Associated Press

Former President Clinton 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 EITC, 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 Clinton Foundation initiative will support projects by the ACORN Institute and Operation HOPE Inc. to give free tax preparation services and EITC information to people affected by the hurricane.

"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 Friday in a statement announcing the project.

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 cities: Birmingham, Ala., Little Rock, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, La., Lake Charles, La., New Orleans, Jackson, Miss., Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

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, Miss., which Clinton visited in October.

The Clinton Foundation will give $250,000 to ACORN and $25,000 to Operation HOPE, a spokesman said. It also has asked members of its staff to volunteer with EITC programs in New York, Boston and Little Rock and will post information about the EITC on its Web site.


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