Earlier this week, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, and real relief is finally on its way to the American people. Once implemented, this historic legislation will put more money into the pockets of working families, help our children return to school safely, ensure everyone who wants to be can be vaccinated, and finally put this vicious virus behind us. Specifically, the bill will provide:
- Direct relief in the form of a $1,400 check to 85% of households – over five million households in the Commonwealth;
- $3,000 Child Tax Credit for the vast majority of American families;
- Up to $4,000 to recoup the cost of child care;
- Extended unemployment benefits;
- $20 billion for improving vaccine administration and distribution;
- $126 billion to reopen k-12 schools safely, $40 billion for early care and education, and $40 billion for higher education; and
- $13.7 billion to prevent layoffs of firefighters, law enforcement officers, public health staff, and other critical workers in Pennsylvania – a total of $350 billion nationally.
The law also contains provisions that I am proud to have authored to improve the lives of children and aid older Pennsylvanians and individuals with disabilities:
Investing in Home and Community-Based Services: $12.667 billion to expand Medicaid home and community-based services. States may use these funds to recruit and train workers, purchase personal protective equipment and testing supplies, offer wage increases and benefits, or reduce wait lists among seniors and people with disabilities who wish to receive home-based care.
Saving Lives in Nursing Homes: $500 million for nursing home strike teams to manage COVID-19 outbreaks, and another $200 million for technical assistance on infection control and vaccinations.
Vaccinating Seniors Against COVID-19 and Helping Grandfamilies: More than $1.4 billion for vaccination outreach, education, and transportation to appointments for seniors, to help reduce social isolation for those restricted to their homes and to pay for home-delivered and congregate meals. I also secured a new resource center to support grandparents raising grandchildren.
Reducing Child Care Costs for American Families: Expansion and improvements to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit will allow households to recoup up to half the cost of child or dependent care. Working parents will be able to receive up to $4,000 for child care expenses for one child or up to $8,000 for two or more kids.
Supporting Foster and Homeless Youth: An expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that will allow working former foster youth and homeless youth to claim the EITC as soon as they age out of the foster care system as full-time students.
For more information on how the American Rescue Plan may impact you or your family and on how to access the benefits associated with it, please go to https://casey.senate.gov/coronavirus.