If you’re paying for health insurance anyways, make sure you’re getting the most for your money. Here are five surprising things your health insurance may cover. Plans and coverage vary, but it’s worth investigating to find out.
Some of you may remember that the podcast Joyce and I run, Mom Autism Money, was nominated for two awards this year: Best New Personal Finance Podcast and Best Financial Content for Underserved Communities.
Thank you to all of you who helped nominate us! I have some news for you…
Best Financial Content for Underserved Communities
We were floored. We had hoped to get nominated, and were thrilled when that happened.
To learn that we won was next level.
Mom Autism Money
Mom Autism Money centers financial education for parents of Autistic children. Part of the reason we created the podcast is because there is so little navigable personal finance information for disabled people and their families.
If we — as personal finance writers who have both been in this space for over ten years — had questions, we knew most other parents needed access to this information, too.
We feel so lucky to be able to contribute this super niche financial literacy content to the community, and the community’s support in return means everything.
That said, we were up against some pretty phenomenal competition. Part of the reason it was so unexpected to win was because the creators in this category have all accomplished amazing things while serving their communities.
Today, I want to encourage you to check them ALL out.
In the Best New Personal Finance Podcast category presented by Steve Stewart, the winner was Rich by Intention! We were so happy to see them win. Anjie & RJ consistently pump out new episodes with ever-interesting and accomplished guests.
Have you heard of the Affordable Connectivity Program?
If not, you might be missing out! This government program can help you save $30 or more on your internet bill every month.
Is the Affordable Connectivity Program legit?
One hundred percent yes. The Affordable Connectivity Program is legit and can help you save money on your internet bill.
How much money can I save with the Affordable Connectivity Program?
Most people will get a $30 credit on their internet bill per month.
If you live on Tribal lands, you can qualify for a $75 credit per month.
PLUS, regardless of where you live, you may be eligible for $100 off a laptop, desktop or tablet. You will have to contribute between $10 and $50 towards the purchase of your device to qualify for the $100 discount.
Your internet service provider must participate in the discounted device program to qualify for that extra $100 benefit. Here are the ones that do.
How do I qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program?
There are three ways to qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program:
If anyone in your household uses certain government programs.
Meet special requirements for those who live on Tribal Lands.
Qualifying for ACP based on income
Income limits are higher than you might think — especially if you have a family! Don’t count yourself out just because you don’t consider yourself ‘low-income.’
Income limits are based on your household size and where you live.
Income Limits for Contiguous U.S and Territories
Single person: $27,180
Two-person household: $36,620
Three-person household: $46,060
Four-person household: $55,500
Five-person household: $64,940
Six-person household: $74,380
Seven-person household: $83,820
Eight-person household: $93,260
For each additional person in your household, add $9,440 to the income limit.
Income Limits for Alaska
Single person: $33,980
Two-person household: $45,780
Three-person household: $57,580
Four-person household: $69,380
Five-person household: $81,180
Six-person household: $92,980
Seven-person household: $104,780
Eight-person household: $116,580
For each additional person in your household, add $11,800 to the income limit.
Income Limits for Hawaii
Single person: $31,260
Two-person household: $42,120
Three-person household: $52,980
Four-person household: $63,840
Five-person household: $74,700
Six-person household: $85,560
Seven-person household: $96,420
Eight-person household: $107,280
For each additional person in your household, add $10,860 to the income limit.
Qualifying for ACP based on government programs
You can totally qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program even if you’re beyond the income limits.
If you or any of your dependents are on one of the following programs, you automatically qualify for the ACP. They won’t even ask for your income on the application:
Federal Public Housing Assistance
Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program
Received a Pell Grant in the current award year
That’s right: You can qualify based on something as simple as a PELL GRANT!
The ACP website says you might have to provide paperwork supporting your enrollment in any one of these programs, but so far none of the members of our Facebook community have had to provide anything beyond the last four of the eligible person’s SSN.
Qualifying for the ACP on Tribal Lands
If you live on Tribal lands, you may qualify for a juiced up version of the ACP, which gives you a $75 credit rather than the standard $30.
