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Low Income Resource Roundup | Nov 11 2023

Low Income Resource Roundup | Nov 11 2023

Everyone’s talking about the threat of a government shutdown again, but do you really need to worry? In this week’s resource roundup, we talk about what will happen to your benefits if the government shuts down as well as all the other low income news you need to know!

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Nationwide Resources

Welcome to our nationwide news segment, where we bring you important updates on various topics that impact individuals and families across the country.

Another Potential Government Shutdown

It seems like every few weeks, we find ourselves staring down another government shutdown deadline. News outlets love to talk about it and hypothesize what might happen, so there’s a lot of fear-mongering going on. Please don’t give into that stress. There’s not much we can do about it and worrying endlessly does not help you.

We have been assured that Social Security benefits, VA benefits, Medicaid and Medicare benefits would not be impacted by a government shutdown. You don’t have to take my word for it, though.

Social Security benefits would continue. Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan has previously stated, “Recipients would continue to receive their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits. However, about 15% of the Social Security Administration’s staff would be furloughed, which could mean the delay or suspension of benefit verifications, replacement of Medicare cards and determinations on disability claims.”

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VA Benefits will not be impacted, although it may be harder to reach someone at the agency since customer service personnel might be furloughed. According to VA Secretary Denis McDonough, “In the case of a shutdown, there would be no impact on Veteran healthcare; burials would continue at VA national cemeteries; VA would continue to process and deliver benefits to Veterans, including compensation, pension, education, and housing benefits; and the Board will continue to process appeals.”

Medicare and Medicaid will also continue. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Program will continue during a lapse in appropriations. CMS will have sufficient funding for Medicaid to fund the first quarter of FY 2024, based on the advance appropriation provided for in the FY 2023 appropriation.  CMS will maintain the staff necessary to make payments to eligible states for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”

SNAP and WIC Benefits could be impacted by an extended shutdown, according to Congressman Kildee. Nobody has provided a clear definition of what constitutes an “extended” shutdown, but I believe it means that the shutdown must last weeks to months before those benefits would be impacted. The longest government shutdown to date was 34 days in 2018-2019.

Get Health Care Help for $9/month

If you have Amazon Prime but you do not have Medicaid, you could receive on-demand health care services through Amazon’s new partnership with One Medical! This program provides both virtual and in-person primary care services.

For just $9/month (plus $6 for each additional family member), One Medical offers primary care services that cater to your needs, even if you have a low income. They provide accessible and comfortable care, like a regular doctor’s office, with longer appointments and virtual options.

They even have actual medical offices in the following locations:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Connecticut
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  • Houston, Texas
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • New York, New York
  • Orange County, California
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • San Diego, California
  • Seattle-Tacoma, Washington
  • San Francisco Bay Area, California

If you’re looking for affordable and convenient healthcare, One Medical could be a good choice, but they don’t accept Medicaid. That’s because Medicaid has so many rules about where you receive care. Even if you pay for the One Medical membership out of pocket, they wouldn’t be able to refer you to lab testing, order prescriptions, etc. because Medicaid wouldn’t cover it.

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However, if you do NOT have Medicaid, this can be a great option for affordable health care! They also have an RxPass program that can ship you many prescriptions for just $5/month.

VA Suspends Debt Collection for Some Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has temporarily stopped collecting debts from around 40,000 low-income veterans and their survivors who have been receiving federal pensions. The VA is actively reviewing records to determine the exact number of individuals affected, which could be as many as 70,000 total pension recipients.

This follows the discovery of accounting errors spanning 12 years, which resulted in overpayments due to past income reporting mistakes. The issue primarily affects low-income veterans and survivors who rely on these pensions, which can range from a few hundred dollars to over $5,000 per month.

VA officials do not currently plan to collect these outstanding debts. The VA has halted the collection of established pension debts and the creation of new ones. They plan to reach out to affected veterans and survivors, providing explanations and relief from pension debt where possible.

Claim Some Extra Cash

You could get some unexpected cash in your pocket from one of these class action settlements! If you were affected, you could get up to $160 from some of these offers!

Filing for these settlements is often easy. You don’t need a lawyer. Most times, you just fill out a form online or by mail. The websites linked below have an official form that you need to fill out, usually online or by mail. It only takes a few moments to the money you are owed!

