Did you know that over one-third of the U.S. population experiences short term poverty? Many Americans can be poor one month and then not the next, having a varied poverty level throughout the year. Between 2009-2012, 34.5%, over one third, of our population had at least one “spell” of poverty lasting a minimum of two months. (U.S. Census Bureau, Dynamics of Economic Well Being)
Chances are that you can relate to these numbers. If so, you or your clients might be eligible to receive an earned income tax credit (EITC). This is a tax benefit designed to help low- to moderate-income working people get ahead. Eligible workers who claim the EITC on their tax return can receive a refund even if they do not owe income tax. In addition to the EITC, you could also be eligible for the child tax credit or additional child tax credit (CTC/ACTC) or the American opportunity tax credit (AOTC).
How Do I Claim the EITC and receive up to $6,269 in Cash?
Ensure that you receive the credit you have earned and deserve by choosing the assistance that is right for you:
The Thurston Asset Building Coalition in partnership with the AARP Free Tax Prep Foundation offer free tax preparation services for low-to-moderate-income working people. The sites are staffed by trained and certified volunteers.
These volunteers, trained by the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program and certified by the IRS, ask you the needed questions to find out if you qualify for the EITC and other refundable tax credits like the Child Tax Credit. Volunteers at Tax-Aide sites, also prepare and e-file (electronically file) your tax return at no cost to you. The program welcomes taxpayers of all ages and backgrounds.
A few guidelines for who is eligible:
While the earned income tax credit is complex and varies by income, family size and your filing status, to be eligible, you must have earned income or certain disability income. This means you must have income from working for someone or working for yourself.
EITC is for workers whose income does not exceed the following limits in 2016:
** Investment income must be $3,400 or less
Don’t Miss Another Year to Claim Your Earned Income Tax Credit!
Last year in Washington state alone, there were 426,000 EITC claims, resulting in $926 million in people’s pockets, on average, $2,177 and up to $6296 per claim!
Find a FREE Tax-Prep site near you.
As of January 1, 2018, all employers in Washington State, regardless of size, must provide non-exempt employees with paid sick leave, so that they can take care of themselves or their families. This is required under Initiative 1433 passed by voters in 2016.
The Department of Labor and Industries recently released its final rules. Among other things, the rules clarify that employers may not impose caps on accrual or use of sick leave required by the law. The rules also require that employers promulgate written policies if they intend to require verification of illness, or if employees must provide advance notice of the need for leave.
If you are a small business owner and are looking for guidance in complying with the law, join us on January 26, 2018 as we discuss the new Sick Leave Law and its impact on small business owners.
“I can’t afford to buy vegetables from the farmer’s market. I live on a fixed income.” I’ve heard seniors say this more than once. I understand that paying rent, utilities, and medicine comes first. That being said, healthy food is good medicine too. People who eat more fruits and vegetables are less likely to be overweight or obese. Eating healthfully also helps prevent diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
My agency, Senior Services for South Sound (SSSS), manages eight meal sites in Mason and Thurston Counties. Each meal we serve includes a good source of protein, 2 servings of grains/cereals, 3 servings of fruits and vegetables, and a serving of milk or dairy substitute. Senior meals are available to people 60 years of age and older (55+ for Native American/Alaska Natives) for a donation regardless of income. Although income is a not a qualification for our meals, 40% of people who attend report that they live at or below the federal poverty level. This means that they are living on $990/month or less for a household of one; $1330 or less per month for a household of two. It is hard to eat well on a tight budget, but here is a list of programs that can help.
Ten ways to eat well on a budget in the South Sound!
The Thurston Asset Building Coalition is looking for an Americorps VISTA to join our team!
Position Title: Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator
Compensation: A monthly stipend of $970 paid bi-weekly, an end-of-service educational award of $5815, and other benefits. Visit Benefits of Service to learn about VISTA benefits.
Timeline: Service Year is November 21, 2017 – November 20, 2017
Location: 4220 Sixth Ave SE, Lacey, WA 98503
The VISTA member will work with the Thurston Asset Building Coalition (TABC) to conduct outreach and manage and recruit volunteers to support financial literacy and asset building services offered by TABC and its members. The VISTA member will also promote and inform social service providers and community members about existing community resources and benefits that will help people in poverty build their assets, including information health benefits, affordable housing, and job development opportunities.
The VISTA Outreach Coordinator will be responsible for volunteer recruitment, community outreach, social media outreach, event management, and other coalition capacity building activities, including:
About Dislocated Workers Quiz
Now that summer has arrived, many organizations have high hopes for filling their recruitment needs with fresh interns, but finding that perfect match can be a bit risky. Organizations can easily overlook the fact that interns are generally required to be paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), so getting help finding and working with an intern is prudent.
Take the About Dislocated Workers Quiz below and find out how you can get the intern’s stipend paid at no cost to the employer!
Quiz (mouse-over for answers):
1. What is a Dislocated Worker?
(A) Unemployed due to natural disaster
(B) Unemployed due to economic conditions
(C) Unlikely to return to a previous occupation
(D) All of the above
2. Dislocated workers provide employers with:
(A) Experienced talent
(B) Soft skills
(C) Cost effective source of labor
(D) All of the above
3. Are there internship programs that pay for the dislocated worker’s stipend near you?
4. If I hire a dislocated worker intern could I receive reimbursement for some of their salary?
“I have been out of work since December 2016, and this internship has given me back my confidence.” – Wendy Delagarza, Pipeline Internship
To learn more about how you can be matched with a great dislocated worker or other intern, and find out about the benefits to employers using the Internship Pipeline program, contact Gene Angle at the Thurston EDC soon – they have people available for this pilot program now!