How will South Bronx residents benefit from the $1.9 trillion federal relief package?

Stimulus Checks – Stimulus checks of $1,400 will be sent directly to qualifying Bronx residents or into any direct deposit account they already have on file with the IRS.  Some payments could arrive as soon as this week, according to the IRS. Individuals who earn less than $75,000 annually will qualify. Married couples who earn less than $150,000 jointly qualify, as do couples with only one wage earner bringing in less than $115,000. The amount tapers off for those with incomes above those amounts, ending at $80,000 for individuals at $160,000 for married couples.  Additionally, families that qualify for a stimulus payment will receive a separate $1,400 payment per child or adult dependent. It is estimated that the average family of four that qualifies will receive up to $5,600 in direct payments.

Unemployment Insurance – The package will bring an additional $300 in unemployment benefits per week, to add onto state and federal unemployment benefits that individuals are currently receiving. The bill will also extend Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to non-traditional workers like freelancers, gig-workers and the self-employed. These funds and protections will run through September 6, 2021.  For people who received unemployment benefits during 2020, up to $10,200 in benefits will be excluded from taxable income.

Child Tax Credit – Child tax credits will increase $2,000 to $3,000 per child, and to $3,600 per child under the age of 6. This expansion is expected to lift 680,000 children in New York State to above or close to the poverty line. This initiative was a key issue for U.S. Rep. Richie Torres, who represents the Bronx. Torres would like to see this provision be a permanent fixture, rather than a change authorized under the law for only one year.  Normally, payments from the child tax credit program are distributed once a year.  Under the new program, payments will be sent to families monthly, to provide more immediate assistance.

Education & Child Care – $9 Billion will be sent to the state of New York public schools, which will be used to help school districts safely transition to in-person learning. Some of these funds will be targeted towards learning loss from the past year, and other learning inequities that were exposed by the pandemic. There will be $1.8 Billion in helping support child care centers across New York State, which will help ensure parents can keep working while having their children looked after.

Targeted Restaurant Relief – South Bronx eateries and bars will benefit from the RESTAURANTS Act which will provide funds to one of the hardest hit New York industries. The move will specifically target individual restaurants and restaurant groups that have less than 20 locations. The new relief funding to locally owned restaurants can be used to cover payroll, rent, mortgages, outdoor seating construction, paid leave, and other expenses. Restaurant groups are eligible for up to $10 million in funds, $5 million for individual restaurants.

Fighting COVID-19 – The bill will send close to $4 billion to New York State to help with vaccine distribution, as well as continued testing and support for healthcare providers.

Additional Funds-

  • In total, the City of New York’s government will receive $6.1 billion to fund essential services and government programs, and offset the anticipated loss in tax revenue from residents and businesses as a result of the pandemic.
  • An additional $6.5 billion in funds will be sent to the MTA.
  • The relief package includes another $632 million to help with a comprehensive broadband connection program throughout the state, intended to help students and educators who do not have direct internet access.

A fuller description of the relief package can be found in a news release issued by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York, following passage of the landmark legislation.

 

 

 

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