A new report revealed that almost three million people are owed stimulus checks but haven’t claimed them. That’s not the only low income news we found this week, either! We’ve got exciting updates about the Housing Choice Voucher program, new grants and settlements you can apply for, and so much more!
In this article, you’ll find all the low income news updates we uncovered this week. We always link back to our original sources so that you can find more information. Browse the Nationwide and Local updates below to find all the ways that you can save money and get free stuff!
Nationwide Low Income News
In this section, you’ll find news that applies to everyone across the United States. For more specific low income news, be sure to check out the Local section below as well!
3 Million Stimulus Checks Still Unclaimed
Almost three million people still haven’t claimed their Recovery Rebate Credits (stimulus checks) from 2021! A new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the government still owes around $4.7 billion for these unclaimed stimulus checks.
Over the years, we’ve received a lot of comments from people who didn’t get their checks and now we know why. The TITGA report explained that 2.9 million people who filed a tax return did not claim the Recovery Rebate Credit when they filed. The report goes on to say that another 6.1 million people never filed their tax returns for that year and therefore did not get the Recovery Rebate Credit, either.
The TIGTA report encouraged the IRS to send letters out to those who are still owed the Recovery Rebate Credit, but it is not clear if those letters will be sent. However, TIGTA did encourage the IRS to encourage people to file a tax return or an amended tax return to get those credits.
If you were one of those who missed your stimulus check, you need to take action right away to claim it. Tax forms can be very confusion, so I recommend consulting with a tax professional right away to see what your options are. The tax preparers on our VITA list may be able to help you for free.
Remember, low income Americans are eligible for the IRS Free File program so you should not have to pay to file your taxes.
Housing Choice Vouchers Increasing
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has stated that the rates for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers will be increasing on October 1st.
This is important because many people who have received a voucher have found it very difficult to find housing that meets all the requirements for this program. Rent has to be within certain limits, which HUD calls fair market rent. This often is far less than what landlords are demanding.
Nationwide, the average rent has increased by about 5.45% since last year. However, HUD’s fair market rent rates remain far below what is typical. As a result, HUD will increase the fair market rent calculation by 12% this year to make these vouchers more usable for low income Americans.
Medicare Prescription Price Negotiation Begins
The Biden Administration has announced that Medicare will soon start negotiating prescription drug prices to help seniors save money on their medications.
The first 10 prescriptions that will be negotiated have been announced.
|Rheumatoid arthritis; psoriasis; psoriatic arthritis
|Diabetes; heart failure; chronic kidney disease
|Diabetes; heart failure
|Psoriasis; psoriatic arthritis; Chron’s disease; ulcerative colitis
The Biden Administration has also promised that Medicare will negotiate prices for 60 prescriptions within the next four years and an additional 20 prescriptions per year after that.
Get Your Settlement Checks
Settlement checks are an easy way to put extra cash in your pocket! They typically don’t pay very much each but they are easy to claim. If you’re eligible, don’t miss out on these upcoming payments!
|Optimum & Suddenlink Fees
Optimum or Suddenlink customers who paid fees between Jul 27, 2018, and May 5, 2023
|Sept 5, 2023
|Schnucks Misleading Beer & Wine Prices (est. $11)
Missouri residents who bought wine/liquor from Schnucks between Dec 3, 2015, and Feb 15, 2023
|Sept 8, 2023
|Home Trust Mortgage Data Breach
Home Trust Mortgage customers affected by July 2022 data breach
|Sept 11, 2023
|Afni Data Breach
Customers who were notified that their personal information was exposed during the June 2021 Afni data breach.
|Sept 12, 2023
|Baptist Emergency Hospital Billing
Patients billed for tests at Baptist Neighborhood Hospital
|Sept 18, 2023
|Journeys Unwanted Texts (est. $161.47)
Individuals who got unwanted texts from Journeys between Dec 21, 2017, and May 9, 2023
|Sept 21, 2023
|NetSpend Prepaid Debit Cards
Individuals with NetSpend cards (Jan 1, 2010 – Aug 31, 2016) with fees deducted
|Sept 21, 2023
Get Grants up to $10,000!
Owning or starting a business is a great way to escape the low income poverty trap. If you’re interested in business, our sponsor Skip can help you apply for business grants!
