February 14, 2023

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As of July 1, your medical debt may no longer hurt your credit score—here’s why

Medical debt will start falling off credit reports this summer. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’re one of the many with looming medical debts on your credit report, there’s relief on the way. The three largest credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, are removing cleared medical debts from consumers credit reports beginning July 1, 2022.

This means that if you’ve paid your medical bill in full and the debt is still sitting on your credit report as a negative mark, this negative mark will now be removed. It’s part of a larger effort by the Biden administration to decrease or eliminate medical debt as a part of government lending decisions.

For the millions of Americans that are battling an estimated $88 billion in medical debt, according to a report published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last month, it’s a big relief.

Read more at CNBC

This is an extremely important tax credit that helps

millions of hard-working people every year!

Each year, many people miss out on the credit because they don’t know about it or don’t realize they’re eligible. In particular, people who have experienced a major life change in the past year – in their job, marital status, a new child or other factors – may qualify for the first time. The IRS urges people to carefully to review this important credit; we don’t want people to miss out.

Get to Know the Earned Income Tax Credit and How it Can Help You!

Jose L. Santiago

Public Affairs Specialist

Tax Outreach, Partnership and Education

Communities struggling with banking access give banks on wheels a spin

Some regional banks are testing out branches on wheels to bring financial services to areas with limited access to brick-and-mortar banks.

Banking deserts have made financial access worse in Black communities where individuals are statistically the most unbanked and underbanked in the U.S.

“A physical branch is the solution. The mobile branch is a temporary thing,” said a spokesperson for a New York bank on wheels.

NEW YORK – Parked on the curb of West Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, amid a chain of sedans and minivans, there is sometimes a bank on wheels.

The Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, a nonprofit that provides banking services to New York’s financially underserved neighborhoods, launched its mobile branch in a refurbished school bus in 2014 following the devastation of superstorm Sandy, which forced the closure of its brick-and-mortar branch. It has since upgraded to a specially designed Mercedes-Benz van that serves New York’s Lower East Side, East Harlem, the Bronx and Staten Island, partnering with community groups in the boroughs.

Read more at CNBC

Incentives for Those on Probation Can Improve Outcomes and Rein in Costs: PEW

Interviews support case for evidence-based policy reforms such as credits for abiding by supervision rules

Originally created as a way to provide a less punitive and more constructive alternative to incarceration, probation has become increasingly focused on punishing people’s setbacks, not promoting their successes. As justice systems struggle to balance monitoring and public safety with treatment and support, populations under supervision remain considerably large. Ironically, this reality has turned probation into a primary driver of incarceration.

From the perspective of people who have been supervised under probation or parole, many of the practices meant to support stability and prevent recidivism often do neither and can actually hinder individual progress.

To find out more about how this emphasis on enforcement has affected people’s paths through probation,

Read more at The PEW Charitable Trusts

Food Stamps Survey Reveals Americans Are Torn on SNAP Eligibility Requirements — What Are They Currently?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously called food stamps, is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program. According to a new YouGov poll of 1,000 Americans regarding eight entitlement programs, there is a divide on whether or not SNAP eligibility requirements should be stricter (29%), less strict (27%) or remain the same (29%).

While two-thirds of Americans have a favorable view of SNAP (67%), it’s more significantly popular among people and families who receive benefits (86%). When it comes to the program’s funding, the YouGov poll revealed that 40% of Americans believe that SNAP should receive additional resources.

SNAP was also more favorable among Democrats (78%) than it was among Republicans (67%) and Independents (59%). Additionally, Democrats (55%) are more than twice as likely as Republicans (27%) to support increased SNAP financing.

Read more at GOBankingRates

Dreher Tomkies LLP

Virginia state lawmakers consider regulations for payday lending apps

Opponents of payday lending are worried about a bill making its way through the House of Delegates.

Getting quick cash based on hours you've already worked. There's an app for that, and now the emergence of this new financial technology product is leading lawmakers here in Richmond to start thinking about state regulations for this growing market.

Republican Delegate Amanda Batten from James City County has a bill creating new fin-tech regulations.

"The employee could use this service to access the wages they earned but not yet been paid during the current pay cycle," Batten says. "So, this is not a loan. These are wages that have already, in fact, been earned."

The idea that earned wage access is not a loan is a view not everybody shares. Dana Wiggins at the Virginia Poverty Law Center says she's worried about people getting caught in a debt trap.

Read more at Virginia Public Radio


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Retirement Savings: The Majority of Americans Think $500K Is Enough — Are They Wrong?

It’s long been a rule of thumb that you should have $1 million saved for retirement, but most Americans today don’t think you actually need that much. A recent GOBankingRates survey found that the majority of Americans (38%) believe that you need $500,000 or less to retire. Thirty percent believe you can retire with between $500,000 and $1 million, and just 14% believe you need between $1 million and $5 million to fund a comfortable retirement.

How To Determine How Much You Need To Retire

Many financial experts caution against choosing your goal retirement amount based on any general rules of thumb. Instead, they recommend calculating your goal based on your own individual circumstances.

“How much you need to retire is a math equation based upon your expenses, the age you retire at, how long you will live and investing assumptions,” said Jay Zigmont, Ph.D., CFP, founder of Childfree Wealth. “Each person has their own number and what they are willing to give up in retirement (or not).”

Read more at GOBankingRates

Why Banking Is a Financial Need

How often do we stop and think about “why” we bank? Why do we bank with financial institutions? What purpose do they play in our lives? Banking is a vital aspect in the financial livelihood of everyone, from individuals to small-business owners.

We can learn a lot about financial literacy through our relationship with banks and pass this knowledge down to the next generation as well as spread it throughout our respective communities and to underserved populations. Here’s what makes banking is an important part of your life.

Banking Keeps Money Secure

When we think about our financial wellness, we consider the parts that make up the bigger picture and allow us to feel peace of mind. Some key aspects include staying out of debt, tracking and balancing expenses using a budget and saving money.

Read more at GOBankingRates

$500 a Month, No Strings: Chicago Experiments With a Guaranteed Income

CHICAGO — Christopher Ellington’s South Side photography studio crashed in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic. By March 2021, he was scraping by on a tax preparation and financial advice business when gunshots rang out one day as he was leaving work. Two bullets from a drive-by shooter pierced his head and left him permanently blind.

The creditors were closing in, the rent notices piling up. And then a helping hand came late last summer from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration: the first of a year’s worth of monthly $500 checks, with no strings attached and almost no questions asked.

“Talk about shock,” said Ellington, 32. “It was ‘Hey, the government is doing this? Wait a minute. I don’t have to, you know, report this and report that, and you don’t have to go through all of my business and I don’t have to watch what I say?’ I was like, ‘This is how it should be.’”

Read more at YAHOO FINANCE

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