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Did FEMA turn you down for not proving you own your home? FEMA can still help you even if you do not have official papers to show that you own your home, or have paperwork to prove you were living in your home near the time of the disaster.
If you do not have these papers, there are steps you can take to work with FEMA.
You can write something called “a Self-Declarative Statement.” It swears that you own the property. It explains why you do not have the paperwork FEMA asked for to show that you own your home. It must say that you are saying everything in it “under the penalty of perjury.” The words “under penalty of perjury” make it a crime for you to lie in the statement.
The Self-Declarative statement must include these things:
The following is a sample Self-Declarative Statement. It has places to check off items or fill in information for your situation:
“I have made a good faith effort, in coordination with FEMA, to obtain and provide a copy of acceptable ownership documentation. I do meet FEMA’s definition of an owner-occupant because I: [initial all that apply]
____ am the legal owner of the home,
____ pay no rent but am responsible for the payment of taxes or maintenance for the home, or
____ have a lifetime right to live in the home under a will or inheritance or ________.
I was unable to obtain this documentation because:
[provide an explanation of why other documents listed above were not available].
I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”
[sign your name and the date]
If the property was inherited, instead of the three options to check off above, include, if true:
“As the nearest relative of the deceased in the line of succession, my ownership includes all the rights and obligations of the deceased. The decedent’s name is ______, who died on _______. I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”
[Sign your name and the date]
If the property was inherited and you are not the nearest relative, include a similar substitute paragraph explaining how you came to inherit the property.
Include a signed statement from the commercial or mobile home park owner if you can.
FEMA’s policy document about this is posted at https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_iappg-policy-amendments-memo.pdf
FEMA’s own staff often forget about this 2021 policy change.
If you are attempting to establish that the property was your home at the time of the disaster (occupancy), not ownership, your statement should be something like this:
I have made a good faith effort, in coordination with FEMA, to obtain and provide a copy of acceptable occupancy documentation. I was unable to obtain this documentation [provide an explanation of why you could not get documents FEMA requests or how the documents you could get did not meet FEMA’s requirements].
I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
[Sign your name and the date]
Someone experienced in dealing with FEMA can help. If you went through Hurricane Ida, you might be able to get free legal help from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services.
To see if you qualify for free legal aid from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, call our Disaster Legal Services Hotline at: 1-800-310-7029, or apply at our website www.slls.org/get-help/client-services.
Everyone getting SNAP will get lower payments starting March 1, 2023. Keep reading to find out what to do to make sure you get everything you should.
Most households will lose at least $95.00 per month. Your household may lose less or more than $95.00 in March.
Many elderly people on Social Security will remember getting only $20 in SNAP before the pandemic. Most of these people will return to getting only $20, unless they can claim new expenses, mentioned below.
Most other people will get a little more than what they got in 2019 unless they have or can report changes to the agency.
Make sure DCFS has up to date information about your income and bills. During the COVID emergency, DCFS may have given you extra SNAP without getting all of the paperwork and information it usually needs.
Act now to give DCFS the right information about your income and expenses. This can help make sure you get the right amount of SNAP in the future. Do not wait. DCFS may be busy and hard to reach once SNAP lowers in March 2023.
The items listed below can make your SNAP amount go up or down. The list says what information DCFS may need for each item:
There are websites that can help you figure out how much your SNAP amount should be. Use only trustworthy sites. Here is a site you can use: http://www.nolafoodpolicy.org/snapcalculator.
Come back to this blog post later for how to check what information DCFS already has for your household.
You can send documents through DCFS’ online LA CAFÉ system. You can use this online system at this website: https://sspweb.ie.dcfs.la.gov/selfservice/selfserviceJSPController?id=0.1772418717047336&tab=1.
The site will ask you to log into your LA CAFÉ account. If you do not have an LA CAFÉ account, you will need to set one up. You will need to create an LA CAFÉ profile and link your SNAP case. Once you log into LA CAFÉ, the site will show you how to upload your paperwork for DCFS.
You can also send your paperwork to DCFS by mail, fax, or by visiting any DCFS office in person. Keep copies of any paperwork you send to DCFS!
DCFS’ mailing address is:
Department of Children and Family Services ES
Document Processing Center
P.O. Box 260031
Baton Rouge, LA 70826
DCFS’ fax number is 225-663-3164.
Be sure to include your Case ID number or Social Security Number (SSN) on every page so DCFS can match your paperwork to your case.
Did you live in Bayou Towers before Hurricane Ida?
Do you have things you still need to get from your unit?