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SettlementDue
Nationstar Mortgage
If you have a mortgage serviced by Nationstar and you had an incorrect payment withdrawn on April 23, 2021, then you may be eligible!
Nov 13, 2023
Global Trade Hub (Illinois)
If you worked in Illinois for Global Trade Hub, Eve, or Utucu between October 11, 2020, and August 1, 2022, this settlement might include you.
Nov 14, 2023
Batiste Dry Shampoo
If you bought Batiste or Bare Dry Shampoo before May 30, 2023, you may be eligible for a settlement check!
Nov 15, 2023
90 Degree Benefits – $50+ value (estimated)
If your data was compromised in a data breach that took place in either February or December 2022, you may be eligible for $50 or more from this settlement!
Nov 16, 2023
Reilly Foam Biometric Privacy (Illinois)
If you used your hand, finger, or other personal body data at a Reilly Foam place in Illinois between August 1, 2017, and August 1, 2022, you might be part of this settlement.
Nov 18, 2023
CVS Lidocaine Products
If you purchased a CVS maximum strength lidocaine product like a patch, cream, roll-on, or spray between December 11, 2017 and July 18, 2023, you might be part of this settlement.
Nov 20, 2023
Navient Solutions
If you are a borrower or coborrower of a Navient-owned private student loan AND you filed for bankruptcy protection on or after October 17, 2005, then you may be eligible for this.
Nov 20, 2023
AdaptHealth Spam Texts$160 value (estimated)
If you received a text about CPAP supplies from AeroCare after replying stop to an earlier message, you may be eligible for this! It covers unwanted texts sent after November 23, 2018.
Nov 21, 2023
Enhanced Recovery Company (Illinois) – $25 (estimated)
This settlement applies to people in Illinois who got a debt collection letter from Enhanced Recovery Company. The letter said they could settle the debt, but it also mentioned that some money would still be owed to the original creditor.
Nov 23, 2023
Douglas J Institute (Michigan)
This settlement is for students who took part in Douglas J.’s cosmetology programs in Michigan and were part of the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, or Salon Life courses from 2012 to 2022.
Nov 23, 2023
Freedom Financial Network – up to $170 (estimated)
You might qualify for this settlement if you got telemarketing calls for Freedom Financial Network or Freedom Debt Relief from May 17, 2017, to April 17, 2018.
Nov 25, 2023
M&M Rentals (Colorado)
You could be eligible for this settlement if you resided in any of M&M Rentals’ apartments located at 102-120 D Street, 233 E. First Street, or 117 ½ F Street in Salida, Colorado, at any time since April 24, 2015.
Nov 25, 2023

If you meet any of those criteria, just follow the blue links above to reach the official settlement website and claim your cash!

Get Skip Grants to Start or Grow a Side Biz

Starting or growing your own side hustle into a business is a great way to escape the trap of poverty. After all, earning more money is a great way to expand your monthly budget.

You can find grant opportunities to fuel your entrepreneurial vision through our partner, Skip! This is a great service if you’re looking for a quick infusion of capital to launch your dreams.

Apply quick if you want some of these grants!

Open Entrepreneur Grants
Southern California Job Creators Grant – $4,000
The SoCal Founders First Fund is looking for 25 diverse businesses in Southern California. In order to receive a grant, the founder of the company must identify as Latinx, Black, Asian, LGBTQIA+, female, or a military veteran. The business must be located in a low or moderate income area. Apply by November 13.
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
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.
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.

For more information about these and other opportunities, claim your free Skip account today!

Local Resources

We found local news updates for all 50 states this week! Skim to find your state subheading below to get the information that is relevant to you.

Alabama

Don’t miss out on this:

Alaska

The homeless of Anchorage are dying in record numbers this year. According to ABC News, 49 people have died living outdoors in Anchorage this year, compared to last year’s record of 24.

It appears that the city has shut down a mass winter shelter that had been established inside a sports arena during the pandemic. The city is facing a lot of pressure to increase shelter beds and affordable housing opportunities.

Arizona

Don’t miss out on this:

Arkansas

A new program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will help new students get a bachelors degree at no cost! In order to be eligible, a student must be eligible for a Pell Grant award and receive the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship.

California

The state has extended the deadline for the Low Income Water Assistance Program to March 31, 2024. The state has over $40 million in water bill assistance available.

Also, the Housing Affordability Fund can provide up to $10,000 toward the closing costs of low income first time homebuyers. The money is provided to members of underserved communities who have not owned any real estate in the last three years. Get the details here.