Here are some of the grants that are currently open for applications:
|Grants with Upcoming Deadlines
|Waves of Change Grants – unknown value
These grants help minority, women-owned businesses build an online presence. You must be at least 18 years old, a US resident, and earn less than $50,000 per year from your business. Applications due September 8, 2023.
|September Skip Grants – $1,000
These grants are open to US-based small business owners. Applications are due September 27, 2023.
|$5,000 Skip Growth Grant – $5,000
This grant is available to US-based small business owners. Applications are due September 30, 2023.
|2023 High Five Grant for Moms – up to $10,000
This program will award grants to eight female caregivers who have earned business revenue in the last 12 months. One person will get $10,000, one will get $5,000, one will get $2,500, and five people will get $1,000. Applications are due September 30, 2023.
|The No Grant – $2,000
This grant is open to US-based moms over age 18. Applications are due October 31, 2023.
You can learn more and get started with your application by signing up for a free Skip account today!
I did find one additional grant this week that wasn’t connected to Skip. Early-stage screenwriters who have been affected by the Writers Guild strike may be able to receive assistance from PEN America! They have a Screenwriters Emergency Assistance Fund that can provide short-term grants for up to $1,000. The funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible applicants.
Hungry? Get Help!
Things are getting harder for households that rely on food stamps. According to a report by Propel Inc., 42% of households who rely on SNAP benefits skipped meals in August and 55% ate less overall because they couldn’t afford food. Those numbers have more than doubled since last year.
If you are skipping meals or struggling to afford food, please reach out to your local food bank. Connect with other food programs, like WIC or the Commodities Supplemental Food Program for seniors, that may be able to help you. Call 211 and reach out to local churches and charities for help.
Local Low Income News
As usual, we’ve found a lot of low income news updates as well! Search for your state in the subheading below for more information.
The city of Phoenix received $10 million from the county to build more low income housing. Some of this money will be used to renovate a former Super 8 Motel into a low income housing facility for low income seniors who are at least 55 years old.
The Notel Motel in Tucson is being renovated into low income housing for seniors! When the work is done, there will be 63 apartments available for seniors who are at least 55 years old. They expect that applications will open in about 18 months, so be sure to follow KVOA for updates!
Maricopa County has also created a down payment assistance program called Home in Five Advantage Program. This program will provide forgivable loans for low-to-moderate income homebuyers who meet income limits. Qualified homebuyers can get up to 6% in assistance!
The California Mortgage Relief Program is looking for homeowners who have missed at least one property tax payment before March 1, 2023. If you missed a payment, meet income and asset limits, and experienced a pandemic-related hardship, you may be eligible for up to $80,000 in assistance with past-due property taxes! Get the details on the California Mortgage Relief Program website.
Many businesses, especially in Los Angeles, have decided to go cashless. They only accept cards or digital payments. The business owners claim that this is a smart choice because it protects them against theft, but lawmakers are saying that it’s discriminatory against unbanked groups that rely on cash. The city is considering a ban on cashless businesses. Some cities, like New York and San Francisco, have already enacted that ban.
Los Angeles plans to launch their new emergency rental assistance program on September 19! There haven’t been any details released yet but we will keep looking for new information.
The Sonoma County Housing Authority is opening applications for the Housing Choice Voucher waitlist between October 1 and October 31! This county handles the waitlist on a lottery system. After October 31, 750 applicants will be randomly selected for placement on the waitlist. Applications will be accepted on this website starting October 1.
On September 8, there will be a Family Caregiver Alliance Resource Fair in San Jose. This event will provide information about free caregiver services and resources. There will be small goodies and giveaways as well!
On September 9, families in San Diego can pick up a low-cost laptop or desktop computer at a drive-thru event. The San Diego County Office of Education and Computers 2 Kids have partnered to offer these low-cost devices for as little as $100. You’ll need to register online by September 6 to claim your device.
On September 16, there will be a Community Resource Fair in Mariposa.
On September 17, there will be a Community Resource Fair in Coulterville.
There’s a new scholarship program available for students who attend community colleges in Colorado! The Reisher Scholars Program provides up to $2,000 and is available to 250 students who are already participating in a Bridget to Bachelors degree program. The student must be transferring to one of eight participating schools.
