12 On Your Side: Student loan debt, social security benefits, new retail shop focuses on empowering women

This week’s consumer roundup from Marilyn Moritz!

KSAT OTT 12 On Your Side title graphic

Happy weekend, everybody!

Aside from our glorious coffee-on-the-back-porch mornings we’ve had this week, there is plenty of consumer/money news to catch you up on.

First up, student loan debt. Millions of people can now begin filling out the application for debt forgiveness – as much as $20,000. It’s a fairly simple application- just go to studentaid.gov. If you qualify and apply before mid-November, word is that your eligible debt will be erased before Jan. 1. There are some legal wranglings going on, though, so we’ll have to see if anything changes down the road.

Folks getting Social Security benefits can expect a raise come January. It’s a cost of living adjustment – more than 8% this time to help folks afford the inflated prices of groceries and just about everything else.

Beware of scammers trying to take advantage of the student loan or the Social Security changes.  If you get a call, email or text from anyone claiming to be from the government, be very skeptical. And, don’t trust the Caller ID. There are reports of criminals contacting people and offering to sign them up, get money faster and steering them to a fake website. Check out our story about this scam warning and what to do.

There is even welcome news from the IRS this week. Yes, the IRS. Tax brackets are being adjusted and the standard deductions are being increased significantly to deal with the I-word again. That should help most people keep more of their money.

There’s also big news when it comes to hearing aids. You can now buy over-the-counter with no prescription at places like Walgreens and Best Buy. It’s a significant money-saver for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Finally, I got the chance to visit with a young entrepreneur. She’s a UTSA student who opened a storefront called Elysia Collective Company. She leases space to other small businesses because she wants to help other women get their foot in the door. Girl power! If you’re in the neighborhood of Wurzbach Road and Lockhill-Selma, you may want to pop in.

Enjoy your weekend!


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About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.