You’ll fill out a quick application that will let you know whether or not you qualify.
Then, find your internet service provider’s ACP landing page via this list from the FCC. You’ll have to fill out a very basic form verifying that you’ve applied for the ACP. Then your ISP will vet you by checking for the approved application and giving you the discount.
How long does it take to get your Affordable Connectivity Program credit?
If you’ve ever interacted with a government program, you’re probably used to it taking weeks, months, or even years before you can access your benefits.
Amazingly, this is not the case with the ACP.
All of the members of the Mom Autism Money community who have applied have seen the credit reflected on their internet bill within 24-48 hours of their initial application on the ACP website.
So in our experience, it’s worked at lightning speed! But if you have circumstances that require extra paperwork, it may or may not take a little longer to process the application and get your credit reflected on your internet bill.
Is the ACP program permanent?
Yes, the intent of the ACP program is for it to be permanent. It’s a replacement for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB,) which was a temporary COVID-19 response.
That being said, final regulations on the ACP will be decided upon in November of 2022. So while the Affordable Connectivity Program is scheduled to be permanent for now, we will see how things pan out in the Fall. It may end up being capped to four or five years.
In the meantime, start saving on your internet bill today. Taking a few minutes out of your time to apply could get your bill down by $30-$75 within a day or two.
It’s that time of year! Plutus Award nominations are open!
The Plutus Awards are industry awards for creators who work in independent financial media. In years past, you guys have helped nominate me for so many different categories — some nominations were a surprise even to me!
Thank you for that. Times a million. Getting nominated for these awards have really helped my career, in addition to being a great honor.
This year, if I could ask you for one more favor, it would be to nominate Mom Autism Money for Best Personal Finance Content for Underserved Communities.
How to Nominate
To nominate Mom Autism Money, you would use this form.
At the top, you’ll fill out some very basic info about yourself.
Then, if you scroll down to ‘Best Personal Finance Content for Underserved Communities,’ you should see the Mom Autism Money URL already entered.
If for some reason it isn’t, simply type this in the box: https://momautismmoney.com
If you crush on content from other PF creators, you can enter them in the form for the remaining categories, too. But if you don’t, it’s okay to leave the rest of them blank before you hit ‘Submit.’
Catch Up on Mom Autism Money
Want to check out some of the latest episodes? Here are a bunch of our faves from Season Two! Be sure to follow or subscribe to Mom Autism Money on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc. so you’ll be notified each time a new episode goes live.
How to Successfully Apply to SSI
So far, this is our most popular episode this season! Brought to you by CalABLE, in this episode we speak with Dena Gassner about her proven strategy for successfully making it through the SSI/SSDI application process.
It’s centered around Autism, but her framework can be applied to any disability.
Autism in the Latino Community
This one just went live today!
Brought to you by ABLE United, it’s part one of an engaging, two-part discussion about Autism in the Latino community with self-advocate and editor Arianne Garcia and researcher Dr. Kristina Lopez. I learned a TON from this one, personally.
OMGosh, retirement planning when you have a disabled child is OVERWHELMING. Luckily, Joe Saul-Sehy and Brenton Harrison joined us to break everything down. So much great info that we broke it down into two episodes!
TBH, there are large chunks of these episodes that are great for anyone to listen to — whether or not you have an Autistic child.
More Mom Autism Money
We’ve covered a lot this season, and we’re excited to cover a lot more, too. Here are some of our other Season Two episodes:
Savings Tip: Give Lovepop your email address to get 10% off your first order. Also keep an eye out for sale items and 5 for $50 deals. All of the cards listed below fall into one of those two categories.
Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Card
Saw this card and fell in love! Which should be no surprise for those of you who remember my love of Japan. The magic of cherry blossom season is real, and I love how it’s captured in this card.
Mother’s Day Dragonfly Pop-Up Card
This card is specifically for moms! The dragonfly’s wings are so intricate, and the watercolor background is gorgeous.
Butterfly Basket Pop-Up Card
Give mom a bouquet of flowers and butterflies with this butterfly basket card! This card is particularly full and has so many tiny details that make it just perfect.
