The American Rescue Plan

The House of Representatives has passed and the President has signed the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion relief package to address the unprecedented COVID-19 public health and economic crisis. This legislation will accelerate vaccine distribution, speed the opening of schools, provide direct support to millions of struggling Americans, and dramatically lower health care costs for middle class families. Tom voted in favor of the bill. Click here to learn more about the bill, and click here to learn how the American Rescue Plan will help people like you.

Tom recently hosted a Telephone Town Hall on the American Rescue Plan. Residents received information on how to take advantage of the bill’s benefits and had the opportunity to ask questions and share their comments. Click here to listen to a full recording of the telephone town hall.

 

How the American Rescue Plan Will Help
New Jersey Families
 

Direct Payments to Working Families

  • Direct payment of $1,400 for individuals making up $75,000, head of household filers with incomes up to $112,500, and joint filers with incomes up to $150,000. 

    • Eligible families will also receive an additional $1,400 payment per child and adult dependent, amounting to $5,600 for an average family of four.

    • Direct payments will be sent to an estimated 4.7 million adults and 1.8 million children in New Jersey.

    • Click here for more information on the 2021 Economic Impact Payments

    • To check the status of your direct payment, visit the IRS Get My Payment App located here.

If you are seeking assistance with the IRS, our office may be able to help. Please fill out the form at https://malinowski.house.gov/help-federal-agency. While we cannot guarantee you a favorable outcome, we will do our best to help you receive a fair and timely response to your problem.

 

Expanding the Child Tax Credit

The American Rescue Plan’s expansion of the Child Tax Credit will substantially reduce child poverty by supplementing the earnings of families receiving the tax credit. These changes will lift 10 million American children out of poverty, including an estimated 89,000 children in New Jersey. Specifically, the Child Tax Credit has been revised in the following ways:

  • The credit amount has been increased. The American Rescue Plan increased the amount of the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under age 6, and $3,000 for other children under age 18.

  • The credit’s scope has been expanded. Children 17 years old and younger, as opposed to 16 years old and younger, will now be covered by the Child Tax Credit.

    • An estimated 1.6 million New Jersey children benefit from the expanded credit, including around 560,000 children who previously did not qualify for the benefit.

  • Credit amounts will be made through advance payments during 2021. Individuals eligible for a 2021 Child Tax Credit will receive advance payments of the individual’s credit, which the IRS and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service will make through periodic payments from July 1, to December 31, 2021. This change will allow struggling families to receive financial assistance now, rather than waiting until the 2022 tax filing season to receive the Child Tax Credit benefit.

  • The credit is now fully refundable. By making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable, low- income households will be entitled to receive the full credit benefit, as significantly expanded and increased by the American Rescue Plan.

Click here to see if your family qualifies. 

 

Extending Unemployment Benefits

  • Extends the $300 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) through September 6, 2021. 

  • Waives federal income taxes on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 by households making less than $150,000. Click here to learn about how this applies to your 2020 income taxes.

  • To apply for unemployment insurance, and to learn more about unemployment programs through the New Jersey Department of labor, visit https://www.myunemployment.nj.gov 

    • If you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or gig worker, click here for additional guidance on how to file for PUA in New Jersey.

If you are seeking assistance with the New Jersey Department of labor, our office may be able to help. Please fill out the form at https://malinowski.house.gov/help-federal-agency. While we cannot guarantee you a favorable outcome, we will do our best to help you receive a fair and timely response to your problem.
 

Expanding Health Coverage and Lowering Americans’ Healthcare Costs

  • Significantly expands the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces to cover more middle class families and to be more generous for those already receiving them, for 2021 and 2022. Specifically, it removes the current cap that makes any family with income above 400% of the poverty level ineligible for any subsidies. Under the bill, no one will have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for a silver plan in the ACA marketplaces. It also provides that individuals below 150% ($19,140 a year for an individual or $39,300 for a family of four ) of the poverty level pay no premiums 5 at all compared to 4% of their income currently. The Urban Institute estimates that these provisions could lead to 4.5 million more Americans gaining coverage. 

    • In New Jersey an estimated 100,000 uninsured people will be newly eligible for tax credits and 13,800 uninsured people will be newly eligible for $0 dollar benchmark Marketplace coverage.

  • Provides that any individual who receives unemployment at any point in 2021 is treated as if their income were 133% of the poverty level for the purposes of the ACA marketplace subsidy. As a result, they can purchase an ACA silver plan for zero premium. 

  • Provides a 100% subsidy for individuals who lose their job and choose to use COBRA to continue their existing employer-sponsored health coverage. Currently, those who would like to choose COBRA are required to pay the full cost of their coverage, including the employer contribution, making the cost prohibitive and preventing many from doing so.

  • For example:

    • Uninsured couples earning over $70,000 could save more than$1,000 per month on their monthly premium. 

    • A family of four making $90,000 will see their premiums decrease by $200 per month. 

