Former President Bill Clinton on Friday announced plans to launch an effort to help victims of Hurricane Katrina find out if they are eligible for the earned income tax credit and claim the refund if they qualify. Millions of people meet the requirements for the tax credit, which refunds payroll and income taxes to low-wage workers, but do not claim it. Some poor families can be credited as much as $4,400, depending on their earnings and number of eligible children.
"The main idea of EITC is still the old idea of the American Dream, that if you work hard and play by the rules you ought to have a decent life and a chance for your children to have a better one," Clinton said in a statement announcing the project. The Clinton Foundation initiative also plans to donate $25,000 each to projects by the ACORN Institute and Operation HOPE Inc. that give free tax preparation services and EITC information to people affected by the hurricane.
ACORN's Katrina Benefits Access Project will send teams of workers to hotels, apartment complexes and other places where Katrina victims have been living to provide the services. Mobile units will be sent to 10 southern cities.
Operation HOPE's Project Restore HOPE will add the services to its current economic counseling and financial programs for Katrina victims. It also will hire two full-time caseworkers to help families in Gulfport , Mississippi , which Clinton visited in October, reports the AP.
The Russian missile cruiser Varyag, which is currently staying in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, blocked the US Navy aircraft carrier strike group in the Adriatic Sea