Meanwhile, there’s a new affordable housing complex in San Ysidro. This complex features 64 units for very low income families. You must earn 25% or less of the Area Median Income in order to qualify. The Village includes case management, ESL classes, life skills, job training, after-school programs, nutrition classes and more.

Don’t miss these deadlines!

Colorado

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is open for applications! The program opened on November 1 and closes on April 30, 2024. The average benefit from this program is around $560, so you should apply right away if you are eligible!

Connecticut

Connecticut’s LIHEAP program is now open for applications. According to Eversource, you could get up to $530 in assistance through the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program this year. The income limits are more generous than you might think. A family of four earning up to $80,000 a year could receive help!

Delaware

The Delaware State Housing Authority recently revealed that the state is short by almost 20,000 affordable rental units. The agency is calling for more funding for Section 8, especially in the North New Castle area.

Florida

Florida Senator Lauren Book is taking action to help low-income seniors facing high home insurance costs. She introduced SB 348, called the Insurance Rebate Program for Low-Income Seniors, to tackle the property insurance crisis in the state. This program would provide relief to seniors over 65 years old with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level. It offers a rebate of 10% on their primary residence’s insurance premium.

If the proposal passes, the program would begin in July 2024. You need to reach out to your state lawmakers and encourage them to support this proposal if you want to see it become a reality.

Meanwhile, Pinellas County is offering first time homebuyers up to $75,000 in down payment assistance! The program recently increased the amount offered. It used to be $50,000.

Don’t miss out on this:

Georgia

If you live in Warner Robins, you may be able to get free help with home repairs to improve the heating and cooling efficiency of your home. However, you need to apply by November 17! Applications are available online or you can pick up an application at 610 Watson Blvd.

Don’t miss out on this:

Hawaii

In Waipahu, many tenants are living in substandard housing because they are afraid to speak up against their landlord. One person who was interviewed by Hawaii News Now said that they have been waiting for their refrigerator to be replaced for almost two years. Another tenant said that they haven’t had hot water since 2021.

If you need help with a landlord-tenant issue, please reach out to your local legal aid organization to find out what your options might be.

Don’t miss out on this:

Idaho

Idaho residents could qualify for up to three months of free rent! In Bonner County, you could earn up to $40,400 a year and still qualify!

This benefit is offered through a new emergency rental assistance program. This program appears to be available everywhere except Ada County.

Act fast, though! You have to apply by November 17 to be eligible!

Don’t miss out on this:

Illinois

Illinois lawmakers have decided to end a school choice program that serves low income students. Less than 10,000 students were enrolled. Those students will have to choose a different school at the end of the school year when the program ends.

Don’t miss out on this:

  • Dec 1: LIHEAP open for everyone

Indiana

Don’t miss out on this:

Iowa

Don’t miss out on this:

Kansas

East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation (EKCAN) recently received grant money that will be used to improve the energy efficiency of 282 homes. They will do this by adding insulation, installing LED lighting, repairing windows and more. If you’d like help, you can apply on the EKCAN website!

Don’t miss out on these events:

Kentucky

If you need help with your heating bills, you may be able to get $34 – $274 from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program! You may be eligible if you have a household income that is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level, but you have to apply by December 15 in order to get help.

Louisiana

The Louisiana Go Grant and the Taylor Opportunity Program for students may be getting some drastic changes in the near future. A new rule by the US Department of Health and Human Services will force Louisiana to reevaluate these programs, since they use TANF funding for students who wouldn’t typically be eligible for TANF benefits.

Don’t miss out on these events!

Maine

The University of Maine at Orono has already raised $81.5 million to begin work on their new 3D house printing factory! Once built, the factory will be able to print a full 3D house in just 48 hours. The homes are 600 square feet and include one bedroom.

It’s been a year since we first reported that their prototype house was installed on the university campus. Now that it’s weathered a full year, the Advanced Structures and Composites Center has declared that the house can withstand a typical winter!

Maryland

Coppin State University has entered a partnership with Baltimore City to provide 10 low income students with housing vouchers. Through the Student Housing Initiative, students will pay the higher of $25 or 10% of their monthly gross income toward rent. In order to be eligible, you must maintain a 2.5+ GPA and have graduated from a Baltimore City high school

Don’t miss out on these events!

Massachusetts

Local Community Action providers estimate that heating assistance will be in high demand this year, so it’s important to apply right away if you need help. Contact your local Community Action Agency for assistance.

