whole Home Repairs Program is back. This program can provide up to $50,000 toward your home repair costs. This program can help you with paint, mold remediation, furnace replacement, weatherization, roofs, flooring, plumbing, electrical, septic and more. In order to qualify, you must have a household income that is at or below 80% of the Area Median Income. They are looking for 100-150 homes to work on. Applications will be accepted until April 12!

Don’t miss out on these events:

Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s transportation agency, RIPTA, has raised their starting salaries for bus drivers to fix the shortage. Bus drivers can now make up to $25.33 per hour to start. Higher-paid workers will also get an additional $1 increase.

South Carolina

South Carolina state lawmakers are considering a new bill that would restrict predatory lending practices in the state. These rules would force lenders, including small-dollar lenders like payday loan advance companies, to evaluate a borrower’s ability to repay before making the loan. Lenders would also be forbidden from renewing the loan more than twice in six months.

This bill could make it harder to get payday loans and other predatory loan products in the state but it would also protect borrowers from manipulative lending practices.

South Dakota

South Dakota residents will have the opportunity to vote on Medicaid work requirements this year. The measure would allow the state to impose work requirements on those who qualify for Medicaid under the state’s new expanded income guidelines. The measure will appear on the ballot for the November 5 election.


Don’t miss out on these events:


The Utah Fits All Scholarship Program is officially open to applications. This program will provide up to $8,000 to Utah K-12 students who qualify. They expect around 5,000 students to receive this money in an Education Savings Account (ESA). The money can be used for private school tuition, tutoring services, testing fees, material and curriculum costs and more.

In order to be eligible, you must live in Utah. Your child must be a K-12 student in a public school. Parents can apply online.


Vermont lawmakers made drastic changes to a proposal to expand Medicaid. Instead of a provision that would have raised the income limits for this program and made thousands of Vermonters eligible for help, lawmakers decided to commission a study to complete a technical analysis of the expansion instead. The commission’s report would be due January 2025, which seems to indicate that a Medicaid expansion is off the table for this year.


The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA) is opening the Housing Choice Voucher wait list. You need to earn 50% of the Area Median Income or less in order to qualify. If you live in Assisted Living, the income limits are increased to 80% of the Area Median Income. Applications will open on March 11 and close again on March 18. You can apply online.

Don’t miss out on these events:


A new free pet clinic is opening in Washington State! This clinic will provide free services to pets who belong to people who are homeless or low income. The clinic is called Doney Coe Pet Clinic and it will be located at 1101 Airport Way South in Seattle.

Washington DC

The White House Easter Egg Roll event will take place on April 1, 2024. It is free to attend but you have to be selected. You can enter the public lottery online at no cost, but you need to have at least one child that is age 12 or under. Only two adults can enter per application. There is a limit of six tickets per application. Winners will be selected and notified on March 11.

West Virginia

Don’t miss out on these events:


Oshkosh area students may have their lunch debt covered! A $75,000 grant from the Arby’s Foundation was awarded to pay off the outstanding meal debt.


The Tomorrow Scholarship provides up to $1,800 per semester to support eligible adults who are pursuing a college education. This program is currently the focus of a budget debate. If you live in Wyoming and want to see the scholarship continue, make sure to tell your state lawmakers how you feel about it.

Relief Recap

This week’s Relief Recap highlights significant nationwide changes, including major updates to child care assistance programs, an FTC lawsuit against H&R Block, and numerous opportunities to claim settlement checks and legal compensations. Local news updates across 45 states offer a broad spectrum of assistance and opportunities for low income families. Don’t miss out on valuable resources and support tailored to your needs. For the latest updates and comprehensive guides on navigating low-income challenges, subscribe to our channel!

This article is the product of a team effort! Multiple authors from the Low Income Relief team have contributed to this post. We have also used AI tools to organize data and refine the writing in accordance with our Responsible AI Use Policy. All articles on our website are reviewed by our founder and resident poverty expert, Nicole Thelin, prior to publication.