Have you been told you cannot enter?
If so, we may be able to help arrange access to remove your belongings. Southeast Louisiana Legal Services is a nonprofit law firm looking to help disaster survivors. Call our Disaster Legal Services Hotline to see if you can get free legal help from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services:
Or apply online here.
We also help with:
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) seeks the services of a consultant to assist in determining SLLS’s eligibility for the CARES Act Employee Retention Credit (ERC) and to assist in making an application if SLLS is determined to be eligible inclusive of a tax opinion regarding our eligibility.
SLLS provides free legal assistance to indigent and other vulnerable people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. We protect their livelihoods, health, housing and families. Through legal representation, we are able to assure fairness for our clients as they navigate through the civil justice system. SLLS works to combat the inequities and disproportionate impacts faced by marginalized communities of color. We are the largest nonprofit civil legal services provider in Louisiana serving 50% of the state’s poverty population in twenty-two parishes across southeast Louisiana. Pre-pandemic, Louisiana had the third highest poverty rate in the United States, the second highest rate of women killed by their intimate partner, the highest rate of mass incarceration in the world disproportionately impacting marginalized communities, was consistently noted as one of the unhealthiest states, and had the second highest rate of food insecure seniors. We have been struck by ten presidentially declared natural disasters since 2005’s catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, and the people we serve have been particularly hard-hit by the impact of COVID-19 due to our economic reliance on the hospitality and oil and gas industries and Hurricane Ida.
Pre-pandemic, SLLS had about 100 team members on staff. We now have about 165 staff working from seven offices, staff embedded onsite with other partners such as hospitals, medical clinics, homeless shelters, domestic violence victim service centers, community colleges, and robust pro bono partnerships. We have almost 100 different funding sources though LSC funding is about 45% of our budget with another almost 30% from the Louisiana Bar Foundation.
SLLS seeks a consultant to determine the eligibility of the organization to receive the CARES Act Employee Retention Credit (ERC). Should SLLS be eligible for this payroll tax credit, the selected consultant would then do all necessary work in order to complete and submit the ERC claim. A tax opinion to support our eligibility for the ERC is also required.
SLLS seeks a consultant to conduct an evaluation of SLLS’ payroll and other internal documents spanning from March 13, 2020 to September 30, 2021 for the purpose of determining our eligibility for the CARES Act ERC. SLLS’ 941 Payroll records and other finance records are easily accessible through our online database for the specified time period. This data will be made available to the consultant upon selection. Should SLLS be eligible for the ERC, the consultant will proceed to apply and submit our tax credit claim with the support from the SLLS team as required. Additionally, SLLS requests that the selected consultant also deliver a tax opinion regarding our ERC eligibility to protect the agency.
SLLS seeks proposals in this matter that does not exceed five pages inclusive of three references. We request that all proposals include information on the applicable experience of the potential consultant especially in ERC consultation work for comparable non-profit organizations. We request a cost estimate for services with the preferable compensation for a deferred payment structure. As it may take up to 10 months for IRS approval and execution of any ERC payments, we request that all proposals offer an estimated timeline that would allow SLLS to receive the ERC by the end of 2023. Finally, SLLS requests that all candidates are prepared to provide a proposed contract for this project
Questions about this RFP may be directed to Laura Tuggle, SLLS Executive Director, at (504) 529-1000 ext. 270 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Proposals are due on or before 1/28/2023. Delivery of proposals should be made electronically to Laura Tuggle at email@example.com with “SLLS Employee Retention Credit Proposal” in the subject line, pdf preferred. If you have large file size items, please provide a file sharing link with instructions for accessing the proposed materials.
SLLS may elect to schedule a conference call with potential consultants prior to awarding a final contract. Please include contact information for scheduling purposes in the RFP.
Proposals will be evaluated upon the contractor’s responsiveness to the RFP, qualifications, demonstrated experience with similar projects, and total price quoted for all items covered by the RFP. Award of the contract resulting from the RFP will be based upon the most responsive contract that is most advantageous to SLLS in terms of cost, functionality, experience, and quality of past work.
SLLS ideally seeks a firm that understands its needs as a nonprofit and legal services organization and is invested in our missions of achieving justice and social change by fighting poverty.
SLLS reserves the right to accept or reject any and all proposals and to waive any minor discrepancies or technicalities in the proposal or specifications, when deemed to be in the best interest of SLLS. We also reserve the right to negotiate with all respondents to the RFP and reject any or all offers and discontinue this RFP process without obligation or liability to any respondent.
