Last Thursday, President Biden signed into law the third COVID-19 relief bill. Here’s what’s in it for Kentucky and Letcher County, specifically:
- $1400 stimulus checks for each person in a household. Full payments will go to individuals that make up to $75,000 per year or up to $150,000 per couple. People may have received their checks as soon as last weekend.
- The bill expands the child tax credit – a credit that is typically provided to families with children when filing their taxes. Prior to this legislation, families could receive a tax credit of up to $2000 per child. However, only $1400 of that was fully refundable and there was previously an earnings requirement. The amount refunded used to depend on how much earned income in excess of $2500 a family earned. This legislation removes the earnings requirement to ensure that families that are among the poorest 20% receive the full credit in spite of earning so little. The bill also increases the maximum tax credit to up to $3000 per child with an additional $600 for each child under the age of 6 and will pay out half of the credit to families via cash installments between July – December 2021.
- Kentucky K-12 schools will receive $2.2 billion in funding. The largest one-time federal investment in our schools in U.S. history. The Kentucky legislature has continually cut funding for public education over the last 10 years. This federal aid will support schools and students improve distance learning, make in-person classroom instruction safer, and provide funds for addressing learning losses and trauma.
- Aid for local and state governments. Letcher County will receive over $4.1 million and the cities of Whitesburg and Jenkins will each receive over $500,000 to be used to:
- Respond to negative economic impacts of COVID-19 on households and small businesses
- Supplement pay to essential public workers
- Provide government services that have been impacted by reduced tax revenue
- Invest in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure
- Extension of jobless benefits for individuals that have lost their jobs or worked for reduced hours due to the pandemic. Kentucky still has 92,400 fewer jobs than it did prior to the pandemic and unemployment remains historically high.
- Kentucky will receive $185 million to invest in infrastructure projects that will “directly enable work, education, and health monitoring.”
- Reduces the cost of health insurance for many Kentuckians that have plans purchased through the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces.
- The bill extends the 15% increase in SNAP benefits through September. There are 625,000 Kentuckians that receive these benefits.
- Funding to increase COVID-19 testing, contract tracing, and vaccine distribution.
For more information see this blog by Kentucky Center for Economic Policy: What’s in the American Rescue Plan for Kentuckians – Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (kypolicy.org)