American Rescue Plan
More than a year into the pandemic, millions of Americans are still struggling to keep their
families safe while trying to make ends meet. Tens of millions of Americans have been
infected, and we have lost more than half a million American lives to the virus. Meanwhile, the
economic crisis has left millions of Americans relying on unemployment checks and food
stamps, while up to 40 million cannot afford to pay rent and fear eviction. These twin crises are
only exacerbating the severe inequities in our country: communities of color have contracted the
disease at much higher rates, eight in ten minority-owned businesses are on the brink of closure
and more than two million women have been forced out of the workforce. While Americans
have met these challenges with extraordinary courage and resilience, many need a hand to get
back on their feet.
Thanks to the leadership of President Biden and Democrats in Congress, Help Is Here! As promised, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is delivering much-needed relief to communities across the country, especially those hardest hit by the pandemic and economic crisis. Right now, the historic American Rescue Plan is saving lives and livelihoods in our communities:
- Vaccines in Arms: by funding a national vaccination campaign in partnership with community vaccination sites, we have delivered more than 260 million doses of the COVID vaccine nationwide. Today, every American older than 16 years old is eligible for the vaccine, and more than a third of all Americans have been fully vaccinated. More than 80 percent of seniors, educators, school staff and child care workers have received at least one vaccine dose.
- Money in People’s Pockets: the American Rescue Plan is delivering working families larger paychecks, sending out more than 160 million $1,400 checks, providing direct housing assistance and nutrition assistance, expanding access to safe and reliable child care and affordable health care, extending unemployment insurance and supporting tens of millions of families children with an expanded Child Tax Credit and millions more low-wage workers through an improved Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Children Safely Back in School: with a nearly $130 billion investment in our schools, the American Rescue Plan has helped make up for lost learning by enabling more than half of K-8 schools reopen full-time and in-person – fulfilling a key promise by the Administration.
- People Back In Jobs: the American Rescue Plan created a lifeline for the hardest-hit small businesses, especially those owned by entrepreneurs from racial and ethnic backgrounds that have experienced systemic discrimination, and crucial resources to protect the jobs of first responders, frontline public health workers, teachers, transit workers and other essential workers that all Americans depend on.
- Individuals making less than $75,000, heads of household making less than $112,500, and married couples filing jointly that make less than $150,000 qualify for $1,400 direct payments. Individuals making up to $80,000, heads of household making up to $120,000, and couples making up to $160,000 will receive partial payments. Those with dependents will also receive $1,400 per person, including college students and seniors claimed as dependents.
- These payments will be issued by the IRS via direct deposit or mailed as a check or debit card. This will be based on 2020 or 2019 tax returns or 2019 Social Security statement.
- If you were eligible and didn't receive a first or second Economic Impact Payment or got less than the full amounts, you may be eligible for the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, but you'll need to file your 2020 tax return.
Veterans who receive non-taxable VA benefits but did not file tax returns for 2019 or 2020
will automatically be issued payments.
For VA beneficiaries who filed a Form 1040 for 2019 or 2020, those payments will
also be automatic. No further action is needed. They can track the status of their
payments on the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov. For non-tax filing VA
beneficiaries, please note their information will be loaded on this tool within the
next few weeks.
- Check your payment status, confirm your deposit information and your payment type here.
- For individuals without children, the American Rescue Plan raises the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit from roughly $530 to close to $1,500, raises the income limit for the credit from about $16,000 to about $21,000, and eliminates the age cap for older workers, for 2021. This step will benefit more than 17 million low-income workers like cashiers and delivery drivers.
- For individuals with children, the American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit for 2021 from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over the age of six and $3,600 for children under the age of six. It also raised the age limit from 16 to 17. The IRS will begin sending regular periodic payments to families beginning in July 2021.
The American Rescue Plan also makes several improvements to the Child and Dependent
Care Tax Credit for 2021, including increasing the amount of the tax credit from 35
percent to 50 percent of child and dependent care expenses and increasing the amount
of expenses that are eligible for the credit to $8,000 for one qualifying individual and
$16,000 for two or more qualifying individuals (such that the maximum credits would now
be $4,000 and $8,000). This credit is also refundable.
- The American Rescue Plan will lower or eliminate health insurance premiums for millions of lower- and middle-income families enrolled in health insurance marketplaces. This will help well over a million uninsured Americans gain coverage.
- A family of four making $90,000 could see their monthly premium come down by as much as $200 per month.
- If you or a member of your household have lost health insurance coverage, there are several ways to stay covered:
- If you had insurance through a job, your employer may continue it or you may be eligible to pay for it through a program called “COBRA.” Ask your employer about how to sign up and how much it will cost or call 866-487-2365. The American Rescue Plan provides a 100 percent federal COBRA subsidy through September 1, 2021 – ensuring that those who lose their jobs or their health coverage due to reduced hours don’t lose their health insurance.