SLLS will not pay any costs associate with preparing proposals in response to this RFP.
You have rights when you buy a used car, truck, or other vehicle. The text below uses the word used “car,” but many of your rights apply to purchasing used trucks or other vehicles.
Know your rights when buying from a dealer or a private person. Some rules apply only to dealers.
Take steps to protect yourself and do your homework before you buy! Test, inspect and check the history of the car.
Get the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the used car you want to buy.
Keep the VIN in a safe place.
You can use the VIN to find out about the used car you want to buy.
Take the car on a test drive. Drive the car on hills, highways, and in stop-and-go traffic.
Examine the used car you want to buy. Use an inspection checklist when going over a used car inside and out.
You can find used car inspection checklists in magazines, books, and trustworthy websites dealing with used cars.
You might want to hire a mechanic to inspect the car. You will need to pay to have a mechanic inspect the used car.
Get the car’s maintenance and repair records. You can ask for maintenance or repair records from the owner, the dealer, or the repair shop.
Check out reviews of the car’s history. Use only reliable websites or trustworthy databases.
Below is a government website that can tell you more about the used car you want to buy and the legal title for the car.
The federal government uses a “recall” to tell the public about car safety problems.
Find out before you buy if there is a recall on the car you want. You can use the VIN to find out if the car has a recall.
You can ask the dealer if the car has a recall. If there is a recall on the used car you want, you can find out if it was fixed. Do not rely on what the dealer says; use the car’s VIN to check for recalls yourself.
Enter the VIN on this website: https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls. You can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
If there is a recall, ask the dealer to fix it or give you proof that the safety problem covered by the recall was fixed. Federal law does not require dealers to fix recalls on used cars. That means you might need to fix the recall issue yourself.
If you buy the car, fix a problem listed in a recall immediately. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that all safety recalls pose safety risks. Unfixed recall issues might cause accidents.
Usually, a dealership that sells new cars for the make or brand you want to buy will fix a recall issue for free. This is another thing to check before you buy.
Before you buy or put money down, find out what the car is worth. Only talk about the price once you have an idea of a fair price for that car.
There are free websites with pricing information for used cars. Here are some examples of sites with used car prices:
The cost of owning a used car includes repairs and regular maintenance. Use trustworthy websites to find out how reliable the make and model of the used car might be.
Some sites can tell you what repair problems happen with the type of car you want.
You can use the VIN to get this information and search online for companies that sell vehicle history reports. If the report isn’t recent or it seems that things are missing or untrue, the information may not be complete. You may want to get a second report from a different reporting company. Some dealer websites have links to free reports.
The Federal Trade Commission, or “FTC,” is a government agency with rules about car sales, including used car sales. One rule says dealers must post a Buyer’s Guide on every car for sale.
The Buyer’s Guide is important and must tell you these things:
When you buy a used car from a dealer, get the original Buyer’s Guide that was posted on the car. If you can’t get the original buyer’s guide, get a copy of the original Buyer’s Guide.
The Buyer’s Guide must tell you if there are any negotiated changes in warranty coverage. Negotiated means worked out between the buyer and seller. The Buyer’s Guide becomes part of your sales contract.
The Buyer’s Guide controls if there is a different term in the sales contract. Watch out for language about Warranties. If the Buyer’s Guide says the car comes with a warranty and the contract says the car is sold “as is,” the dealer must give you the warranty described in the Buyer’s Guide.
Louisiana law does not give buyers the same rights as they may have in another state.
For Example: In Louisiana, car dealers are not required to give used car buyers a three-day right to cancel. Before you buy from a dealer, ask about the dealer’s return policy. Get the return policy in writing. Read it carefully. You do not have any automatic right to cancel the sale at all.
You only have a right to return the car in a few days for a refund if the dealer gives you this right. Dealers may describe the right to cancel as a “cooling-off” period, a money-back guarantee, or a “no questions asked” return policy.
Ask about and read the dealer’s return policy before you put any money down or buy the car. Get the return policy in writing. Read it carefully.
In Louisiana, the sale is not “as is” unless the Buyer’s Guide says so. A dealer must check the box next to “As Is – No Warranty” on the Buyer’s Guide to sell a car “as is.”
What if the dealer says it will repair a car sold “As is – No Warranty”? Do not rely on what the dealer says. Get any promise about repairs to a car sold “as is” added in writing as part of the Buyer’s Guide. If you don’t get the dealer’s promise in writing in the Buyer’s Guide, forcing the dealer to keep its word can be tough.
If you have a written warranty that doesn’t cover your problems, you might be covered by an “implied warranty.”
