VITA & MyFreeTaxes–make sure your clients are in the know!

VITA

“Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, is a program supported by the IRS that provides people who make roughly $54,000 or less with free assistance in preparing their own tax returns” (from the Michigan Free Tax Help site).  Michigan 2-1-1 has referral information for all the tax clinic sites across the state. To learn more and connect with a VITA Program Site, call 2-1-1 or click here.

MyFreeTaxes

MyFreeTaxes is a free online state and federal tax preparation platform. It’s easy, safe, secure and free for individuals or families with combined income of $64,000 or less. Users’ work is saved at every step, they are supported with a free helpline by calling 1-855-MY-FREE-HELP 1-855-698-9435.  Register here to become a partner promoting MyFreeTaxes for your clients.  Together we can help more hard-working Michiganders keep their Earned income Tax and other tax credits.

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Important Information for Recipients of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC)

A new federal law will delay tax refunds until February 15, 2017 for clients who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit.  Click here to download a flyer and please share this important with your clients!

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Educate your clients about MyFree Taxes!

MyFreeTaxes is a free online state and federal tax preparation platform. It’s easy, safe, secure and free for individuals or families with combined income of $64,000 or less. Users’ work is saved at every step, they are supported with a free helpline by calling 1-855-MY-FREE-HELP 1-855-698-9435.  Register here to become a partner promoting MyFreeTaxes for your clients.  Together we can help more hard-working Michiganders keep their Earned income Tax and other tax credits.

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New MI Bridges landing page will help customers apply for assistance

Customers will be able to more easily apply for food, cash and other assistance with a new MI Bridges landing page that launched Saturday, December 17th.

The new landing page replaced the current portal gateway for the MDHHS application on the internet.

The new page has been designed to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as mobile friendly. This means the page will be optimized on the screen of a mobile device, making it more readable.

Further improvements for other parts of the MI Bridges application portal are planned.

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Check out the 2017 MI Bridges Navigation Training Webinar Schedule!

MI Bridges Navigation Training Webinars will continue in 2017!  They will be held on the third Friday of every month from 10 am – 12 pm.  The next webinar is Friday, January 20. For additional dates and registration instructions, please see the Events Page.  For more information about the training content, please see the Training Page.

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MDHHS Announces Food Assistance Work Requirement Changes

Effective Jan. 1, 2017, able-bodied adults ages 18-49 without dependents in the counties of Kent, Oakland, Ottawa and Washtenaw must comply with federal time limit work requirements in order to receive food assistance benefits. Michigan has received a statewide federal waiver from these food assistance work requirements since 2002. Due to the improvements in the state’s economy, the federal government will no longer grant the waiver statewide, so it will be phased out beginning in these four counties. Able-bodied adults without dependents in those four counties have a time limit of three months of food assistance without meeting the work requirements.

To help answer any questions clients may have about this change, MDHHS developed a flyer and FAQs that Community Partners and MDHHS county offices can distribute to clients.  For additional information, here is the press release announcing the change.  Letters notifying participants of the changes were sent during the week of November 28th.

Able-bodied adults without dependents can call their MDHHS case specialist with questions or visit www.michigan.gov/FoodAssistance for more information on the work requirements, exemptions and other information.

Please share this important information with your clients!

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Remember to Refer Your Clients to the Michigan Tobacco Quitline

The Michigan Tobacco Quitline provides free telephone coaching for Michigan residents who are uninsured, pregnant, enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare, veterans, cancer patients or Native American. The Quitline also offers free nicotine replacement therapy to those who qualify.

Additional Quitline services include:

  • Free materials and online resources
  • Information about and referrals to local resources and services
  • Support for people trying to quit any form of tobacco or electronic nicotine device
  • Tips for quitting (emails or text messages)
  • Information for those concerned about a tobacco user
  • Services in English, Spanish, Arabic and other languages

Even three minutes of counseling from a health professional can increase the success rate of smoking cessation! Health professionals can refer clients to the Quitline using this referral form. Clients can reach the Quitline directly by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW, 1-800-784-8669 or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA, 1-855-335-3569. They may also visit https://michigan.quitlogix.org/ and click on Enroll Now. This link will bring up an online enrollment form. Just answer the questions, hit enroll, and a Quitline coach will call. Research shows quitters are most successful when using a combination of therapies. The Michigan Tobacco Quitline can provide the additional support smokers need to quit.

If you have questions about the Quitline, please contact Amanda Ng.

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Remind your clients to use MI 2-1-1 for their winter resource needs!

Michigan 2-1-1 connects people with information and resources to build healthy, safe communities.  Year-round, they can connect clients to any of the resources they may need to stay healthy…utility assistance, food, shelter, etc. Watch this 2 minute video to learn more.  Just remember…all they need to do is Call 2-1-1 to get connected!

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Survey Opportunity for Integrated Service Delivery Providers

United Way Worldwide and its Working Families Success Network partners are conducting a broad evaluation of Integrated Service Delivery (ISD), the goal of which is to better understand how bundling benefits, financial coaching, and workforce development impact clients’ financial stability.

If your organization supports Integrated Service Delivery, please complete and submit your contact information using this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HVXKHTS.

Organizations that elect to participate will receive the survey from Mathematica Policy Research, the independent organization conducting the evaluation.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact:

Laura Scherler

Director, Community Impact, Financial Stability & Success

United Way Worldwide

tel: +1 703.836.7112 x 274  

Laura.Scherler@UWW.UNITEDWAY.ORG

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Take a Second Look at the MBA Find Help Near You Tool!

We know that Community-Based Organizations and clients across the state use this tool to find Partners in their area.  So, we want to make sure your agency’s information is up-to-date.  Please visit the MBA Find Help Near You Tool and search for your agency by address or zip code.  If any changes need to be made to your listing, please email them to Beth St. John.  Thank you for helping us make this tool as useful as it can be!

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