On September 19, there will be a Business Resource Fair at the Fort Lupton Public and School Library. This event will help business owners and entrepreneurs connect with resources. Business consulting, job search help, interviewing information, grants, loans, advising, and other resources will be available.
Also on September 19, there will be a Resource & Job Fair for veterans at the Special Event Center in Fort Carson. Over 70 employers, educational programs and nonprofits will be there to connect with veterans and military members.
The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program just opened their new season! This means that homeowners and renters can apply for up to $530 toward their utility costs. In order to be eligible, you must have a household income that is up to 60% of the state median income. That’s almost $80,000 for a family of four! You can apply online.
A new housing complex for low income seniors is open in New Haven! Beacon Communities has about 100 affordable homes for the elderly. There are 85 studio apartments and 10 one-bedroom units.
The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) has announced a new financial assistance program to support homeowners who use private wells.
This program provides free test kits for primary residences. The kits can test for a number of different types of bacteria and chemicals in your water.
If the test results show that there is excessive coliforms, e. coli, fluoride, nitrite or sodium in the water, additional financial assistance may be available to help you treat the well. In order to be eligible for the additional assistance, you must participate in a means-tested program like SNAP, WIC, SSI, LIHEAP or TANF.
Seniors may be able to get utility bill assistance from the Area Agency on Aging! This organization administers programs that can help you get new air conditioners or pay your utility bills. You must be at least 60 years old and past due on your utilities to qualify. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for details!
There are nearly 800 low income apartments being planned in Jacksonville! These homes would require residents to earn 80% or less of the Area Median Income. Under this plan, both Franklin Arms and Westwood Apartments will be upgraded and renovated and a new 431-unit apartment building would also be built.
Also in Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid housing counselors have been helping low income families navigate the Foreclosure Intervention Program. This program helps people catch up on their mortgages when they experience financial hardships. Contact Jacksonville Area Legal Aid for help!
On September 20, the Angel Kids Foundation Resource Fair will take place between 2-4pm. This event will be held in Jacksonville.
Georgia Power customers are expected to see their bills rise by about $9 per month to help pay for a new nuclear power plant. The exact increase is supposed to be about $8.95 for the average customer.
On September 23, the Greenbriar Mall will host a Hispanic Community Resource Fair between 1pm and 3pm.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released $1.3 million to help Hawai’i support people experiencing homelessness and those who are at risk of homelessness. This money is intended to help people in Maui who have been affected by the wildfires. The money could be used to help provide emergency shelter, rehousing, and financial assistance with moving costs and up to 24 months of rent.
An innovative new car repair shop in Pocatello provides vehicle owners with the tools they need to fix their own cars. U Turn Garage has a spacious, air-conditioned space with a lift and other tools that customers can use to fix their own vehicles. This drastically cuts down on car repair costs, since the rate is currently $40 per hour if you use the lift or $30 per hour if you don’t use the lift. Veterans and first responders can get 15% off those rates.
Cook County residents who were affected by severe storms between June 29 and July 2 may be able to receive help from FEMA and the SBA. Visit a Disaster Recovery Center at one of these five locations for details.
Wheaton has a Senior Assistance Program for low income seniors. This program provides monthly financial assistance to residents who are at least 65 years old and meet income limits. You have to apply by September 22, 2023, using this application!
On October 2, the LIHEAP program will open for applications for seniors, people with disabilities and families with children under the age of 6. Households in crisis will be able to apply starting November 2, and all other eligible households will be able to apply starting December 1.
Center Township has announced that they are increasing the amount of money available for Township Assistance this year. The township recently paid out over $83,000 in assistance for a single month, which is unprecedented. The increase is due to rising rent, utility costs, and also more people seeking help.
On September 20, Handing Out Hope will provide free resources and supplies to the Fort Wayne community. The event will take place between 11am and 1pm at the Allen County Public Library.
On September 8 and 9, the Simon House of Kentucky will host a Family Resource Fair and Giveaway! This event will include giveaways, free haircuts, face painting, balloon animals, kids activities and more. The vent will take place at 231 E Main St. in Frankfort.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott has announced that around 75,000 residents who owe money on their water bills will receive credits on their upcoming statements. There is grant money available that is being used to relieve those debts. Each household will receive around $209 worth of bill credits.
