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New Financial Aid Programs & Changes to Critical Low Income Assistance Programs | January 2024

New Financial Aid Programs & Changes to Critical Low Income Assistance Programs | January 2024

From new financial aid resources to dramatic changes to low income housing, this week’s resource recap is full of news you need to know. Let’s talk about the recent developments that will impact low income families across the United States.

Nationwide Low Income News

In this segment, we’ll shine a spotlight on the innovative programs, grants, and initiatives that provide much-needed assistance to those with limited financial resources across the country. No matter where you are located, the information in this segment may be able to help you.

American Legion Scholarship is Open

If your parent lost their life while bravely serving in the military after 9/11, or if you’re the child of a post-9/11 veteran who has a VA disability rating of 50% or higher, you can apply for The American Legion Legacy Scholarship.

The application for the 2024 scholarship is available online, and you need to apply online by March 27.

This scholarship helps with the costs of graduate or post-graduate education, including tuition, books, housing, meals, and other school supplies. The amount you receive depends on your financial situation after considering other government aid. You can use the scholarship for a year and apply for it up to six times.

The number of scholarships and the amount of money you get depend on donations and your financial needs. It’s here to support you in your educational journey.

New Assistance Fund for Neurofibramatosis

The Assistance Fund has started a new program to help people with neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow on the nervous system, often in childhood. This program is for those who struggle to pay for their medical expenses related to NF, like copayments, insurance costs, and other medical bills.

NF can lead to problems like freckles in certain areas, skin spots, and optic glioma due to uncontrolled cell growth. Without treatment, children with NF may face delays in growth and development.

The new Neurofibromatosis Financial Assistance Program from The Assistance Fund aims to make it easier for families dealing with NF by covering important treatment costs. It’s here to help, so if you want to know more or see if you qualify for financial support, visit tafcares.org or call (833) 603-3696 to speak with a Patient Advocate.

Affordable Connectivity Program Running Out of Funding

As expected, the Affordable Connectivity Program has started to run out of funding. The FCC chairman indicated that the they are obligated to begin phasing out the program because the projected end date is less than four months away.

Fortunately, Congressional leaders have introduced a plan that would renew the program for another year. The ACP extension bill has surprisingly strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. It has over 400 endorsements so far, which is a strong signal that it may be able to pass.

HUD Increases Income Limit Caps

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a notice that they intend to change how income caps are handled. The new rules would increase the annual income increase from 5% to 10% for housing.

This change means that the income threshold for qualifying for these housing programs cannot increase by more than 10% per year. For families who earn near the upper limits of the income level, this will help stabilize their housing by enabling them to stay eligible for a longer period. However, it may also make competition for low income housing even more severe because more people will become eligible.

HUD is accepting comments on this proposal until February 9th. If you would like to send feedback, you can do so by following these steps.

Parents Anonymous Hotline

Parents Anonymous, Inc. has some great news to share! They’re expanding their National Parent & Youth Helpline to provide immediate emotional support 24/7 through calls, texts, and chats. This service is here to help parents, caregivers, and young people up to 25 years old whenever they need someone to talk to. And guess what? It won’t cost you a thing because it’s fully funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with a $10,000,000 grant.

This is all thanks to the success of the California Parent & Youth Helpline and the National Parent Helpline. With this grant, they can reach out to over 174 million parents and young folks across the U.S. The Helpline used to focus mainly on parents and caregivers, but now they’re extending their support to young people too. Why? Because there’s been a worrying increase in youth suicides and depression rates, and they want to make sure help is available to families facing these challenges.

If you or someone you know needs emotional support, you can call or text 855-427-2736, or chat online 24/7 at nationalparentyouthhelpline.org. Don’t hesitate to reach out when you need someone to talk to – they’re here for you!

Claim your Checks from Open Settlements

Class action settlements can be a valuable resource for low income Americans to gain some extra cash. These settlements occur when a group of people, who have been affected in a similar way by a company’s actions, collectively sue that company. When the lawsuit is settled, the company pays a sum of money, which is then divided among the people who were affected.

If you’ve ever bought a product, used a service, or been part of a program that didn’t meet its promises or caused harm, you might be eligible for a share of these settlements.

Signing up for these settlements is usually straightforward and free. You don’t need a lawyer, and the process often just requires filling out an online form. The payouts can vary – sometimes it’s a small amount, but other times it can be quite substantial.

Open Settlements
Cottonelle Flushable Wipes
If you bought Cottonelle Flushable Wipes in 2020, you may be eligible for a check from this settlement! Claims are due January 16.
Snap Finance Data Breach
If you shared your personal information with Snap Finance and received a notification that your data might have been exposed in a data breach that occurred from June 23, 2022, to September 8, 2022, you could be eligible for inclusion in this settlement. Claims are due January 16.
Fortnite Unwanted Purchases
If you’re a Fortnite player in the United States who was billed for unwanted purchases, you might have the option to request a refund through this settlement. Claims are due January 17.
Equifax Data Breach
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.
Bank of America Collection Calls – $500
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.

