Sunday, April 20, 2014

Free Books for Preschool Children

Country music singer/songwriter Dolly Parton started Imagination Library in the 1995 to provide a free book a month to children from birth to 5 years old in eastern Tennessee.  The books are to nurture the love of books--and literacy--in households where children might otherwise not have access to reading material. Each month, a child who has been registered for the program by their parent or legal guardian is mailed an age-appropriate book to keep.

Since then it has spread through over 1,000 affiliates through the U.S., Great Britain, Australia and Canada.  If you are the parent or guardian of a child under 5, see if your area has an Imagination Library affiliate and if they are open for new registrations.  In the United States, this is the page to input your zip code and see if there is a program that covers your area.  There is also material available for the blind at no cost for eligible families, and reduced cost for others.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Free Legal Assistance for Active Military

We've done a post on free legal help for veterans.  But there's help for active military, too.  I ran across something from the Ohio Attorney General's office describing assistance that they will perform for members of the military and their families.  This includes help in drafting wills and power of attorney forms, as well as enforcing a military member's rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.  That's the federal law that provides protection for military personnel from a number of some civil obligations like taxes and some debts while in the service.  To contact the Ohio Attorney General's office, call (800) 282-0515.

For those in other places, Military.com has gathered up a list of other places where service members can find free legal help for these and other issues, like taxes and consumer issues. People eligible for these services include military dependents and reservists.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tuition Assistance for Active Military--State and Federal Levels

Much is written about veterans and their educational benefits, but there's financial aid for active military members, too.  The website MilitaryTA (tuition assistance) pulls several things together: eligibility, how to apply, and amount of aid for the army, navy, air force, marines, and coast guard.

There are also links with information on tuition and financial aid for active members of the military in each state--like many types of assistance, there are programs on the state as well as the federal level.  There are also some state programs for veterans, spouses, and the children of veterans, and these are linked, too.  Every state is different, so check them out.  Some of the benefits may be listed at state veteran's offices, or they may be listed in state offices of higher education.  Try them both as well as Military TA.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

All in One Spot for Finding and Applying for Veteran's Benefits

There's a federal website that allows veterans to see state, federal and private resources available to help veterans.  It's the National Resource Directory, which can be searched in general by putting in a keyword and your state, city, or zip code.  Or you can explore some broad subject headings, like housing, education and training, transportation, homeless assistance, and family and caregiver support. 

This information is migrating to ebenefits, a VA portal that will allow not only searching, but online searching for one's records, creating documents, filing for benefits, and checking your status for compensation and benefits. These services are for registered users. There's also a jobs section for resume building, skill assesments, and other individualized help for registered users.

If you just want to browse in the portal website, there's still a part of the site that allows browsing for information without registration (of course, your own information is not available without registration).  It has state as well as federal information, and it has benefit information that is open to the general public, but that can be accessed by vets, like home and business loan sources and help for foreclosure.  Like the other sections, non-registered browsers can use the jobs section to search for jobs in either the federal government or private sector.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

So What's Obamacare Mean for You If..You Aren't Enrolled, Need Enrollment Later, or are Looking for an Exemption?

Now that the first official Obamacare enrollment period is over, what are your other options?  For instance, if you still don't have any insurance? 

--If you were in line, you have to get back in the computer and sign up by April 15th.  Here's how.

--There may be other options, like Medicaid in your state., or CHIP insurance for your children. 

--Some people are exempt from being required to by enrolled in health insurance because of economic hardship, religious convictions, or other reasons, and can file for an exemption.  Here's the list of exemptions, and how to file for them.

--You may not need health insurance coverage now, but something could happen to change your status or health insurance needs between now and the next enrollment period in the fall--a loss of job, divorce, the birth of a child, etc.  Like job-related health care, you can enroll outside of the enrollment period for those events.  Here's a page of information on life events that would allow you to file for health insurance on the exchanges before the next enrollment period.  There are even some complicated life changes that would make you qualified to fill between enrollment periods.  If you think you might qualify, call
1-800-318-2596.

--And, if you are an enrolled member of a federally recognized Indian tribe, you can enroll any time, and can change plans at any time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Summer Employment 2014 for Young Adults in Lucas County

This year, EOPA will host a summer employment program, Lucas County Empowerment Program, for low income young people from age 16-24.  The program hopes to make them more employable by checking their skills and matching them with employers, then paying them from program funds.  It's on a first-come, first served basis, and only has room for 700 people. 

If you get a spot in the program, you will be given some training in how to use Word to create a resume, training in how to research and find jobs, and other job-hunting skills, then matched up with an employer.  Jobs pay $8 an hour for 25 weeks in the summer of 2014.  Here's the application.  For more information, call 419 327 2250.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Financial Help for Headstones and Monuments for Children

In response to a question in the comments, I went looking for places that offer financial help in purchasing a headstone for an infant.  While most states legally spell out the level of government which is responsible for burying those too poor to afford their own burial, tombstones and memorials are outside the barest necessities, and not covered.  But private organizations in some localities attempt to fill this void.

In Georgia, Children's Burial Assistance will help some expenses for children's funerals in the state, and sometimes outside of it IF--and that's a big if--there are the funds.  In central Florida, the Bradley Summersill Foundation offers financial help for children's headstones.  Their contact information is:

2460 Peterson Road, Apopka, FL 32703,phone: (407) 733-1062.  The Josh Rojas Foundation works to give children in the Rochester, New York area headstones.  The Conner Kirby Infant Memorial Foundation provides help for infants in the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

For more on the program, contact the NNYCF.

On the national level, there is one organization I found that does not seem to have a geographic limit, and that's the Dempsey Burdick Memorial Foundation.  A few families per year are chosen to receive a memorial stone for their loved one.  Again, this is dependent on availability of funds.