The American Rescue Plan Prevents Unemployment Insurance from Expiring, and Provides New Support to American Families and Workers
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) released detailed information on how the American Rescue Plan Act (H.R. 1319) will help support American workers and families who have been impacted by the pandemic, and promote a stronger economic recovery. The American Rescue Plan Act originated in the House of Representatives, and extends federal CARES Act unemployment benefits through September 6th, 2021 in order to protect Americans still experiencing unemployment and reduced hours due to COVID-19. Without H.R. 1319, these benefits were set to expire in just a few days—on the heels of the Department of Labor’s announcement that another 748,000 Americans had filed for first-time unemployment insurance just last week.
The American Rescue Plan Act will also provide $1,400 Economic Impact Payments to Americans who made $75,000 or less in 2020, and will support working families by strengthening and expanding the federal Child Tax Credit, and other important programs. Yesterday, President Biden signed the bill into law.
“The American Rescue Plan will get help where it’s needed, and fast,” Courtney said. “Eastern Connecticut has worked hard to stay ahead of the curve throughout the past year, we’re doing a great job, but working families need more gas in the tank to keep it going—we haven’t outstripped the economic fallout of this pandemic yet, by any economic or public health measure. This new round of funding will help keep workers and families solvent, and will help our communities continue to keep the economic recovery moving forward. My office is here to assist anyone in eastern Connecticut with questions about these payments, missing past payments, or anything else regarding benefits through the American Rescue Plan. Our offices have never closed, our phone lines are open, and we are here to help.”
The American Rescue Plan Act takes action to protect public health and support working families through the pandemic. Among its many provisions, the bill:
Prevents Federal Unemployment Insurance from Expiring
- Without the American Rescue Plan Act, federal pandemic Unemployment Insurance (UI) was set to expire on March 13, 2021.
- The CARES Act established several forms of pandemic relief for unemployed Americans:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- In Connecticut, all programs are managed by the CT Department of Labor
- H.R. 133, passed by Congress in December, increased FPUC payments by $300 for 11 weeks, provided an extra $100 a week for “mixed earners” (those with W2 and non-W2 earned income), and authorized 100% federal funding for the Shared Work Program. However, those provisions were set to expire this month on March 13st.
- The American Rescue Plan Act extends current UI benefits with a $300 increase in weekly benefits through September 6, 2021.
- Workers receiving UI in 2021 will automatically qualify for the highest possible Premium Tax Credit to buy health insurance on the exchange.
Authorizes a New Round of Economic Impact Payments
- The American Rescue Plan Act authorizes a new round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to support Americans and to help spur economic recovery.
- Checks of $1,400 per adult ($2,800 for joint filers), and $1,400 per dependent will be issued to Americans who made $75,000 or less in 2020, to heads of household making $112,500 or less, and to married couples filing jointly making $150,00 per year and under.
- For single-filers, the value of EIP is phased out between $75,000-$80,000, with a complete phaseout at $80,000. For heads of household, the complete phaseout is $120,000, and for joint filers the complete phaseout is $160,000.
- To be eligible for a payment, a person must have a Social Security Number, and must not be claimed as a dependent of any other taxpayer.
- The most recent tax return on record at the IRS will determine a person’s eligibility. If a person has already filed their taxes this year, the eligibility will be determined by 2020 income. If a person has not already filed, their 2019 income will determine their eligibility.
- Payments are expected to begin arriving electronically in the coming days, and will be sent by mail starting next week.
Provides New Support for Working Families
- H.R. 1319 increases the Child Tax Credit for working families, and increases the credit to $3,000 per eligible child for the 2021 tax year.
- The bill increases the credit to $3,600 per child for children under 6
- It increases the qualifying age of children by one year for 2021, allowing children to be eligible as long as they are under 18
- H.R. 1319 makes the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for 2021, meaning that taxpayers can receive the credit even if their tax bill is reduced to zero
- Single-filers making $75,000 a year or less, heads of household making $112,500 and under, and married couples making $150,000 per year or less, would qualify to receive the full value of the new credit, phased out when single filers have an income of $200,000 or married filers have an income of $400,000.
- Families will receive some of the credit as an advance on 2021 taxes. The IRS is required to strive to provide half of the tax credit in the form of an advanced periodic payment.
- The advance payments would not begin until July 1, 2021, and would only comprise half of the child tax credit that the taxpayer is eligible for; the rest would be claimed on the 2021 tax return.
- The American Rescue Plan Act also expands and bolsters the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- The bill increases the maximum credit for Childless EITC from $532 to $1,502—the largest EITC expansion since 2009
- It increases from $3,650 to $10,000 the amount an individual can earn from investments that is not counted toward income when determining EITC eligibility
- The bill reduces the minimum age to claim the Childless EITC from 25 to 19 (except for full-time students), and eliminates the upper age limit for EITC.
- H.R. 1319 also expands and strengthens the Child and Dependent Tax Credit (CDTC) to allow families to claim up to half of their childcare expenses
- The makes the CDTC fully refundable for the 2021 tax year, meaning that taxpayers can collect the support even if their tax bill is zero
- Increases the amount of child and dependent expenses are eligible for the credit. The bill increases dependent care costs from $3,000 to $8,000 for a single dependent, and from $6,000 to $16,000 for two or more dependents.
- These changes are only in effect for the 2021 calendar year
For more information on the House’s American Rescue Plan Act, click here. Over the next several days, Rep. Courtney will continue to provide detailed information on the rescue plan’s support for eastern Connecticut schools, for working Americans and families, small businesses and non-profits, and more.