Mom & Baby Elephant Pop-Up Card
I love these next two for new moms especially. The mom & baby elephant in this card are so cute, and the added horizon line in the background really makes it.
And I feel like it’s been particularly difficult for parents. Anyone with aging parents. And all others who are high-risk for other reasons.
As a mom, I often feel like all the responsibility — societal and familial — has been pushed onto my shoulders. It’s a crushing weight none of us mothers volunteered for. And while I keep hoping the burden will get lighter, over time it only seems to compound.
The first time we watched Encanto, I got chills when I heard this song.
Okay, fine, I got chills every subsequent time we watched Encanto, too.
I felt seen. I don’t often feel like I can talk to many people about this pressure, but here were all my emotions in animated form:
I mean, just look how she grabs Hercules’ sword midair without thinking. If that isn’t a metaphor for what mothers have been doing these past two years I dunno what is.
Talking Pandemic Motherhood on So Money
I’ve been toying with the idea of talking about this for a while. The truth is, it’s hard.
There are so many expectations on us as women. From the responsibilities we must shoulder to the degree to which we’re allowed to be angry and frustrated without social consequences. I mean, in some work environments I worry that even just talking about the fact that I’m a mother at all will negatively impact my opportunities.
Because these expectations are widespread, though, I know I’m not alone. So I decided to start talking about the past couple years, as scary as that may be.
I recently sat down with Farnoosh Torabi for an episode of her podcast, So Money. We got real about the past two years, how that has impacted my career as a working mom, and solutions we could explore in an effort to make a better tomorrow for everyone.
Okay, so this might not necessarily be related to motherhood for everyone.
But it is an important listen for just about everyone.
For the latest episode of Mom Autism Money, Joyce and I sat down with social work expert Dena Gassner to learn the best ways to successfully apply for SSI or SSDI.
One of the reasons you may apply for SSI or SSDI is when your disability impacts your ability to work a full-time job.
Having SSI or SSDI isn’t only a matter of cash payments. Sometimes receiving SSI or SSDI is a necessary step before you can get health insurance that will fully cover your needs, or other related programs you may need to get by.
The process of securing SSI/SSDI isn’t transparent and can take years. In fact, Dena thinks they do it that way on purpose.
But she has created a system that has helped countless families successfully work through the application process. And she shares it with us this week.
We obviously talk about it in context of Autism, but this overarching framework applies to all kinds of disabilities, including those who now find themselves with Long COVID.
Give it a listen. If you don’t need this information in the near future, there’s a high likelihood you’ll know someone who will. Whether that’s your aging parents or your bestie who ‘only’ had a ‘mild’ case of Omicron.
I want this pandemic to be over.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned over the course of my life, it’s that just because I want something to be true doesn’t mean it is. Optimism can be a good thing, but only when it’s buffered by some somber realism.
The CDC has been putting out some real surprising maps lately, showing the entire country is green or low-risk. But that’s incredibly misleading.
Less than two months ago, the CDC changed their metrics. This whole pandemic, we’ve been measuring risk by the amount of positive cases in our communities — or community transmission.
But less than two months ago, the CDC changed those metrics to something along the lines of ‘low-risk means we have enough beds for you to die in.’
That’s a problem. Because death and/or hospitalization is a lagging indicator. The people that are in those beds when we finally get to a ‘red’ zone under these metrics? They will have caught the virus weeks to a month ago ish.
Reporting of positive cases is sorely lacking right now. But even so, you can see that there are parts of the country that are actually very, very red if we were to measure by the metrics we had been using from the beginning: Community transmission.
The metrics that they switched out on everyone two months ago.
Please be careful, everyone. Even if you’re up to date on boosters, there’s still a chance you could get Long COVID even after a ‘mild’ infection.
And there’s definitely the possibility that you could remain asymptomatic and spread this thing to someone who is immunocompromised or otherwise high-risk. Or to a parent of a kid under 5 who still can’t get vaccinated.
And their outcome might not be as good as yours.
So at the absolute least, please wear a mask. Even if you’re not ‘required’ to.
Because it’s not just about our own, individual personal risks. It’s about how our decisions affect the personal risk of others.