Financial Wellness Partnership Update
September 2021
United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona circulates this monthly newsletter focused on financial wellness topics. In this edition, learn the latest about our recent network and focus team meetings, financial wellness resources in the community, Child Tax Credit troubleshooting tips, and more.
Updates and Research
Network Meeting Recap - August 2021
Thanks to everyone who joined us for our most recent meeting of community partners working on financial wellness! Our August Financial Wellness Partnership meeting included a great presentation from Dan McDonald from the Take Charge American Institute (TCAI) for Consumer Financial Education and Research. That segment included an overview of TCAI's financial education programs for young children, youth, emerging adults, and adults, but also dove into the research and evidence informing those initiatives. Other topics covered at the meeting included financial coaching, integrating evidence-based practices into programming, and IDA accounts.

The group also started developing a collaborative financial wellness resource list to support community partner referrals. This list includes resources related to financial coaching, income support, homeownership, and more – the types of opportunities that can help people start to stabilize after a crisis and build a cushion for the future. Feel free to take a look to learn about what is available in our community.
  • Financial Wellness Resource List: All resources listed here include a webpage (optimal for potential participants) and/or specific staff contact (optimal for community workers) for more information. If you have updates or suggestions of additional resources to add, please let the United Way team know.

  • Professional Development Opportunity: Viable Insights recently shared a strategic planning and continuous quality improvement resource that they have made free for our partners – you can access it here via the coupon code FWP21.

  • Next Meeting: Save the date for our next Financial Wellness Partnership meeting - Thursday 10/21, 1-2:30pm. All interested individuals in the community are welcome to Zoom in and join. Email Lisa Floran ([email protected]) for more information.
Focus Team Updates
Our Financial Wellness Partnership currently hosts two focus teams. The first, the Collaborative Referrals team, works on projects to make referrals and services from multiple organizations easier on participants and nonprofit staff. By improving referral processes, the group aims to help households better meet their full range of needs and achieve higher levels of financial wellness. The second group, the Public Policy team, works on educational efforts in service to financial wellness advocacy and systems change. Through these efforts, the public policy group aims to build environments where optimal financial wellness is easier for all to pursue and achieve.
Collaborative Referrals Team
In August, the Collaborative Referrals team met and recapped the NowPow/AHCCCS SDOH presentation, sharing our impressions of the pilot system. We look forward to following the rollout of this project and how we may be able to participate next year. The group spent most of our time discussing how a centralized form will fit into current referral processes. At our next meeting, we will be discussing a draft process for a common referral form.
Next meeting: Thursday 9/23 at 10am
Public Policy Team
At our early September meeting, the public policy team caught up on what we are learning and hearing about different policy ideas and programs related to financial wellness - including efforts to fund financial education, support immigrant and refugee communities, IDAs, and matched savings. We also shared preliminary findings related to our Stakeholder/Coalition list. In the next month, this group will be meeting with the United Way of Tucson and Southern AZ Director of Public Policy to discuss the organization's agenda-setting process and financial wellness issues of note.
Next meeting: Wednesday 10/13 at 1pm
All are welcome to participate with our focus teams. If you would like to get involved, email Lisa Floran: [email protected]
Advance Child Tax Credit: Missing Payments
Monthly Advance Child Tax Credits started for millions of families in July 2021. Were you, or someone you know, expecting a payment that hasn't come through? Our United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona VITA team suggests walking through the following questions as a first step:

  1. Has your 2019 or 2020 tax return been processed by the IRS? The IRS is experiencing a backlog of returns this year, especially among returns that were paper filed and/or submitted after May 15th. To check whether the IRS has a record of processing your return, use the 'Where's My Refund?' feature on the IRS website. To use this feature, be sure to have your SSN/ITIN, refund amount, and filing status available. If you need help filing your return, please contact our VITA team.
  2. Were you able to claim your children on your 2020 or 2019 tax return? Whoever claimed children on the most recent return will receive payments. If someone claimed children without your permission, there are options - contact our VITA team for more information.
  3. Has your banking information changed in the past few months? Some individuals who have switched banks or changed addresses are experiencing delays. Try checking, and possibly updating or correcting, your deposit information in the 'Update Portal' portal on the Advance Child Tax Credit webpage. Note that you will need to complete the process to use this portal.
  4. Are you using a ITIN? The IRS is working to make its portals easier for people with ITINs to use, but the features are taking some time to roll out. If someone with an ITIN is having an issue, we recommend that you reach out to a local Congressional office for assistance (Senator or U.S. Representative).