The city of Plainville is no accepting applications for property tax assistance! Eligible seniors and people with disabilities can apply. You must be at least 65 years old by July 1 or have a disability. You must also meet income limits and live in a home that you own. Applications are due by October 16.
On September 7, there will be a Housing Resource Fair in Pittsfield. This fair starts at 10am at Persip Park. If it rains, the event will be rescheduled to September 14. There will be many housing organizations and agencies, as well as supportive services, available to help you.
On September 9, a Community Resource Fair will take place at CHA in Malden. This event will offer face painting, music, ice cream and games. The event will also help you connect with housing, food, immigration assistance and other resources.
Also on September 9, the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council will host a Community Resource Fair. The event will take place at Campognone Park between 11am and 2pm that day. There will be games, raffles, arts and crafts, live music and community resources provided.
In Muskegon County, a new program is helping low income families pay for daycare. This new program provides up to 30 days of daycare assistance for low income families who are either getting a new job or experiencing financial hardships. It’s not a long-term solution but it can help. You can apply online or by calling Mission for Area People at (231) 733-9672.
On September 19, there will be a Community Health Resource Fair in St. Louis Park. This event offers food and drinks, as well as help with medication management, navigating health care, kitchen safety, and fun activities for the kids. It is hosted at Fire Station 1.
The recent heat wave has caused many Missouri residents to receive high utility bills. There are ways you can get help! Metro United Way is offering financial assistance, but you need to call 211 to get help.
Montana homeowners have until October 1 to apply for a $675 property tax rebate! In order to be eligible, you must have lived in your home for at least seven months during 2022. Get yours at getmyrebate.mt.gov.
GRACE Cancer Foundation helps cancer patients who live within 40 miles of Grand Island. If you live outside that area but receive treatment at Grand Islands or Hastings Cancer Centers, then you may still be eligible. They can help with gas cads, medication costs, mental health support and more.
Southwest Gas recently donated 20 hot water heaters to Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada! This organization helps with home repairs for seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. If you’d like help with repairs, contact Rebuilding Together!
The United Way of Southern Nevada is still trying to get the word out about Project REACH, which provides up to $300 per year toward utility bills. In order to be eligible, you must be a low income senior who is at least 62 years old. You can get more information and application instructions on the Project REACH website.
On September 8, a Hurricane Resource Fair will be held at Dunn Sports Center in Elizabeth. This event is for Elizabeth residents only! There will be providers that can help you get your child in school, repair your home and vehicle, see a doctor or dentist, fill your medications, replace missing documents, or get other assistance.
On September 14, a Community Resource Fair will take place in Leonardo. This event will be held exclusively in Spanish, but translators will be available to assist.
New Mexico has decided to increase TANF payments by 23%! This will boost the average benefits for a family of four from $539 to $663 per month! This is the first increase since 2011.
On September 11, there will be a Business Resource Fair available that can help you meet with marketers, lenders, and other resources that can help you build a business. The first 100 guests will receive a free lunch voucher for an on-site food truck!
Governor Hochul sent an open letter to President Biden this week. The letter calls on the president to take several actions to help New York cope with the flood of asylum seekers that they are receiving. The Governor also asked for additional financial support for New York City and New York State.
On September 12, a Senior Resource Fair will be held at Southside Mall in Oneonta. This event will help seniors find help with housing, medical needs, health screenings and more.
On September 13, a Senior Moments Resource Fair will be held at Fingerlakes Mall in Aurelius. This event provides classes, demonstrations, benefits screenings, legal aid services, flu shots, discount cards, free goodie bags and door prizes.
On September 16, a Veterans Appreciation Picnic will take place in Salt Point. Each veteran can bring one guest to the free picnic, but you need to register online before September 8 to claim your spot.
The Cape Fear Housing Coalition is hosting a series of educational events for senior homeowners. The events will focus on how to age in place safely, plan for Medicaid, get property tax relief and deal with wills. The events will happen every Thursday at 10am. Advanced registration is encouraged, especially if you want help developing a free will at the Free Wills Clinic.
On September 8, there will be a Resource Fair at 521 N Bright Leaf Blvd in Smithfield. The fair will include resources for mental health and substance abuse issues. Free food will be provided at noon.
On September 14, a Community Health & Resource Fair will be held between 3-6pm in Spruce Pine. This event will include giveaways, helpful resources, and fun activities. The first 50 families to check in will also get a $10 voucher for free Mexican food that can be used at the event.