Don’t miss out on the Verizon settlement! Verizon customers who had an open postpaid account between January 1, 2016 and November 8, 2023, may be eligible for a payout from their upcoming settlement. Emails were sent out about this recently and many people were concerned it was a scam, but you can find more information on the official Verizon settlement website.

If you filed for the Apple battery class action settlement back in 2020, those checks will be issued this week. Claimants are expected to receive $92.17 per device.

Get Compensated for Your Personal Injuries

If you meet the requirements for a personal injury claim, you might be eligible for a significant financial settlement. Figuring out how to get started can be confusing, but our dependable partners at Injury Claims are here to simplify the process.

If you think you might qualify for any of their current cases, they offer a free review of your claim to help you kickstart the process.

Open Cases
Forever Chemical Claims
If you or a loved one were exposed to PFAS or Firefoam (AFFF) at a military or airport base and were later diagnosed with cancer, you may be eligible for significant financial compensation.
Bard Powerport Catheter Devices
If you or a loved one experienced problems with implanted port catheters, you could be eligible for significant financial compensation.
Rideshare Lawsuits
If you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse or harassment as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, you might be eligible for substantial financial compensation. Various types of abuse, such as sexual abuse, attempted sexual abuse, forced kissing, inappropriate touching, or physical injury, have been reported, and you may have legal recourse to seek compensation for such incidents.

If you think you are eligible for those cases, you can complete the quick pre-qualification survey to see if you are eligible. Injury Claims can help you enforce your rights and get the compensation you deserve.

Local Low Income News

In this curated list, we bring you a state-by-state overview of the latest developments, initiatives, and stories that impact individuals and families with limited financial resources. From policy changes to community efforts, join us in exploring the dynamic landscape of low-income issues across the United States.

California

Kaiser Permanente offers a Community Health Care Program for low income adults and children who don’t have access to other health coverage. If you are eligible, this program provides coverage without a monthly premium. You don’t have to pay copays or out-of-pocket costs at most Kaiser Permanente facilities, either.

In order to be eligible for this program, you must meet these requirements:

  • You must have a household income that is between 138% and 300% of the Federal Poverty Level.
  • You can’t be eligible for any other health care coverage, including Medicaid, Medicare or a job-based plan.
  • You also have to live in a Kaiser Permanente California service area.

If you are eligible, you can apply online but your application must be submitted by January 31, 2024.

In other news, voters will ultimately decide the fate of a new low income housing proposal in the Bay Area. This proposal would increase property taxes to build around 80,000 new affordable homes in the area. At least 67.5% of voters have to approve the measure for it to pass.

Meanwhile, in San Diego County, there’s a new program to help older adults (55 years or older) with spare bedrooms find people who need a place to live. If you have a spare room and want to rent it out, you can sign up for this program.

To qualify for this program, you need to be an older adult with an income that’s not more than 120% of the average income in the area. If you qualify, you will only have to pay 30% of your monthly income for rent. Sometimes, you can even exchange services like gardening or cleaning to reduce your rent, but you don’t have to do this.

The program will match you with someone who fits your goals, preferences, and lifestyle. They will also help with outreach, screening, assessments, and check-ins. Your home must be in San Diego County and you should be up-to-date with your utility bills, taxes, and rent or mortgage payments.

This program will start in the early summer of 2024. It’s meant to help older adults find suitable roommates and make housing more affordable for them.

Don’t forget about these upcoming events!

Colorado

Low income people in Colorado can use a new online tool called My Friend Ben to identify programs that they might be eligible for. This system also helps shorten the applications and make it easier to apply for those benefits.

Don’t forget about these upcoming events!

Connecticut

Connecticut’s Eviction Prevention Fund is celebrating it’s one-year anniversary this month. The fund has successfully helped nearly 4,000 people avoid eviction in the last year. This program helps families stay in their homes or move into better homes where they can more easily afford the rent. Each household that is helped by this program can receive up to $18,500 in assistance.

Delaware

The Delaware Mortgage Relief Program is running out of federal funds. As a result, the program will no longer be able to assist with homeowner expenses like HOA fees, homeowner insurance or lot rent fees. However, they can still provide assistance with late mortgage payments, property taxes or utilities.

This program has helped over 2,900 households with financial assistance that averages out to be $12,308 each. Delaware Public Radio said that monthly payment assistance applications will end at the end of January.

Florida

Miami is considering a proposal that would subsidize car purchases and insurance for low income people in the city. Through this program, the low income buyer would pay less than 25% of the vehicle’s value. This program would be funded by the city to enhance mobility and employment opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins have announced that applications are open for the Nat Moore Scholarship and Vocational Grant Endowment Program. This program can provide up to $10,000 toward college costs or $3,500 toward a vocational program. You can apply on the Miami Dolphins website.