Don’t miss out on this!

Michigan

Don’t miss out on this!

Minnesota

In Burnsville, low income property owners may be able to get help removing and replacing trees that have been afflicted by ash borer beetles. The city has not finalized income guidelines yet. You’ll need to contact the city council for details.

Mississippi

Results from Mississippi’s guaranteed income program (called Magnolia Mothers Trust) are pouring in. They show that guaranteed income programs really do make a huge different in the lives of those who receive the money.

From the statistics:

  • 75% of parents felt more confident about parenting after the program ended
  • 60% of children reported more joyful family relationships
  • 1/3 of children had better educational opportunities

Sequaya Coleman, who participated in the second round of this program, said, “It was like winning some kind of lottery.”

Missouri

Spire has announced that they will provide an additional $500,000 in heating assistance for low income families! If you need help with your utilities, this is a great opportunity to get some additional assistance with your bill.

Montana

A group of organizations is urging the Public Service Commission (PSC) to reconsider its recent decision on NorthWestern Energy’s rates.

They argue that low-income customers will be hit the hardest by the substantial rate increases imposed by the PSC, which failed to take their financial struggles into account. The organizations stress that the PSC’s decision not only places a heavier financial burden on low-income individuals but also fails to compel NorthWestern to improve its efforts to assist those with limited resources.

NorthWestern Energy’s rate hike, raising residential rates by 24% and small business rates by 25% since August 2022, has sparked criticism and calls for a revision of the PSC’s decision.

The motion filed by the Human Resource Council District IX, Natural Resources Defense Council, and NW Energy Coalition alleges that the decision disproportionately benefits utility shareholders and lacks consideration for low-income populations.

Nebraska

Good Vibrations is a nonprofit in Omaha that helps low income students get involved in music classes. They provide new and repaired instruments to low income schools in the area.

Nevada

Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada is currently registering families for their Holiday Spirit Food Baskets. However, they can only accommodate 2,000 families so you need to apply right away.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire provides free private well testing for low income pregnant women. This program is called the NH Water Well-Ness Initiative. It’s designed to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from the risks associated with exposure to too much arsenic. You may be able to participate if you receive benefits from WIC. If your well fails the test, you could receive free water filters and other assistance.

New Jersey

Westfield Area YMCA has financial assistance to help low income families in the local area afford help. If you live in Westfield, Cranford, Garwood or Mountainside, then you may be eligible to receive assistance with swim lessons, child care, summer camp, or even general membership! Contact the Y for details.

New Mexico

Sante Fe has a new mansion tax, which will be used to build and maintain affordable housing in the community. Most people who voted, around 73% of them, are in favor of this tax.

The 3% tax only affects the money earned from home sales above $1 million. If you sell your home for less than $1 million, it won’t affect you. Even if you sold your home for more than that, the tax only applies to the amount over $1 million.

New York

An exciting new bill is waiting for the governor’s signature! This bill would remove medical debt from credit reports. This would ensure that people could still get good jobs and rent homes, even if they struggled from ill health or a low income.

Don’t miss out on this:

North Carolina

Residents in the Wesley Village Apartments have been informed that their screen doors will soon be removed. The property manager has not explained why. Tenants are outraged because they feel these screen doors keep them safer and more comfortable in their homes.

Don’t miss out on this:

North Dakota

Community Action offers many services to the low income community. In a recent interview with KX News, a local representative said that many of the calls they receive are just from people who want to see what services are available. They can help you with weatherization, gas stamps and so much more.

Ohio

Don’t miss out on these events!

Oklahoma

Don’t miss out!

Oregon

Optometrists around Oregon have grouped together to offer free eye exams and glasses to patients throughout November. Through a partnership between the Oregon Optometric Physicians Association and the Oregon Foundation for Vision Awareness, customers can get free diabetic eye exams and free glasses if they can’t otherwise afford them.

Meanwhile, Portland General Electric has announced that their residential rates will be increasing by 17% starting January 1. If you need help with your bills, don’t forget to check out this list of resources!

Pennsylvania

The Wilds are Working program is now three years old but it hasn’t been as successful as its founders had hoped. This program was designed to coax remote workers to live permanently in the Pennsylvania Wilds. Unfortunately, only one of the 20 participants has actually moved there with their family.

Meanwhile, the Phoenixville Free Clinic was recently recognized with a $100,000 matching grant that will help it continue providing free health services in the Phoenixville community.

