For those who started school this week, I hope you are looking forward to a year of learning, friendship, and fun. I am always rooting for your success and can’t wait to hear about all the great things you accomplish.
Featured in this newsletter:
- Absentee ballot applications now available for Nov. 8 general elections
- Beware of scammers trying to take advantage of federal student loan debt forgiveness program
- There is still time to enroll four-year-old kids in free preschool program
- Where to get Monkeypox vaccine in Michigan
As always, if I can be of any assistance to you or your family, please call my office at (517) 373-2417, or email me at SenRBayer@senate.michigan.gov.
ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE NOV. 8 GENERAL ELECTION
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is reminding Michigan residents that they can now apply to vote absentee in the Nov. 8 general election. Voters choosing to vote by mail are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible to avoid postal delays.
All voters registered in Michigan are eligible to vote absentee. They can apply online at Michigan.gov/Vote or print an application form from the site and mail, email, or hand deliver it to their local clerk. Voters can find their clerk’s contact information at Michigan.gov/Vote.
Voters with disabilities may apply online for an accessible electronic absent voter ballot at Michigan.gov/Vote or Michigan.gov/AccessibleBallot. The accessible ballot can be completed electronically, printed, and returned to their clerk.
Clerks will begin mailing out absent voter ballots by Sept. 29. They will be available for early, in-person voting in clerks’ offices on that date as well.
A ballot-tracking tool on the Michigan.gov/Vote site allows voters to check when their clerk received their absentee ballot request, when they mailed out the ballot and, when they received the ballot back from the voter.
For more information on absentee voting, or to register to vote, go to Michigan.gov/Vote.
BEWARE OF SCAMMERS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN DEBT FORGIVENESS PROGRAM
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning Michiganders to be on the lookout for potential scammers seeking to take advantage of borrowers pursuing new sweeping student loan debt relief recently announced by the Biden Administration.
Here are the highlights of the announced loan debt relief:
- The current student loan repayment pause has been extended to Dec. 31, 2022, with payments resuming in January 2023.
- The U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households.
- The previously announced limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program waiver is still in effect until Oct. 31, 2022. It forgives the remaining balance on your federal student loans after 120 payments working full-time for federal, state, tribal, or local government; military; or a qualifying nonprofit. The limited PSLF waiver allows borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF. For more information on eligibility and requirements, go to PSLF.gov.
AG Nessel encourages residents to follow these tips to avoid scams seeking to take advantage of borrowers’ eagerness to obtain debt relief:
- For more information about this relief, visit the Federal Student Aid website and/or their loan servicer.
- Do not provide your personal or financial information in response to unsolicited emails, phone calls, or texts either from the federal government or a company claiming to be able to assist you with obtaining the announced relief.
- Do not agree to pay anyone for assistance in obtaining this relief.
- Don’t be rushed. To get you to act fast, scammers say you could miss qualifying for repayment plans, loan consolidation, or loan forgiveness programs if you don’t sign up right away. Take your time and check it out.
- Don’t give away your FSA ID. Some scammers claim they need your FSA ID to help you, but don’t share your FSA ID with anyone. Dishonest people could use that information to get into your account and steal your identity.
Those who wish to make a report about potential scams can do so with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team by filing a complaint online or by calling 877-765-8388.
THERE IS STILL TIME TO ENROLL FOUR-YEAR-OLD KIDS IN FREE PRESCHOOL PROGRAM
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Education are encouraging parents of four-year-old children across Michigan to contact their local school districts or visit GreatStarttoQuality.org to explore getting their children enrolled in a Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) — Michigan’s nationally recognized, state-funded preschool for four-year-olds.
Children who attend a GSRP are more likely to enter school ready to learn, read by third grade, and graduate from high school on time.
Parents can apply for GSRP’s 2022-2023 program year now! Search for local GSRP programs through Michigan’s Great Start to Quality website or apply directly through their local intermediate school district here.
GSRP eligibility is primarily determined based on family household income (a family of four earning up to $69,375 a year is eligible). However, other factors such as a diagnosed disability, parent education, and primary home language other than English may also be considered. The program is offered as part-day and full-day with childcare before and after school available in many areas. Some programs also offer transportation to families.
WHERE TO GET MONKEYPOX VACCINE IN MICHIGAN
Cases of monkeypox in Michigan continue to increase. As of Tuesday, August 30, there are now 165 confirmed cases in the state, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since the start of the outbreak, the federal government has distributed 670,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine to states from the national stockpile, according to the White House. So far, Michigan has gotten 7,600 vials of the vaccine, which is authorized to prevent both smallpox and monkeypox or limit symptoms after exposure.
As vaccine doses arrive in Michigan, they are being delivered to:
- Hubs established at health departments in Oakland, Washtenaw, Kent, Kalamazoo, Grand Traverse, Ingham, St. Clair, Bay, and Marquette counties, as well as the District Health Department 10 in the northwestern Lower Peninsula and Wayne State University’s STI Clinic.
- The Oakland County Health Division, which is running a daily monkeypox vaccine clinic out of its north health center in Pontiac, with the capacity to administer about 70 shots per afternoon. Appointments can be made by calling the Nurse on Call line at 800-848-5533.