On September 23, the Harvest Center of Charlotte will host a Community Resource Fair. The event will occur at 5415 Airport Drive in Charlotte.
On September 7, there will be a Mental Health and Community Resource Fair at the Miami County Courthouse Plaza. This event will feature about 50 local agencies. It’s free to attend and the event will offer free haircuts, chair massages, manicures and wellness programs.
On September 14, the Columbus Metropolitan Library will host a Life Skills Job & Resource Fair. More than 50 employers and community organizations will be on-site offering jobs and resources.
On September 8, OKFA is hosting an event for veterans called Sooner Stand Down. It will take place at 17424 NW 4th St in Oklahoma City. The doors open at 6:30 am for breakfast and agencies will be available to help you with various services, including dental care and legal assistance, starting at 8am. The event offers free food, personal care items, reading glasses and clothing.
New homebuyer assistance programs are available in the state! HomeAssist and HomeAccess can provide up to $10,000 in financial assistance for homebuyers. For more information, you’ll need to contact Prosperity Home Mortgage Company.
Up to 50,000 more people are expected to qualify for free SEPTA fare cards through a new expansion of that program. City employees and some low income residents will be eligible for the discount.
In Philadelphia, a resident has sued OCF Realty for violating the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance. This ordinance prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants based on their source of income, including Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. In this case, a tenant was told that the company would not accept her voucher so she sued them.
Apply for LIHEAP before September 16! That’s when applications will close for the current award year. Applications for the new award year will open on October 1. Since you can only get help once per award year, you’ll be leaving money on the table if you don’t apply before September 16! Contact your local Community Action Agency to apply.
Residents who were affected by the June 15 tornado and extreme weather may be able to get help from the SBA. The disaster declaration has been approved for Ochiltree County, as well as the neighboring counties of Hansford, Hutchinson, Lipscomb and Roberts.
Texas Utility Help is issuing grants to help Central Texas customers. They can provide up to $2,400 in addition to any past-due amounts owed. You need to have a household income that is 150% of the Federal Poverty Level or less in order toq ualify.
On September 15-16, there will be a dental clinic hosted by Texas Mission of Mercy. This organization is a mobile dental clinic and their event will take place in the Bert Ogden Arena on September 15 and 16. This event will provide free dental services to over a thousand patients. They will be able to provide x-rays, dental cleanings, fillings, and extractions at no cost.
On September 23, the Suicide Prevention Resource Fair will be held at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan. The event will feature resources, suicide prevention presentations, lunch and prize drawings.
Some residents in Roanoke County may be able to get their septic systems pumped for free. The Roanoke Valley – Alleghany Regional Commission has funds to cover about 50 pump-outs across the county. This service can cost up to $500 but needs to be done every few years. In order to be eligible, you need to have a household income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. You can apply online.
On September 6, the One Stop Resource Fair will open in Warren County. The event will take place between 1-4pm at the Warren County Community Center.
There are 104 new low income housing units in Seattle! The John Fox Place on Aurora Avenue North is about to begin accepting applications. The apartments range from studios to 3 bedroom units. They are reserved for people who make less than 60% of the Area Median Income for King County. Contact the Low Income Housing Institute for application instructions.
On September 6, there will be a Resource Fair at the Shoreline Library. You could get a free phone, free ORCA card, hygiene kits, free lunch, free showers and even free on-site veterinary care for your pets. There will be a ton of resources available! It happens between 10am and 2pm.
On September 7, there will be a Community Resource Fair in Tacoma. It will take place at Stewart Heights Park between 2-5pm. The event will offer goodie bags, free food, financial assistance and entertainment.
Homeowners in the Piney Creek Watershed area may be able tog et financial help with their septic tank maintenance! The Piney Creek Watershed Association is helping homeowners pump, repair, replace or install new septic systems for little to no cost.
In order to be eligible, you must own a home in one of the following areas:
Applications are due October 20, 2023. You can apply start by filling out this interest survey.
Every week, the Low Income Relief team gathers all the latest low income news that you need to know. This week’s news roundup included unclaimed stimulus checks, upcoming class action settlements, grants from Skip, as well as a variety of state updates. Several states are offering utility assistance, including free septic pumps, at this time.