Don’t forget about these upcoming events!

Georgia

Grady Memorial Hospital is going to invest $62 million in opening clinics for low income patients in the Atlanta area. They recognized the need to expand these services after another hospital recently closed.

Meanwhile, LIHEAP is open for everyone in the state. This program can provide up to $660 toward your utility bills. You need to contact your local Department of Human Services or Economic Opportunity Council to apply.

Illinois

A new rule will require Illinois hospitals to start screening patients for financial assistance before collecting on debts. This will take effect in the middle of this year. Interestingly, hospitals will have to post the number of people who decline or fail to respond to financial assistance and the five most common reasons that people say they wouldn’t take it.

Iowa

If you’re a homeowner facing repairs or struggling with overdue mortgage payments, there’s some help available for you through the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA). They’ve got a program called the Iowa Homeowner Assistance Fund, and it can provide you with up to $35,000 to cover eligible repairs or catch up on those past-due mortgage payments. To qualify for this program, your household income should not be more than 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), and your home repairs must impact its insurability or accessibility. Additionally, if anyone in your household faced financial difficulties after January 21, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as job loss, reduced work hours, or increased childcare costs, you’re eligible to apply.

Don’t wait! The deadline to apply is January 31 at 4:30 p.m. You can find more information and application details through the links provided. This is a chance to get some financial support for your home, so be sure to check it out.

Kansas

Wichita’s Home Repair program is back with improvements starting February 1st. It helps low and moderate-income homeowners with critical repairs, supporting affordable homeownership and maintaining affordable housing units in the city.

You can use this program for various essential projects, such as replacing furnaces and HVAC systems, fixing water service line issues, repairing sewer line problems, updating electrical systems, replacing water heaters, making accessibility improvements, and getting roof replacements. They might also consider other similar project requests.

Eligible homeowners can get up to $5,000 for essential repairs or up to $25,000 for larger projects. There are income and property ownership requirements, and the assistance is secured with a lien on the property. The first $5,000 is forgivable, but repayment is required if you sell or transfer your home within five years. Keep your hazard insurance active while you have a City mortgage.

Kentucky

Don’t forget about these updates!

Louisiana

Don’t forget about these updates!

Massachusetts

Massachusetts it taking steps to increase payments for child care providers! Providers who accept state child care assistance will receive a 5.5% increase to their daily reimbursement rate beginning in February. This will increase payments by more than $2,000 per year per child, on average. This will help support child care providers and encourage more providers to work with families who receive this assistance.

The state is also making it easier for all residents, including undocumented college students, to access higher education by introducing the Massachusetts Application for State Financial Aid (MASFA). This new form allows undocumented students who are currently enrolled in college in Massachusetts to apply for state-based financial aid for the first time.

MASFA is an alternative to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for students who can’t complete it due to their immigration status. This step follows the Tuition Equity Law passed in August 2023, which grants in-state tuition and financial aid eligibility to students who completed at least three years of high school in Massachusetts and received a diploma or its equivalent in the state, regardless of immigration status.

Michigan

Calvin University is offering a free eight-credit humanities course for low income adults who want to enroll. The program includes childcare, transportation to class and even dinner! The class is offered through the Wayfinder Program which serves adults who do not have a bachelor’s degree. You are not required to have a GED or high school diploma, either. There are 25 seats available and you can enroll online.

Don’t forget about these updates!

Minnesota

Don’t forget about these updates!

Missouri

If you live near St. Louis and have never visited the arch, you may be able to win four free tram ride tickets, admission to the documentary and virtual reality theater! Parking will also be covered. To enter, you just need to follow the Gateway Arch ATL on Instagram, like the giveaway post and leave a comment about which experience you’re looking forward to!

Don’t forget about these updates!

Nevada

Don’t forget about these updates!

New York

Governor Hochul has announced a plan that would build 10 new pools in underserved communities. The goal is to teach more low income kids how to swim in order to prevent drowning deaths. The NY SWIMS plan also includes an expansion to the state’s free child swimming lessons program.

The Smiles to Go program from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine has two mobile dental clinics that travel to rural communities in Western New York. The mobile clinics can provide exams, cleanings, fillings, sealants, fluoride treatments and extractions. This program can serve low income people, including children, parents and other adults.

North Carolina

Don’t forget about these updates!

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

Ohio

Oberlin Community Services has relocated into a larger building. The Cooper Community Resource Center has allowed them to triple the size of their pantry and expand their services to help more families in Lorain County.

Oklahoma

Don’t forget about these updates!

Oregon

Don’t forget about these updates!

Pennsylvania

Don’t forget about these updates!

Tennessee

Don’t forget about these updates!

