Monday, January 19, 2015

Now's the Time for Free Tax Preparation

The new tax season is the time for tax prep, and for low and moderate income taxpayers, free tax preparation is available. Finding out where is as easy as dialing 1-800-906-9887, or seeing this website and putting in your zip code. They are best able to tell you if you are due an earned income credit (or working, low income people), or how the new health care law affects your return.

This site has a list of what to bring so that your preparer can work on the forms. And while you won't get an instant tax refund, you won't lose a chunk of it to the preparer, like you will if your taxes
are prepared at an "instant tax return" place. Check out this video that explains the trouble of these instant return places--you lose a piece of your returns before you even get it.

In the Toledo area, getting an appointment with a tax preparer is as easy as dialing 211. If you have a household income of less than $53,000 give them a call.



Friday, January 9, 2015

Still Bonuses Available for Ohio Veterans of Afghanistan

While the deadline has passed for Ohio veterans to apply for a bonus for service in Iraq, veterans of the conflict of Afghanistan are still eligible to apply for a bonus. The president has only declared an end to hostilities in that country recently, and a deadline for veterans in that country has not yet been announced. So check the website, or call 1-877-644-6838.

If you have filed for a bonus as a veteran of Iraq, you need all your documentation ready and submitted by June 30

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cheaper Water for the Elderly Poor in Tttoledo, and More Water News

Water and its cost is converging in the news. In December, the Toledo City Council passed a law to increase the water price deduction for low income, 65 or over or permanently disabled Toledoans. The deduction for elderly or disabled Toledoans is 25%, but for low income people in those groups, the deduction will be increased to 40%. Contact the Lucas County Utility Department for more information.

Meanwhile, the brains behind the Detroit Water Project, which matches Detroiters in danger of having their water shut off with donors, is still in business and is reaching out to nonprofit groups in the city to find more Detroiters that need help. They are also considering spreading their work to other cities, so stay tuned. In an email, they said that they have come to believe that it's not just a Detroit issue, but a national one.

Speaking of such, New Jersey governor Chris Christie has a bill on this desk which makes it easier for cities to sell their water utilities to private firms, bypassing the former requirement that voters must directly vote on it. What could possibly go wrong? Stay tuned.

If you live anywhere else and need help, consult you 211 service in your home town, and look under "water service payment assistance."

Friday, December 26, 2014

Legit Flexible Work Opportunities, for At Home Work, and Opportunities for Veterans

Everybody seems to look for legitimate work at home opportunities. Flexjobs created a list of the top 100 top flex time and at home employers. Of these is Xerox, which now has a program of at home work for veterans and the spouses of service members. The Heroes @Home program aims to provide home employment for veterans and military spouses.

In the meantime, look out for the scams. Here are some clues.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Older Adult Job Training In the Toledo Area

I had written awhile back about Owens College's grant to help train older unemployed people for reemployment. When I did a commentator noted that those programs  often take the form of  training for low wage jobs. Indeed, the program announced recently seems to somewhat bear that out. According to the Blade, Owens will provide free training in the fields of substitute teaching, clerical work and special education aide, with successful program graduates getting an interview with Renhill Group Staffing. For more information, call Gary Corrigan at 419-254-2863.

 A colleague of mine who had to pay towards the training she needed for her teaching certificate out of her own pocket said she would have found this a godsend, so your mileage may vary. In any case, it's mostly better paying than minimum wage. But it does demonstrate that "free money" and "free programs" are not free-form--they come with lots of conditions.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Refrigerators for People With Old Energy Suckers in Detrot and Some Other Places

Thanks to Julie's List we find this gem: the nonprofit CLEARcorp in Detroit is making it possible for DTE electrical customers within the income guidelines who have pre-2001 fridges to get new energy-efficient Frigidaire refrigerators.  See the website for details and an application. And how do you know if your fridge is that old? See the website appliance411.com to learn how to find the age of your refrigerator. Also available for a short time in Washtenaw County, Michigan.

Users of Puget Sound Energy may qualify for a free fridge or a free washer, if their current appliances are old enough. See their website for details. Pacify Gas and Electric make a brief mention on their website, bit I can't determine if this program is currently available thought them for their customers. These programs may be in place, and then fade when the sponsor runs out of grant money or appliances.

The best way to find out what's available in your area is through these liheap program snapshots in your state. It can help you identify likely sources of he to contact.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Free Thanksgiving Meal Sites for 2014--Northwest Ohio

The free sites for Thanksgiving meals in Toledo, Ohio and some other northwest Ohio cities are available, courtesy of the Toledo Diocese.  For sites in other places, find your 211 area (much of the country is covered by 211) and check under the heading "Thanksgiving Meals," under "community meals."  In Toledo, for instance, it will get you this.  And the Toledo Blade has more sites. And more Toledo sites.