    • An individual making $19,000 will be able to find health insurance coverage with no monthly premium, saving roughly $66 per month on average.

Increased premium tax credits based on the lower income contribution percentage along with expanding tax credit access to consumers with household incomes above 400%, will be available through https://www.nj.gov/getcoverednj/ starting on April 1. This means that new consumers and current enrollees who submit an application and select a plan on or after April 1 will receive the increased premium tax credits for 2021 Marketplace coverage. Extra tax credits for consumers receiving unemployment compensation will be available starting this summer. For more information and for answers to frequently asked questions click here.
 

GetCoveredNJ is working to implement these benefits as soon as possible. To learn more about these changes and how they will provide relief for New Jerseyans click here.
 

In April, Tom hosted a virtual briefing to discuss the recent changes to the state’s health care exchange. Tom was joined by Marlene Caride, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. Watch a recording of the briefing by clicking here.

 

Supporting Small Businesses and Nonprofits

  • Increases funding for the Paycheck Protection Program by $7.25 billion and expands eligibility of 501(c) nonprofits of all sizes and types, except for 501(c)4 lobbying organizations. More information about the program can be found at the Small Business Administration’s website here.

  • Creates the Restaurant Revitalization Fund at the SBA to offer $28.66 billions of assistance to restaurants and bars hard hit by the pandemic. $5 billion is set aside specifically for smaller establishments with less than $500,000 in 2019 annual revenue. During the first 21 days, applications from restaurants owned and operated by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals will receive priority.

  • Provides an additional $15 Billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program to help those who applied for relief in 2020 but did not receive the full $10,000 grant.

  • Provides $10 billion for the State Small Business Credit Initiative to support up to $100 billion in small business financing through state, territorial, and tribal government programs. Of this amount, $2.5 billion is dedicated for support to business enterprises owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including minority-owned businesses.

Learn about all of these programs and more by clicking here.

Representative Malinowski’s office is here to assist small business owners. If you need assistance with the Small Business Administration, please fill out the form at https://malinowski.house.gov/help-federal-agency. While we cannot guarantee you a favorable outcome, we will do our best to help you receive a fair and timely response to your problem.
 

Funding for Schools and Childcare

  • Helps K-12 schools re-open safely by providing nearly $130 billion to states and school districts for immediate and long term relief so they can work with public health experts to safely re-open schools and make up for lost time in the classroom. This includes, repairing ventilation systems, reducing class sizes and implementing social distancing guidelines, purchasing personal protective equipment, and hiring support staff to care for students’ health and well-being. The bill also ensures 20 percent of the funding that schools receive must be reserved to address and remediate learning loss among students. 

    • New Jersey will receive an estimated $2,764,588,000 for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

  • Includes nearly $40 billion for institutions of higher education to help make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic. Requires institutions to dedicate at least half of their funding for emergency financial aid grants to students to help prevent hunger, homelessness and other hardships facing students as a result of the pandemic. 

    • New Jersey will receive an estimated $895,648,000 for higher education institutions.

  • Makes any future student loan forgiveness passed between December 2020 and January 2026 not taxable income. 

  • Provides $39 billion through the Child Care and Development Block Grant for child care providers as the country reopens and provides financial relief for families struggling to cover tuition.  

    • This includes an estimated $697,000,000 in supplemental funding for child care in New Jersey, and $16,007,000 in emergency funding for Head Start.

  • Makes a number of improvements to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for 2021 including increasing the amount of child and dependent care expenses that are eligible for the credit to $8,000 for one qualifying individual and $16,000 for two or more qualifying individuals (such that the maximum credits would now be $4,000 and $8,000).  
     

Assistance to State and Local Governments

  • Provides $350 billion for new Coronavirus Relief Funds for states, localities, the U.S. Territories, and the Tribal Governments to help keep critical workers on the job. These critical workers include frontline healthcare workers, police, firefighters, transit workers, teachers, EMS, and other vital workers who help keep us safe. Other eligible categories for use of these funds includes investing in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, as well as premium pay of up to $13 an hour in additional wages for workers performing an essential function in the pandemic. The funds cannot be used for pensions or for tax cuts. 

    • New Jersey will receive an estimated $6.31 billion in state fiscal relief and $3.47 billion in local fiscal relief.

    • It is estimated that each county in NJ-07 will receive the following:

      • Essex – $463,755,447.40

      • Hunterdon – $36,337,238.43

      • Morris – $144,027,548.45

      • Somerset – $96,473,286

      • Union – $221,424,473.19

      • Warren – $30,760,610.26

    • To view an estimated total of what your municipality will be receiving through the American Rescue Plan, click here.

 

Housing Assistance

  • Provides $27.5 billion for emergency rental assistance, including $22.5 billion for emergency rental and utility assistance to states, territories, counties, and cities to help stabilize renters during the pandemic, and help rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs.

  • Provides $10 Billion for the Homeowner Assistance Fund that allocates funds to states, territories, and tribes to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs. 