When a dealer sells a car with a written warranty or service contract, implied warranties are included automatically. There are some exceptions to this rule listed below.
Louisiana law says that cars sold by dealers must meet reasonable quality standards. This is called an implied warranty. An implied warranty is an unspoken, unwritten promise from the seller to the buyer.
Warning: dealers can add terms to the sale to undo the implied warranty. Dealers can write a notice with the words “as is” or “with all faults” to undo the implied warranty.
There is no set time limit to act on an implied warranty. There is more than one kind of Implied Warranty.
The most common type of implied warranty is called a “warranty of merchantability.” This kind of warranty means the seller promises that the car will do what it’s supposed to do.
For example, a warranty that the car will run. The Warranty of Merchantability covers basic things a car is supposed to do but does not cover everything that could go wrong with the car. Breakdowns and other problems after you buy do not prove the seller violated the warranty of merchantability.
The buyer must show that the problem was already there at the time of the sale. A problem after the sale might not be because of a defect at the time of sale.
A ''warranty of fitness for a particular purpose” covers a sale based on the dealer’s advice that the car is fit for a particular use.
For Example, the dealer suggests you buy a specific car to haul a trailer. That means the dealer promises that the car can haul a trailer.
Any limit on an implied warranty’s time limit must be included in the written warranty.
Dealers may offer a full or limited warranty on all or some of a car’s systems or parts. Most used car warranties are limited. What a limited warranty covers varies.
A full (not limited) warranty includes the following terms and conditions:
If any of the things listed above are missing or excluded, the warranty is limited. A full or limited warranty doesn’t have to cover the entire car. The dealer may say that only certain things about the car are covered.
Some parts or systems may be covered by a full warranty. Other things about the car may have only a limited warranty. The dealer must check the appropriate box on the Buyers Guide to show if the warranty is full or limited. Look for this information in the Buyer’s Guide.
The dealer must include the following information in the “Warranty” section of the Buyer’s Guide:
You have the right to see a copy of the dealer’s warranty before you buy. Review the dealer’s warranty carefully to find out what is covered. Things to look for:
You can contact the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) in your area to see if they can help you solve the problem. In the Greater New Orleans area, the BBB number is 504-581-6222.
The Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission “LUMVC” is responsible for licensing and regulating independent used car dealers. The LUMVC also investigates complaints about used motor vehicle sales, auctions, crushers, automotive dismantlers, rent with the option to purchase, daily rentals, and used parts and accessories.
The LUMVC only covers dealerships. The LUMVC does not cover sales between individuals.
You can call the office at 800-256-2977. Or you can fill out a complaint form found at: https://lumvc.louisiana.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Consumer-Complaint-Process.pdf.
The top of this form has information on where to send it to. Or you can file a LUMVC complaint online at: https://lumvc.louisiana.gov/complaint-form/.
Yes, you can sue. If you paid $5,000 or less for the car, you could sue the seller in Small Claims Court. For most parishes, Small Claims Court is in the Justice of the Peace Court.
For more information about Small Claims Court, check here: https://lasc.libguides.com/c.php?g=583267&p=4027476.
In Orleans Parish, Small Claims Court is in First Parish Court.
If you live in Algiers, Orleans Parish Small Claims Court is in Second Parish Court. Learn more here: https://www.orleanscivildistrictcourt.org/first-city-court-clerk
Learn more about buying a used car on this site from the State of Louisiana: https://lumvc.louisiana.gov/facts-for-consumers-about-buying-a-used-car/
Below are our Top Ten Significant Achievements of 2022, made possible by your support and dedication to justice for all. Thank you for being part of our team! We hope we can continue to count on you in the fight for fairness.
Remember, you have until midnight on December 31st to make your 2022 year-end gift. You can donate now at www.slls.org/donations.
As of early December, 29,007 people received free civil legal aid from SLLS, resulting in almost $32 million of direct economic benefits thanks to the tireless efforts of our staff and the generous backing from our devoted team of donors, funders, and volunteers.
SLLS was awarded an almost $6.5 million Disaster Legal Services grant from the Legal Services Corporation to enable us to provide disaster legal services to families still trying to rebuild their lives and to improve our resiliency over the next three years.
SLLS, in partnership with the Louisiana State Bar Association Access to Justice Department, convened Louisiana’s inaugural Disaster Law Collaboration Summit. Over 200 public interest lawyers, emergency responders, disaster case managers, faith-based partners, librarians, and other community stakeholders attended the event.