Texas

More guaranteed income programs are coming to Texas! El Paso County has announced that they will start a new program that will pay $500 per month to around 135 low income households in the area. This program will be managed by UpTogether. The city plans to work with UpTogether to design the eligibility criteria and other requirements. The hope is that checks will start being mailed out in the summertime.

Meanwhile, Hidalgo County Community Service Agency is giving out free space heaters and smoke detectors for low income families who need help heating their homes. You’ll need to provide ID, proof of residency, and proof of income in order to apply. Call (956) 383-6240 for more information.

Don’t forget about these updates!

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

Utah

Don’t forget about these updates!

Virginia

Don’t forget about these updates!

Washington 

Great news for qualifying NW Natural Washington customers! Starting from January 1st, there’s a new program in place that can give you substantial relief on your natural gas bills. You can now enjoy up to 80 percent discounts each month, and this assistance is in addition to any other help you might already be receiving from NW Natural or other organizations.

To find out if you’re eligible, NW Natural will consider factors like the size of your household and your annual gross income. To qualify for the discount, your income should be at or below 80% of the median income in your area.

You can apply online or by calling (503) 226-4211. This program is here to help you manage your energy expenses, so don’t hesitate to reach out and learn more.

Meanwhile, Washington lawmakers are considering two rent stabilization proposals that would cap rent increases to no more than 5% per year. Landlords would be required to notify tenants at least six months prior to raising the rent more than 3%. If passed, these laws would take effect in 2025.

Don’t forget about these updates!

Washington DC

Washington DC has already run out of funds for the city’s homebuyer assistance program. The program’s funding operates on a fiscal calendar, which means that more money will be made available in October.

Funds for low income programs tend to run out quickly in the city. For example, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program ran out of funding in just a few hours in early January, and it will not be replenished until April.

Don’t forget about these updates!

  • NOW: Seniors may qualify for free snow removal. Call the Volunteer Snow Program at (202) 727-7925 for assistance.

Wisconsin

In Milwaukee’s Metcalfe Park neighborhood, there’s a program called the Metcalfe Park Homeownership Initiative. It’s designed to help people who live in affordable housing become homeowners.

About 15 years ago, 30 single-family homes were built on land that the government had taken for not paying taxes. These homes are worth around $125,000 each, but they are now being sold to the tenants at a lower price, between $40,000 and $80,000.

Last year, three of these homes were sold to tenants. Now, they are trying to let more eligible tenants know about the program so they can become homeowners too.

Wyoming

Enter to win one of three Yeti coolers from Wyoming State Parks! This giveaway is going until February 29th. You will need to register for a reservation account on the Wyoming Parks page and opt-in to marketing emails. Once you confirm your subscription to their email newsletter, you’ll be entered into the giveaway!

Relief Recap

From giveaways to new guaranteed income programs, this week’s resource recap covers all the changes to low income assistance programs from around the United States this week. We included nationwide changes as well as state-by-state updates to make sure that you’re empowered to save money and get free stuff in your area.

The Low Income Relief Team has over 10 years of experience exclusively researching low income topics. Because we focus on keeping our content as up-to-date as possible, our articles are regularly revised by different authors. When an article has significant contributions from at least two different authors, we use the designation "Low Income Relief Team." Articles attributed to this author may also include some contributions by AI tools. However, every article written by the Low Income Relief Team is personally reviewed by our founder and resident poverty expert prior to publication.

Anna B

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

Hello Nicole, I am an Arizona resident, retired (72 this year) on a small SS income, receiving EBT assistance. My question concerns SSI income and if it is considered income for Nutrition Assistance and Arizona state Access. Thank you for all you hard work and diligence in keeping us all informed. Your videos are wonderful.😊

Catherine Marucci

Thursday 1st of February 2024

Hi Anna. Social Security is usually considered income but it's generally not enough to prevent you from qualifying for assistance.

Cheryl

Sunday 14th of January 2024

Please tell me where I can get supplemental rent payments? My rent was increased $150 monthly. I live on a fixed income.

Catherine Marucci

Monday 15th of January 2024

Hi Cheryl. Here are some resources that may be worth looking into: https://lowincomerelief.com/rent-relief/

Brittany b

Saturday 13th of January 2024

Hi I'm a 33 will be 34 on the 17th of Jan few days away. I live in Burlington county, New Jersey. And I am recently homeless for a year and a 1/2. Been trying to find Shelter food. Anything that anyone may know where or where who can help me find a job shelter somewhereI canpossiblyget a vehicle and possiblymakepayment plans.. I was wondering if anybody out there that may know of any resources that can help me if you could please reach out and let me know. I really appreciate you. Thank you so much, God bless.

Catherine Marucci

Monday 15th of January 2024

Hi Brittany. Have you already called 211 to see if they know of any resources in your area?