- To learn about other options, go to HealthCare.gov and follow instructions to see if you or your children qualify for your state’s Medicaid program. For people who qualify, Medicaid programs are very low cost.
- Through HealthCare.gov (or call 800-318-2596), you can also find out about lowcost insurance through your state’s health care exchange.
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, ensures that Americans receive the food they need, especially if they are newly unemployed. The American Rescue Plan included funding to increase SNAP benefits 15 percent – up to $100 more per household – through September 2021. In order to apply for SNAP, contact your state SNAP office or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food & Nutrition Services regional offices near you.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC)
provides access to nutritious foods to low-income pregnant women or mothers. The
American Rescue Plan allocates $800 million for WIC and temporarily boosts the value of
WIC Cash Value Vouchers for vulnerable mothers and their children. WIC recipients with
special dietary needs have been added to the list of individuals eligible for the increase in
Cash Value Vouchers as well. To see if you are eligible for WIC benefits click here. To learn more about how to apply for WIC click here. To learn about WIC in your state, click here.
USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides reimbursements for
nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children and adults who are enrolled for care at
participating child care centers, day care homes, and adult day care centers. The
American Rescue Plan temporarily expands the age of eligibility for CACFP at emergency
homeless shelters to ensure more young adults can access needed nutrition support.
To find a participating child care center or adult care center near you, please
contact the agency office in your state.
The American Rescue Plan created a $1 Billion TANF Pandemic Emergency Assistance
Fund. These funds will be distributed to the states to provide emergency cash assistance
to low-income families with children. To find out more about eligibility for TANF in your
state, please contact your state TANF program.
- Mortgage Forbearance: Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages (for members of federally-recognized tribes) and those with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac have the right to request forbearance on their payments for up to 6 months, with a possible extension for another 6 months without fees, penalties, or extra interest. Homeowners should contact their mortgage servicing company directly. For FHA, USDA, VA or Section 184 or 184A mortgages, the deadline for requesting an initial forbearance is June 30, 2021. For Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-held loans, there is currently no deadline for requesting initial forbearance.
- Homeowner Assistance Fund: The American Rescue Plan provides $10 billion in direct aid to help homeowners who are struggling to stay current on their mortgages as a result of the pandemic. This assistance can be used to help with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities and other housing related costs.
- Rental Assistance: The American Rescue Plan provides $22.5 billion for emergency rental assistance to help ensure struggling families continue to have a safe place to live during this pandemic and to help rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs. The CDC’s national eviction moratorium which was in place since September 2020 was recently struck down by a federal district court. While the Justice Department is appealing that court’s decision, the nationwide moratorium remains in place until May 12. The decision’s impact on state courts and state moratoria is unclear. The rental assistance included in the American Rescue Plan is another federal recourse available for families struggling to pay rent. Learn more about Emergency Rental Assistance.
- Helping People Experiencing or At Risk of Homelessness: The American Rescue Plan provides $5 billion for five years of funding for Housing Choice Vouchers to assist very low-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities afford decent and safe housing in the private market. These vouchers allow individuals and families to find their own housing – including single-family homes, townhomes or apartments. To see if you are eligible for Housing Choice Vouchers, or any other public housing program, please contact your local Public Housing Agency.
- This legislative package includes $4.5 billion to help low-income families heat and cool their homes. To learn more about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in your state, click here.
The American Rescue Plan included $3.2 billion to the Federal Communications
Commission to establish an Emergency Broadband Benefit to provide a discount of up to
$50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per
month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible families can also receive a one-time
discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers. To learn more about the Emergency Broadband Benefit and to enroll visit GetEmergencyBroadband.org.
- Families who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 may be eligible to receive assistance for funeral expenses. FEMA has begun processing applications for financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 up to a maximum of $9,000 per funeral, provided under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
- To be eligible for funeral assistance the death must have occurred in the United States; the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020; and the death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19. There is no requirement that the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien.
- To apply for FEMA funeral assistance, people should call 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462- 7585). Multilingual services are available.
- The American Rescue Plan extended unemployment benefits until September 6, 2021 with a weekly supplemental benefit of $300 on top of the regular $400 benefit. These benefits are available immediately.
- The first $10,200 of unemployment benefits will be tax-free for people with incomes less than $150,000.
- Click here for general information from the Department of Labor about how to file for Unemployment Insurance. Residents seeking more information about UI benefits should contact the state unemployment insurance program. For a list of unemployment offices by state please click here.