The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is part of the US$1.9 trillion economic stimulus package, which is also known as COVID-19. This plan includes a number of important provisions for low-income families, including a $350 billion loan program, a new EITC for low-paid working adults, and relief for renters. In addition, the Act also extends SNAP benefits through September, and it provides $10 billion in capital projects.
Extension of SNAP benefits through September
The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is set to expire in September. As a result, millions of Americans are in need of extra emergency aid. President Trump has pledged to help families cover the costs of food and other necessities. In addition to SNAP, he also has pledged to increase the minimum wage, protect the jobs of essential workers, and expand access to affordable healthcare.
Fortunately, the Department of Agriculture has made several measures to extend SNAP benefits through the end of September. These include the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This legislation is aimed at helping families who are in need of assistance and includes additional funds for nutrition assistance programs. It is expected that the increase in funding will reduce hunger in the U.S., particularly among children.
One of the most important initiatives under the American Rescue Plan is a $15-per-person benefit increase for SNAP recipients. This will be an effective means of preventing hunger and will help families in need.
Another measure that the Trump Administration has committed to is a $1,400 per-person check to working families. This will allow hard-hit households to pay their bills and spend money locally.
A new measure included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 will provide relief for school-aged children under six. Children who are enrolled in a SNAP household and who were under the age of six on September 1, 2021, will receive P-EBT benefits.
Relief to reduce evictions and other housing-related hardship
Many state and local governments are providing aid to help renters through their own rental assistance programs. These programs can help prevent evictions and other housing-related hardships. The most recent federal and state eviction moratoria have helped hold back evictions, but millions of households are still struggling.
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In December, the Trump Administration provided $25 billion in rental assistance to address the crisis. A portion of this funding will be used to help four to six million low-income households who are behind on their rent. Depending on the distribution of state and local funds, the actual number of households assisted may be much larger.
One in four low-income tenants are behind on their rent during the pandemic. This number has dropped by nearly 1 percent since the pandemic began, but it remains high. During the pandemic, wages decreased for many workers and rents increased.
As a result, many low-income renters were forced to choose between paying their rent and staying in their homes. The resulting economic downturn continues to impose severe hardships on millions of renters.
The eviction moratorium will remain in effect until January 15, 2022. Even then, thousands of tenants are expected to be left vulnerable to evictions.
However, the New York Homeowner Assistance Fund will provide financial support for delinquent housing payments and referrals to legal service providers. Applications are being accepted for the program only in certain counties.
$350 billion for COVID-19 relief
The American Rescue Plan (ARPA) of 2021 is an economic stimulus package that has been designed to help American families and small businesses. It was signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021.
The plan will provide an emergency boost to families and small businesses, protect essential workers, and provide a lifeline to communities hit by the COVID-19 virus. A 15-percent Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit increase will help 40 million Americans, prevent hunger, and prevent food insecurity.
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This funding will also be used for an expansion of the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. The program will be expanded to cover more non-qualified individuals, and will be extended through September 6.
In addition to the $350 billion in recovery funds, the American Rescue Plan Act includes $65.1 billion in direct aid to all counties and local governments. These funds will be used to improve decision-making processes, accelerate long-term economic mobility, and close racial gaps.
States and local governments will have a great deal of flexibility in how they spend these funds. They will be able to use them to support public health services, behavioral health services, and small businesses. Counties may use them to help pay for infrastructure, including water and sewer projects, and infrastructure pay-as-you-go. However, they cannot use them to fund legal settlements, pension programs, debt service, or rainy-day funds.
Funding is also available for the public health response, including building and testing infrastructure to combat variants of the COVID-19 virus. Specifically, CDC will receive $7.5 billion to prepare a COVID-19 vaccine, and FEMA will receive $7.5 billion to set up vaccination sites.
$10 billion for capital projects
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package that was passed in March of this year. It addresses an unprecedented health crisis and economic hardships and is designed to speed recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The bill also allocates $10 billion for capital projects to strengthen infrastructure and to improve public health. Funds will be used to expand broadband access, support public health and help alleviate economic hardships.
Applicants will have 90 days to submit their grant application through the Treasury Submission Portal. States, territories and tribes may apply for funding. They must submit a plan for a specific project and must demonstrate that the funds are eligible for use.
According to the Department of Treasury, broadband infrastructure is the key priority. A high-speed, affordable internet connection is critical to modern life. However, many Americans cannot access it. Many rural, tribal, and low-income communities do not have access. Therefore, they face impediments to their daily lives.
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As part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the Treasury has launched a Capital Projects Fund. This fund allows eligible recipients to invest in capital assets that promote learning, work and healthcare monitoring.
States, territories, and tribes may apply for Capital Projects Fund funding. Eligible applicants must submit an application, a grant plan, and a performance report. If a state or territory does not have a plan in place, it has until September 24, 2022 to develop one.
Increase in EITC for low-paid working adults
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has been a powerful tool for pulling people out of poverty and boosting wages. This federal program provides income support to about 17 million Americans, including low-paid workers and their families. Despite its success, the EITC still has some shortcomings. Among them, many Americans do not take advantage of the credit.
In addition to helping families pay their bills, the EITC provides a sizable tax time payment to low-wage workers. It is designed to increase the labor supply and increase the number of people working above the poverty line.
Currently, a maximum of 50% of the federal credit is available to workers who have no children. While this helps to create a mix of incentives for workers, it does not address the issue of young workers without children.
Young adults, especially those who are under 25 years old, are at the most risk of becoming underemployed. Approximately 21 percent of the young workforce were underemployed in 2020.
To combat the problem, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 expanded the EITC. The new law expanded the age and income limits for this credit and increased the income cap for workers without children from $16,000 to $21,000.
The expansions in the American Rescue Plan will provide much needed cash infusions to struggling families. However, it is important that Congress takes action to make the changes permanent.
Rental assistance for low-income renters
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 offers significant rental assistance to struggling families. The act includes provisions to provide $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers and another $21.5 billion to replenish the Emergency Rental Assistance Fund.
In addition to the federal relief, state and local governments are providing billions of dollars in rental aid. These programs help struggling renters make ends meet by covering the cost of their rent and utilities.
Rent relief is a vital resource for helping renters pay down their debt and avoid eviction. Eviction moratoriums have been put in place to protect tenants from getting evicted. However, this will not stop rent increases.
To receive rental aid, households must be at risk for homelessness or housing instability. They must also have incomes that are below 80% of the area median income (AMI).
For households with more than 30% of their gross monthly income paid toward rent, an additional three months of rental assistance may be available. Additionally, households can apply for up to twelve months of past-due rental and utility arrears.
ERAP is a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Coronavirus Relief Fund, and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Thousands of low-income households have been helped through this program.
In addition to providing rent relief, ERAP has prevented evictions and utility shutoffs. Tenants are also encouraged to keep their notices as proof of payments.