If you or someone is still having difficultly after exploring those options, feel free to contact our VITA team with more information about your situation. We have tax experts on hand and will do our best to help or offer suggestions about next steps: [email protected]

And don’t forget to file your 2021 tax return next year to claim the other half of your Child Tax Credit, worth $1500-$1800 per child!
Helpful websites and more information

  • Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021: The main IRS webpage with updates, additional links, and answers to FAQs about the CTC.
  • Manage Payments/Update Portal: Use this portal to check enrollment status and processed payments; additional features, such as the ability to edit personal information, will be added in coming months.
  • Non-Filers Tool: Individuals who did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020 but should be eligible for the credit can enter their information here.
  • Helpful overview from The White House – includes different eligibility scenarios to help people understand how the changes may affect them.
  • Free Tax Assistance Resources: Visit United Way’s VITA page for local tax assistance resources, year-round. You can also find tips around navigating missing payments here. 
Volunteer Opportunities: Financial Wellness Programs
Fall brings new sessions of financial coaching, education, and mentoring programs, and a number of United Way Financial Wellness partners are currently recruiting community volunteers. Opportunities range from leading stand-alone workshops, facilitating ongoing courses, serving as a 1:1 mentor, and more - some online and some in-person. If you are interested in offering up your skills, expertise, or time toward helping community members improve their financial standing, check out the opportunities below!
Explore financial wellness volunteer opportunities at Family Housing Resources, Interfaith Community Services, and YWCA - United Way Financial Wellness Volunteer Opportunities
Resource Corner
Woman peeks over a book in a library surrounded by books
Reading List
Resources and Opportunities

Enrollment Assister Training: Free, in-person training from the Cover AZ Coalition about AHCCCS and the Marketplace, Friday 10/15 at the Community Foundation Campus

Job Posting: Financial Wellness Project Manager, United Way of Tucson and Southern AZ

Job Posting: VITA Volunteer Engagement Manager, United Way of Tucson and Southern AZ
Additional Information

What Tenants Need to Know During COVID-19 – Robust list including rental assistance, eviction protection/moratorium, and legal assistance resources compiled by Pima County

Eviction Prevention Resources - The Tucson Pima EPP portal for rental and utility assistance is still open, working with a network of 10 nonprofits to distribute relief funds from the City of Tucson and Pima County. Tenants are encouraged to sign up for the waitlist in order to be considered.

*NEW* Pima County Housing Search - Searchable database of affordable rental housing, supported by Pima County

2-1-1 Eviction Assistance App - Answer a series of questions in approximately two minutes and receive detailed, individual, step-by-step guidance to about housing assistance and resources

AZ Eviction Help - Information about eviction processes, tenant rights, and resources for rental assistance, utility assistance, legal assistance compiled by the Arizona Bar Association

AHCCCS Vaccine Navigators - The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), in partnership with Crisis Response Network, announces a new COVID-19 appointment and transportation navigation program for Medicaid members. Now, Medicaid members who need assistance scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, as well as transportation to and from that appointment, can call 1-844-542-8201, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

Vaccine Ambassadorship Toolkit: This toolkit from TPCH provides advocate resources related to accurate vaccine education and trauma-informed discussions about the vaccines with people experiencing homelessness.

AZDHS COVID-19 Website – Latest updates, closure and re-opening announcements, and data dashboard

Who is Your Person? Resources from National Healthcare Decisions Day - National Healthcare Decisions Day is a day designed to help raise public awareness of the need to plan ahead for end-of-life healthcare decisions. The AZ End of Life Care Partnership is offering workshops with community partners all week – find a schedule and materials on their website.
The Financial Wellness Partnership seeks to improve the financial wellness of individuals and families by increasing accessibility to effective services, resources, and opportunities, and by influencing policy to
develop equitable, people-centered systems that support financial wellness.

View past newsletters and learn more about our programs here: United Way Financial Wellness

If you have questions or suggestions for future newsletters, please contact Lisa Floran, Senior Director of Financial Wellness Initiatives at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona: [email protected]