Don’t miss out on this!

Rhode Island

Don’t miss out on this!

South Carolina

Don’t miss out on this!

South Dakota

A program called the Promising Futures Fund helps low-income students in South Dakota visit college campuses. It’s meant to show them that college is an option for their future.

Many of these students might be the first in their families to go to college, so this experience is a chance to see what it’s like on a college campus and learn about different fields of study.

Tennessee

A Tennessee lawmaker has proposed ending grocery taxes in the state. This announcement came shortly after the end of the three-month tax holiday that ran from August through October.

Representative Aftyn Behn said that the grocery tax disproportionately hurts low income families, so she suggested abolishing that tax. Tennessee is one of only 13 states that has a grocery tax.

Texas

El Paso is expected to get 258 new affordable housing units through the new Multi-Family Affordable Housing Program. The homes will be built as part of seven different projects around town. However, the city also recently rejected a proposal to create a guaranteed income pilot program.

Meanwhile, two low income health care centers in the Houston area will close soon. The Center for Women and Children on Sam Houston Parkway will close on December 1. The location on Bissonnet Street will close at the end of June. These locations primarily serve low income children who receive CHIP health benefits.

Don’t miss out on this!

Utah

Thanksgiving Heroes hopes to delivery holiday meals to more than 3,000 families this season. Scheels is partnering with this organization to help make this possible. You can nominate a family, including your own family, on the Thanksgiving Heroes website.

Vermont

Southeastern Vermont Community Action is undergoing some changes. They recently announced that the organization will soon have a new director. They are also closing two SEVCA Thrift Stores in Bellows Falls and Springfield.

Virginia

If you want to apply for utility assistance in Virginia, you need to act fast! You could receive between $397 to $1,282 from this program but the deadline to apply is 6pm on Monday, November 13th! Go to CommonHelp.virginia.gov to get started.

The program usually wraps up on the second Friday of November, but it was extended to Monday this year because of Veterans Day.

Washington

If you live on Whidbey Island, you may be able to get help installing a heat pump in your home! Kicking Gas offers affordable microloans and other assistance to help residents install these pumps, which can improve the comfort of your home in summer and winter.

Don’t miss out on this!

West Virginia

West Virginia American Water company just acquired Boone-Raleigh Public Service District this week and that means rate hikes are on the way. According to WV Public Radio, the average Boone-Raleigh customer will now pay around $6 more.

WVAW has also requested a rate increase for their customers but the Public Service Commission has not made a decision on that request yet.

Wisconsin

Don’t miss these deadlines!

  • Dec 6: Deadline to apply for Jefferson County Christmas Neighbors
  • Jan 31: Wisconsin Fund application deadline

Wyoming

The Food Bank of Wyoming is partnering with the Buffalo Youth Nation Project to address food insecurity among Native Americans, particularly students at Fort Washakie School on Wind River Indian Reservation. The program called Totes of Hope™ provides nourishing food to kids and their families when school is out of session.

The Food Bank of Wyoming supplies enough food for 150 kids, helping families who struggle with low income or poverty, ensuring children have access to nutritious meals even when school is not in session.

Summary

In this week’s low income resource roundup, we explore the potential consequences of a government shutdown, Amazon’s affordable healthcare options, and the availability of local assistance programs for those in need. These resources aim to provide valuable support and information to help individuals and families facing financial challenges navigate uncertain times.

Jody smith

Thursday 16th of November 2023

Low income for individual in arizona

Catherine Marucci

Friday 17th of November 2023

Hi Jody. Here are the resources we have found in Arizona: https://lowincomerelief.com/category/arizona/

Catherine Marucci

Tuesday 14th of November 2023

Hi. Here are some of the resources we have found in Washington DC: https://lowincomerelief.com/?s=washington+dc

michael

Monday 13th of November 2023

is there any help that you mite no of for tennessee ?

Catherine Marucci

Tuesday 14th of November 2023

Hi Michael. Here are some resources we have found in Tennessee: https://lowincomerelief.com/category/tennessee/

Ms. Bobbi Ann Jones

Monday 13th of November 2023

I pray they find a way around the shutdown I would be affected if my food stamps stopped I hope to not be out of food or my VA compensation check stopped I would have to make arrangements for my bills that won't be paid because no money was deposited I would have to put the charges on my Discover card then pay off when the funds were restored if it comes to that.