SLLS was awarded $2 million from the City of New Orleans to sustain our innovative and award-winning Right to Counsel Program. This project has provided critical legal help to over 1,600 households composed of over 3,400 people. The White House highlighted it in its first-ever Eviction Reform Summit with remarks from visionary leader First City Court Chief Judge Veronica Henry.
We launched new projects in collaboration with community partners, including our Baton Rouge City Court Eviction Desk, new Heir Property Projects teamed up with Southern University Law Center and Louisiana Appleseed, and increased our capacity to serve vulnerable veterans in greater New Orleans and the Northshore.
SLLS team members received numerous awards in 2022 for their dedication to our mission, including the National Housing Law Project’s Housing Justice Award, the Capital Area United Way ALICE Award, the New Orleans Bar Association’s Mark A. Moreau Award, and a Louisiana State Bar Association Children’s Law Award.
SLLS returned to hosting our in-person fundraiser, the “Bar Exam,” and had our most successful event to date with strong support from the legal community.
SLLS and the Louisiana Budget Project both independently raised the difficulties clients faced with the state food stamp agency when SNAP renewals came due. The agency had stopped including paper renewal forms with its notices, instead seeking to have recipients submit renewal updates online. Clients without internet access had to call to either report information or request paper forms with an hour or longer wait time. This often caused people not to renew timely and to lose assistance. The agency responded to SLLS by agreeing to resume sending paper renewal forms out to recipients at the end of their eligibility periods. This returns the mail-in option to about 400,000 households and will help protect the most vulnerable from losing food stamp assistance.
Last year, SLLS intervened in the foreclosure of six properties with over 500 units of New Orleans’ most infamous slumlord, Joshua Bruno. We represented individual tenants and a group client, the New Orleans Renters Rights Assembly, in trying to improve the living conditions for tenants at the properties. To try to get out of the obligations we were raising, Bruno filed a Chapter 11 business bankruptcy in 2022. Business bankruptcies are beyond our experience. With the aid of pro bono counsel, SLLS followed him into bankruptcy court. SLLS clients and other creditors moved for the appointment of a Trustee to take over managing the properties during the bankruptcy. After a four-day trial, the Judge ruled that a Trustee be appointed to take over the properties. In re Westbank Holdings, LLC, No. 22-10082, 2022 Bankr. LEXIS 2109 (Bankr. E.D. La. Aug. 1, 2022). With our advocacy, the City also arranged relocation assistance and deposits for tenants of one of the developments. SLLS now seeks to go beyond the management change towards permanent redevelopment as safe, affordable housing. SLLS is also working to see that tenants who are unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy will get some compensation for their claims.
In response to a Councilmember request, SLLS provided information and comments to councilmembers on the New Orleans Healthy Homes ordinance during the drafting and amendment process. The ordinance passed on November 3, 2022, and will go into effect on July 1, 2023. Though lacking in many protections, there is an anti-retaliatory protection against eviction for tenants who make reports and then face eviction. We will be engaging in more advocacy on this right in 2023.
Whether the law calls your mobile home moveable or immovable can affects your finances. This is because it can affect your ability to get loans and affects your property taxes. You may be able to switch the legal label for your mobile home from “moveable” to “immoveable, ” through something called an “Act of Immobilization.” Learn more about the Act of Immobilization document at this link: Act of Immobilization.
After recordation, the owner, or the owner’s agent, must file a certified copy with the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, who creates an Internet-accessible searchable database providing a public record.
You must also submit other required documents to the OMV. Find out more here on the site of the Louisiana OMV: Mobile Home Immobilization.
Louisiana classifies property as either immovable or movable.
Mobile homes are called movable property unless the mobile home is immobilized.
Immobilizing means the home is made a part of the land, both physically and legally. If made immovable, it is legally treated like land and other buildings on the land.
A mobile home is not immobilized if the land and the home are owned by different people. (If the mobile home is owned, but the land is leased, the mobile home is considered moveable under the law and is treated like cars and boats.)
A mobile home is not immobilized if it is not permanently attached to the land, it can usually be made an immovable property.
A mobile home is not immobilized unless an Act of Immobilization has been notarized and officially recorded.
If you do not know if an Affidavit of Immobilization has been done and filed you can search the parish land records, the Louisiana OMV database, and also.
The parish Clerk of Court’s office can tell you where to check for an “Act of Immobilization.” If you find an Act of Immobilization recorded with the conveyance or mortgage records, then your mobile home is labeled immovable unless there is also an “Act to De-Immobilize a Manufactured Home” there.
That should mean your mobile home is classified as moveable.
