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Earlier this year President Biden announced a program to cancel student loan debt for the majority of borrowers in the U.S. Last week, the Biden administration opened applications for the debt relief.
Borrowers are eligible to receive $10,000 or $20,000 in student debt relief depending upon income and whether you received a Pell Grant. To apply, you’ll need the following information:
Apply here: https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application
The Education Department says borrowers who apply in October could have debt canceled as soon as November, and borrowers are encouraged to file their forms by Nov. 15th to have their debt canceled before student loan payments resume on January 1, 2023.
Are you looking for information about Public Service Loan Forgiveness? IHSS providers are also eligible for PSLF and you’ll need your Employer Identification Number (942629822). For more information, start here: https://www.afscme.org/member-resources/student-debt-resources
Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Workers Tax Credit into law, a major victory for worker advocates including United Domestic Workers of America (UDW/AFSCME 3930), which represents 155,000 home care and family child care workers in California. This historic new benefit establishes the framework for a refundable tax credit for a portion of union dues, allowing workers in low-wage industries to receive the benefits of the tax credit.
While union dues are deductible as an itemized expense on state returns, many workers do not earn enough to itemize and therefore cannot deduct them. Meanwhile, higher-income professionals can write off a wide range of business-related expenses, including association fees. The Workers Tax Credit allows a wide range of workers to receive a tax credit even if they cannot itemize deductions or have no tax liability.
“UDW fought for the Workers Tax Credit to bring tax equity to working-class Californians,” said Doug Moore, Executive Director of UDW. “This victory will help ensure that our middle- and lower-income worker members – who are predominantly women – enjoy the same benefits available to those in higher tax brackets.”
The tax credit applies to workers who do not already utilize the union dues deduction. Eligible workers will receive a minimum of $100, and no worker may receive more than they paid in dues for that year. The program complements recent tax policies benefitting low-wage workers and families, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Golden State Stimulus, and will encourage more workers to file taxes.
“The Workers Tax Credit gives union workers a tax break similar to what businesses have used for years, and it helps in the ongoing efforts to improve conditions and increase equity for all employees,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), who championed the effort in the Legislature. “That’s the same kind of win-win we’ve seen with the Earned Income Tax Credit and other credits we’ve passed. I congratulate UDW for leading the effort to advance this historic bill, and I thank Governor Newsom for signing it into law.”
“I want to give UDW a nod for advancing this idea and thank my legislative colleagues for their commitment to its passage,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “The Assembly is always behind efforts to improve and protect the status of California’s workers and we welcome the Governor’s support for our legislative actions.”
“Any opportunity we have to uplift workers is an opportunity we must act on to the best of our abilities,” said Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes. “By providing reimbursement through this tax credit, we are doubling down on our commitment to California’s working families. I want to thank UDW for uplifting the needs of our workers and I applaud Speaker Rendon and Senate President pro Tem Atkins for leading on this important effort.”
“We’re glad to finally see a tax credit that rewards hardworking union members who don’t get to enjoy the countless tax benefits available to the wealthy and well-connected,” said Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, leader of the California Labor Federation. “The bill creates a refundable tax credit that’s available to union members across the public and private sector — this is a real step toward tax fairness.”
Unions provide significant public benefits, including expanded access to healthcare and retirement, a narrowing of race and gender wage disparities and racial wealth gaps, and a path out of poverty through job security. As working-class Californians face growing economic inequity, union membership is more important than ever before. Yet, workers who belong to unions have been unable to enjoy the tax benefits available to the wealthy and other higher paying professions.
The Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 suspended the tax deduction for union dues at the federal level even though large corporations and other businesses can access over tens of billions in tax incentives. The Workers Tax Credit remedies this inequity by ensuring that union employees have access to the same tax benefits as lawyers, doctors and other professionals who pay into their associations. “Many workers don’t earn enough to itemize our taxes, and we miss out on tax credits that higher-paid professionals and corporations take advantage of,” said Catherine Louie, a home care provider and UDW member in Orange County. “This tax credit helps level the playing field for working-class Californians like me.”
Dedicated leadership is important not only at the local, state, and federal levels, but also within our union. Our UDW Executive Board shapes and guides our union’s future and ensures that UDW always puts our members first. This spring, UDW members voted for new member leaders, and the votes are in: Welcome to our newly elected UDW Executive Board!
UDW Statewide President
November is only a few months away, which means that it’s time to get ready to vote. When care workers vote, it can mean the difference between a future where our work is acknowledged and valued by our local, state, and federal representatives, and one where it is not.
Over the past year, we’ve seen the tremendous impact that having supportive elected leaders can have when it comes to our financial stability, our health, and our long-term benefits as family child care and home care providers.
This year, thanks to our votes—and our voices—we’ve won:
The Workers Tax Fairness Credit, which will provide union members a tax credit of up to 33% of paid union dues.
For IHSS providers:
Changes to CalSavers, California’s retirement savings program, will give providers the option to have contributions to their retirement fund automatically deducted from their paychecks, making it easier and more hands-off to save!
For Family Child Care Providers:
Winning at the County Level
Thanks to UDW members voting for and strengthening relationships with Board of Supervisors who value care work, counties like Tuolumne, Imperial and Santa Barbara have seen significant wins in their new IHSS contracts, including increased wages, one-time bonus payments, better life insurance coverage, and funds for PPE. We’ve spent years turning counties around and advocating for better recognition, pay and benefits and although these are incredible wins, we know that there is a lot of work to be done—and we can’t do it without you
Winning for Kern County
Our Kern members are working to update local laws to pave the way for a healthier, safer, and more economically thriving Kern for all. Over the past six months, UDW members and local leaders filed a petition and collected the 20,338 required signatures to put the issue of term limits for county supervisors on the November ballot. Together with the We Are Kern County Coalition, we clocked tens of thousands of steps and knocked on thousands of doors to limit the Board of Supervisors to two terms, or eight years, and make way for new, bold leaders to step up for Kern residents. The county verified the signatures in early June, ensuring the proposition will be listed on this November’s ballot— next up, members in Kern County need to vote yes on term limits!
Salvador Lopez Segura, IHSS provider and UDW member, spent months gathering signatures for the term limits measure and he reminds us of why our votes matter.
“It’s important that we go out to vote so we can elect a board of supervisors that will do their job of representing and listening to the people’s needs. We need elected officials that invest our community’s funds in the essential services people need, rather than pocketing the money for when things get worse.”
On November 8, 2022 let’s make sure each and every one of our voices are heard through voting! Register to vote at registertovote.ca.gov and check out a list of UDW endorsed candidates at udwa.org/endorsements/.
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