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American Rescue Plan: Resources for Children and Families

Overview of the American Rescue Plan

  • $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill
  • Builds on CARES Act and December 2020 COVID relief bills
  • Provides economic relief to individuals, families, and communities dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 health emergency

Resources for Children and Families

Download our sharable handout.


Tax Credits

 

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

What?

Earned Income Tax Credit benefit increase, was $540 for childless workers, this year $1,500. Fully refundable.

Who can get it?

Workers 19 or older without children making no more than $21,000/year

How to access it:

File the federal income tax return in 2022

Child Tax Credit (CTC)

What?

Child Tax Credit (CTC) benefit increase, was $2,000 per child, now $3,000 per child age 6 to 17, $3,600 per child age 5 and below. Fully refundable.

Who can get it?

Parents of dependent children 17 or younger

How to access it:

Based on the taxes you filed in 2021, you may receive advance, monthly payments for your 2022 filing from July to December 2021. The IRS will be setting up a portal with more information; check back soon for updates as we learn more.

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC)

What?

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) increase, covers up to 50% of qualifying child care & dependent expenses (up from 35%), increases max credit to $4,000 from one dependent or $8,000 for two or more dependents.

Who can get it?

Parents of children under 13 can use the CDCTC to offset the costs of qualifying child care expenses on their taxes.

How to access it:

File the federal income tax return in 2022

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Unemployment Benefits

 

Unemployment Insurance

What?

Extends enhanced unemployment insurance (UI) until June 26*, 2021 including:

  • An added $300/week through Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
  • Insurance for gig workers, freelancers, people who are self-employed, & others who wouldn’t normally qualify for (UI)
  • Insurance for people who have exhausted state benefits through Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

*The federal benefit was set to expire by Sept. 6, 2021; however, Gov. Hutchinson determined Arkansas would no longer accept this benefit beyond June 26.

Who can get it?

People who are unemployed or working part time in certain circumstances

How to access it:

You can apply for unemployment benefits through the Department of Workforce Services website

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Food Assistance

 

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

What?

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food assistance benefits increase till Sept. 30, 2021, increases monthly funds to purchase fruit and vegetables from $9 to $35.

Who can get it?

Pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children under age 5 may qualify if they live in Arkansas, have a nutritional need, and an income at or below WIC guidelines, or receive Medicaid, ARKids, TEA or SNAP (Food Stamps).

How to access it:

Apply at your local county health unit. You must call ahead to make an appointment.

SNAP (formerly known as food stamps)

What?

Enhanced SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) benefits till Sept. 30, 2021, average monthly per person increase in Arkansas $28.

Who can get it?

People with qualifying income levels:

  • With a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001
  • Or with a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 who share their household with either:  A person or persons age 60 and over, or A person with a disability (a child, your spouse, a parent, or yourself).

How to access it:

Apply online at Access Arkansas or at your local DHS office. Spanish language support for completing your application can be provided by calling 1-800-482-8988.

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Housing Assistance

 

Housing Assistance

What?

Rental assistance, homelessness prevention, outreach for people who are homeless (through multiple programs)

Who can get it?

People who are at risk of becoming homeless and people who are homeless

How to access it:

Spread the word:

Arkansas DHS Arkansas Rent Relief Program Toolkit Guide for community partners and DHS Arkansas Rent Relief Program Toolkit Graphics.

Eviction Moratorium

What?

CDC Eviction Moratorium through June 30, 2021

Who can get it?

If you meet at least one criteria in each column, you qualify.

Column A

  • I received a stimulus check (Economic Impact Payment) in 2020 or 2021
  • I was not required to report any income to the IRS in 2020
  • In 2020 or 2021, I earned (or expect to earn) less than $99,000 as an individual or less than $198,000 as a joint filer. You are likely to have earned under this amount if you receive any of the following benefits:
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

None of the above — You do not qualify.

AND

Column B

I cannot pay my full rent or make a full housing payment because:

  • My household income has gone down substantially
  • I have been laid off from work
  • My work hours or wages have been cut
  • I have extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses

None of the above — You do not qualify.

How to access it:

Visit Center for Arkansas Legal Services website

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Health Care

 

Special Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Period

What?

Special Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Period through August 15, 2021 (executive order)

Who can get it?

People who want to enroll in a plan or change a Marketplace insurance plan

How to access it:

Apply at healthcare.gov

Spread the word:

If you work directly with families, please see this social media toolkit to help raise awareness about Marketplace programs, including the special enrollment period and Marketplace subsidies. It also includes messaging and graphics on COVID vaccinations.

Expanded Marketplace Premium Subsidies

What?

ACA marketplace premium subsidies are substantially enhanced for people at every income level and, for the first time, offered to those with income above four times the federal poverty level.

Who can get it?

When you apply for Marketplace coverage, you’ll find out if you qualify for a premium tax credit that lowers your monthly premium.

  • Income between 100% and 400% FPL: If your income is in this range, in all states you qualify for premium tax credits that lower your monthly premium for a Marketplace health insurance plan.
  • Income above 400% FPL: If your income is above 400% FPL, you may now qualify for premium tax credits that lower your monthly premium for a 2021 Marketplace health insurance plan.

How to access it:

Enroll a Marketplace plan (healthcare.gov) and file a federal tax return in 2021

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Other Assistance

 

Emergency Broadband Benefit

What?

This program will provide up to $50 per month for broadband services for eligible households and a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop, or tablet.

Who can get it?

A household that:

  • Has an income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
  • Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

How to access it:

Visit the Federal Communications Commission website for application information

Funeral expenses assistance

What?

Financial assistance for COVID-19 funeral expenses through FEMA

Who can get it?

The applicant must be a “U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien”, but the person who is deceased did not have to be. The person who is deceased must have passed away in the U.S. and their death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.

How to access it:

Call FEMA to apply 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

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Download our sharable handout.