You can sign something called an Act of Immobilization to have your mobile home labeled as “immovable” under the law.
Warning: If you sign this you are swearing that the mobile home will remain permanently attached to the land listed in it.
If you want to move your immovable mobile home, you need to change it from immovable to moveable. There are steps you can take.
Not enough money to repair your Home after Hurricane Ida?
No help from RESTORE Louisiana?
Not enough money from FEMA?
Did RESTORE say your home wasn’t damaged enough?
Did you take the online survey? Were you told “your home does not meet the level of damage required for program assistance?”
If so, you may still be able to get help from RESTORE Louisiana
To get help from RESTORE LA, you had to apply for help from FEMA after Hurricane Ida, and:
If you fall into any of these categories but Restore Louisiana says you don’t qualify, SLLS may be able to help.
If FEMA did not give you enough money, and you still need help fixing your home, SLLS may be able to help.
Call our Disaster Legal Services Hotline to see if you can get free legal help from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services: 1-800-310-7029, or apply online here.
Anyone can sign up from November 1, 2022, to January 15, 2023.There will be a similar sign-up period each year.
People with income under 150% of the poverty level can apply at any time. A chart below gives the 150% poverty levels.
Anyone can sign up for or change these health plans for 60 days after some big changes in your life. These are things like:
As set out with the income charts below, different help is available depending on your income.
No one gets excluded for having a pre-existing health problem.
You may qualify now even if you could not before. Changes in 2021 and 2022 give more people low-cost health insurance.
But you cannot get this help if:
The income figures below will be used for eligibility for 2023.
Persons with annual income under these amounts cannot get the special help with health insurance costs.
|Number of People in Your tax household||Annual (Yearly) Household Income|
|For each additional prson, add||$4,720|
For incomes below this you can apply any time. People with incomes below this can pick a Silver Plan and have no monthly premiums. With the Silver plan they get help for copays and deductibles, too.
|Number of People in Your tax Household||Annual (Yearly) Household Income||Monthly Average|
|For each additional person, add||$7,080||$590|
For incomes below this, premiums are reduced, and with a Silver plan copays and costs when getting care are kept very low
Like other health insurance, you only pay part of your medical costs when you get health care or prescriptions. If your income is under 250% of the Federal Poverty line and you sign up for a “Silver Plan,” the costs you pay when you go to the doctor go way down. This only applies to Silver plans.
This can make silver plans better than the other plans (bronze, gold, or platinum) for people with income under 250% of poverty. Even if a Bronze plan may have lower monthly premium, a Silver plan may be less expensive for people under these incomes who use their insurance.
Read more about this special help for Silver plans here.
|Number of People in Your Tax Household||250% Annual Income limit||Monthly Average|
|For each additional person, add||$4,720||$983|
For incomes below this, premiums are reduced, so your health insurance costs less each month
400% of poverty is $54,360 for a single person, $73,240 for a couple. It is about $111,000 a year for a family of 4. and even higher for larger families.
A chart that includes the 400% income amounts is here.
Above those limits, you can still get a very high deductible policy if your health costs are over 8.17% of your income. This is called a Catastrophic policy.
Starting December 12, 2022, there is new help for people with jobs, whose health insurance costs too much.
Check to see if health insurance though your job costs more than 9.12% of your household income. If it does, you are allowed to apply even though you could get insurance through your job. This insurance may cost less than through your job.
See if adding a spouse and children makes health insurance through your job cost more than 9.12% of your household’s income. If it does, then the dependents can get help with health insurance costs through the federal Marketplace.
For more about this see https://www.healthreformbeyondthebasics.org/rule-eliminates-family-glitch
There are two options for signing up on your own:
Visit www.healthcare.gov or Call 1-800-318-2596
Go to this site to find someone who is not selling something, who will help you find a plan: https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/
You will need to agree to file federal income taxes for the years you receive the insurance.
You can get an idea of what a plan will cost you before you apply or sign up.
People with income under 150% of the poverty level can apply at any time. For everyone else, there are important deadlines. Do not miss the deadline.
Anyone can sign up from November 1, 2022, to January 15, 2023. If you sign up before December 15, your insurance can start January 1. If you sign up between December 15 and January 15, the insurance starts February 1.
You may be able to sign up earlier if you had some big events in your life. Anyone can sign up within 60 days of any of these events:
Coverage will usually start the next month
For more information about applying outside the usual November to January 15 times see https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage-outside-open-enrollment/special-enrollment-period/
No. Health insurance will not cover a bill from before your coverage starts. Coverage never starts before the first of the month after you apply. Sometimes the delay is longer. For bills you already owe consider applying for Medicaid. Medicaid can cover bills up to 3 months before you apply.
People under age 65 with monthly income under 138% of the poverty line usually qualify for Medicaid. People in some other groups with higher and lower incomes who live in Louisiana can also get Medicaid.
This chart shows 138% of the poverty line for monthly income for different household sizes.
|Number of People in Your Household||138% Monthly Income|
|For each additional person, add||$542.80|
The health insurance program counts your expected income for the calendar year. You are eligible based on what your income will probably be for the year, even if your income is higher or lower when you apply.Total income for the year is what counts
To help make quick application decisions and reviews, IRS income tax data is used. So income tax rules apply to many parts of the program: what income is counted, who gets grouped together on an application, use of annual income, etc.
The one exception is for victims of domestic violence, as discussed below.
The insurance comes from private insurance companies. Money to help pay the costs comes from the federal government. This is part of the Affordable Care Act, or “ACA.”
The insurance is from names you may know, like Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, United, and so on.
Each company’s plans at a particular level (bronze, silver, gold, or platinum) must meet government standards for that level.
Usually, gold and platinum plans cover more and have lower copays when you get care. But for people with incomes under 250% of poverty, Silver Plans usually have the lowest cost when you get care.
Details can be different from company to company.
You need the social security number and income information for each person who will be on your federal income tax form next year.
No. You do not have to file jointly and can still qualify for tax credits.
If you are living apart from your spouse because you are a victim of domestic violence, domestic abuse, or spousal abandonment and want to sign up for your own health plan separate from your abuser or abandoner, you are treated as “unmarried” in your Marketplace application. These people can say they are unmarried, without penalty for mis-stating your marital status.
For more about who is in your “household” for these insurance applications, see https://www.healthcare.gov/income-and-household-information/household-size/
Did a contractor take your money without doing repairs you paid for or by doing terrible work?
Contractor fraud occurs if:
If even one of these things happened, you may be able to get help from the Restore Louisiana program.
Restore Louisiana helps Louisiana homeowners rebuild homes destroyed or severely damaged. The home must have been severely damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Ida, Laura, or Delta.
Restore Louisiana can sometimes help homeowners who are victims of contractor fraud.
The Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD) runs this federal disaster relief program.
Can I get Restore Louisiana aid?
Every one of the things on this list must be true to get the help:
Any of these three things count as “major and severe” damage:
How do I show contractor fraud?
You must show all of these things:
You will need to give Restore Louisiana paperwork to show you reported the fraud. The program will want proof you did all of these:
To find out more about Restore Louisiana and how to apply, go to https://slls.org/restore-louisiana/
If you are a Hurricane Ida survivor who has been the victim of contractor fraud, you may be eligible for free legal assistance with problems with Restore Louisiana and sometimes regarding contractor fraud.
To see if you can get free help, call the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Disaster Legal Services Hotline at: 1-800-310-7029, or apply at our website here.
A major purchase may come with a warranty. The warranty may come from the seller or the manufacturer. A “warranty” is a promise to stand behind the thing sold to you. The law says that you must be allowed to read what the warranty says before you buy. The warranty law covers purchases in person, online, or with a catalog. Warranties might cover a lot or a little. Look into the details before you buy. You may be given the option to buy an extended warranty. An extended warranty would cover some repairs after the regular warranty expires. Buying an extended warranty is up to you.
Look up the company’s name on the Internet.
Try using words like “complaint” or “review.”
See what other people think of the company or product.
It depends. The warranty period could be days, months, or years.
Read over the fine print on the warranty to find out how long the warranty lasts.
If specific parts or repairs that are not listed in the warranty, you should assume they aren’t covered.
Some warranties make you pay for labor or to ship the product back for repairs.
This could be expensive for heavy items.
Again, read the warranty.
Do you need to send in a product registration card to get warranty service?
Some limited warranties require that.
Other warranties only cover problems that happen when you maintain or use the product according to the directions.
Many warranties won’t cover problems that happen if you misuse a product or change the way it works.
Federal law states that a manufacturer can’t make you use specific parts and services to keep warranty coverage, unless the warranty provides those parts and services for free, or if the company offering the warranty gets permission from the FTC to make that requirement.
You may have to contact the manufacturer for help or the seller.
The company could repair it, replace it, or refund the money you paid for it.
“Consequential damages” are damages the product causes.
Few warranties cover them, or the time and money you spend to repair such damage.
All the things listed above should be in the warranty document. Read the warranty before you buy. Keep a copy of both the warranty and your receipt of the purchase. If the purchase was online, remember to print a copy of the receipt. If any warranty is stated to you verbally by the seller, get it in writing.
Almost everything you buy is covered by an implied warranty. This is so even if there is no written warranty. All states have implied warranties. Here are some common implied warranties:
Merchantability means that the seller promises that a product will do what it’s supposed to do.
For example, a car will run and a toaster will toast.
This warranty covers what happens when you buy a thing because the seller said it is fit for a particular use.
For example, a seller says a certain sleeping bag is good for zero-degree weather.
That means the seller is giving an implied warranty to buyers that the sleeping bag will is fit for use in zero-degree weather.
In Louisiana, the main implied warranty is called “redhibition.” Redhibition covers problems that come up with the product that make the thing so useless or inconvenient that you would not have purchased it or would have purchased it for a lower price. Even if your purchase doesn’t come with a written warranty, it’s still covered by implied warranties. Big exception: the implied warranty protects you unless the seller gives a written notice that there’s no warranty, or the product is marked "as is".
An extended warranty or a service contract is different from the initial warranty that may automatically come with a product. An extended warranty will cost extra. It may cover different issues than a warranty. It is sold separately. Before you buy an extended warranty or service contract, compare it to the warranty to see if you’ll get any extra benefits for the extra cost. You do not have to buy extended warranties.
Having a warranty doesn't mean you’ll automatically get a refund if a product is defective. The company may have a right to try to fix it before it gives you a refund. But if you report a defect to the company during the warranty period and the product isn’t fixed properly, the company must correct the problem, even if your warranty expires before the product is fixed.
If your letter or emails don’t resolve the issue, report problems with a company to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov
You can contact the local Better Business Bureau in your area to see if they can resolve your issues. In the Greater New Orleans area, their number is 504-581-6222.
Finally, you can speak to an attorney.
If you have undone repairs or rebuilding work to do on your home, the Restore LA program gives homeowners two choices. You must first qualify for Restore LA aid. To learn more about Restore LA see our other blog post here.
Both Solution 1 & 2 require that you meet the following requirements below. If you do not comply, you may not be eligible for program assistance and you may have to pay funds back to the program.
There is a third way to use Restore LA aid. That is called Solution 3: Reimbursement.
The third choice is for people who have money to fix their home. Or for people who have already installed a manufactured home unit on their property to replace a damaged home.
Those homeowners can try to get Restore LA to reimburse (pay back) what they spent to repair or rebuild, or replace a manufactured home unit, completed before the program damage assessment. This money is separate from other FEMA or insurance money.
Here is information about each choice – called a “Solution” by Restore LA.
Solution 1: Program - Managed
Solution 2: Homeowner - Managed
There are two choices under Solution 2.
Solution 2: Manufactured Housing Unit (or MHU) Replacement Assistance
Pros: If all this is overwhelming and you want someone to take the lead, then you may want to consider Solution 1. Under Solution 1 Restore LA will hire a licensed and insured contractor to handle the demolition, planning, reconstruction, and permitting through completion of the project.
If you struggle with keeping track of deadlines, managing your own money, or if you have other problems that will make it hard for you to keep up with a repair or construction project, or if it is hard for you to find a contractor then Solution 1 may help you.
Cons: If you chose Solution 1, you will be required to move out of your home. You cannot move back into your home until notified by the program in writing. If you do not want to be displaced from your home, then this Solution may cause discomfort.
Also, you will be required to move your belongings out of your home, otherwise it will be disposed of as part of the demolition. If you do not have a place to store your belongings, then this option may cause difficulty. Unfortunately, the Restore program does not provide moving and storage assistance.
Pros: This option gives you more control, though you will also have more responsibility. Solution 2 may help you if you really want to pick your own licensed and insured contractor and if you can handle deadlines, contracts, details, and find a reputable contractor within the time limits.
Cons: If you have an issue with keeping track of deadlines, managing your own money, or have accessibility barriers, then this option may not be for you.
Check out this video for more information:
Need more materials? Check out the links below.
*Contact Restore Louisiana at (866) 735-2001 for more details about Solution 1 & 2 reconstruction.
 The program will make changes as needed for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations. For example, “If the homeowner has any mobility issues, vinyl flooring will be installed throughout the home. Flooring transitions must be such that a wheelchair/mobility impaired person can easily maneuver throughout the home. “ LA Office of Community Development. Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program. Version 1.2 last updated: April 2022, pp. 105.