  • Provides $4.75 billion for state and local governments – through the HOME Investment Partnership program – to finance supportive services, affordable housing and the acquisition of noncongregate shelter spaces for the hundreds of thousands of Americans experiencing homelessness during this pandemic.

  • Provides $4.5 billion to HHS for home energy assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  
     

Extending and Improving Other Tax Credits

  • Increases the amount of child and dependent care expenses that are eligible for the credit to $8,000 for one qualifying individual and $16,000 for two or more qualifying individuals (such that the maximum credits would now be $4,000 and $8,000). 

  • Raises the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit for childless adults from roughly $530 to close to $1,500, raises the income limit for the credit from about $16,000 to about $21,000, and eliminates the age cap for older workers, for 2021. This step will benefit more than 17 million low-income workers like cashiers and delivery drivers. 

  • Extends through December 31, 2021, the Employee Retention Credit, created by the CARES Act, which expired on December 31, 2020. The Senate bill also added certain improvements to the credit including better helping start-up businesses and expanding the credit to include employees who are working but whose businesses have suffered a significant revenue loss.

  • Extends, from March 31, 2021 to September 30, 2021, the payroll tax credit for employers created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for use to help employers defray the costs of the paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave required for employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic under that Act.  
     

Establishing a National COVID-19 Vaccination Program and Increasing Vaccinations Across the Country

  • Provides over $20 billion to establish a national COVID-19 vaccination program and improves the administration and distribution of vaccinations, including:  

    • $7.5 billion for FEMA to establish vaccination sites across the country. 

    • Provides $5.2 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support advanced research, development, manufacturing, production, and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, and ancillary medical products for COVID-19.  

    • $1 billion for the CDC to undertake a vaccine awareness and engagement campaign.
       

Scaling Up COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing, and Mitigation

  • Provides $51 billion to expand testing, contact tracing, and mitigation and related activities, including: 

    • $47.8 billion for testing, contact tracing, and mitigation. These activities include implementing a national strategy for testing, contact tracing, surveillance, and mitigation; and the manufacturing, procurement, distribution, and administration of tests, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies necessary for administration of the tests.

    • Funds the Defense Production Act to close the gap in domestic manufacturing to fulfill U.S. public health needs. Specifically, the bill provides $10 billion to boost domestic production of critical PPE, secure supply chains and increased capacity for vital vaccine production and to help onshore production of rapid COVID-19 tests. 

    • Provides $1.75 billion for genomic surveillance so that the U.S. can begin to adequately detect and respond to emerging and potentially more dangerous strains of SARS-COV-2 throughout the world. This infrastructure will also be critical to responding to future viral outbreaks.

    • Provides $500 million to allow CDC to establish, expand, and maintain data surveillance and analytics, including to modernize the United States’ disease warning system to forecast and track hotspots for COVID-19.  
       

Improving Worker Safety & Workers’ Compensation Coverage

  • Strengthens workplace protections for essential workers by providing $200 million in funding to the Department of labor, helping to continue UI oversight and OSHA enforcement. 

  • Establishes a presumption that COVID-19 is work-related and authorizes eligibility for medical benefits, lost wages and survivor benefits for federal and postal workers.  
     

Supporting Veterans and Servicemembers

  • Ensures veterans will not have any copays or cost-sharing for preventative treatment or services related to COVID-19 going back to April 2020 and authorizes the VA to reimburse those veterans who already submitted payments for their care during this period. 

  • Ensures veterans will not have any copays or cost-sharing for preventative treatment or services related to COVID-19 going back to April 2020 and authorizes the VA to reimburse those veterans who already submitted payments for their care during this period. 

  • Provides nearly $400 million for up to 12 months of retraining assistance for veterans who are unemployed as a result of the pandemic and do not have access to other veteran education benefits. This funding covers the cost of the rapid retraining program as well as a housing allowance for enrolled veterans.  

  • Includes $272 million for the VA to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the benefits claims and appeals backlog. 

  • Provides emergency paid sick leave for VA’s frontline and essential health workers.  
     

Supporting Transit/Airline Industry & Workers

  • Provides $30 billion for transit agencies, including New Jersey transit, to prevent, prepare and respond to the continued threat of the pandemic. Transit ridership plummeted 79 percent in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Provides $1.7 billion to keep Amtrak fully operational through the end of FY 2021, ending worker furloughs and restoring full service. 

  • Provides emergency assistance to airports and helps protect aviation industry jobs including:

    • $8 billion to support airports across the country as well as airport concessions and their employees.  

    • $15 billion to extend the Payroll Support Program through September 30, 2021 stopping furloughs and layoffs for workers employed by passenger airlines and contractors servicing air carriers at airports.  

    • $3 billion in temporary payroll support for U.S. aerospace manufacturing companies to help cover the wages, salaries and benefits of manufacturing employees most at risk of being furloughed or laid off as a result of the pandemic. 
       

Additional Resources

American Rescue Plan Fact Sheet (White House)

ARP: American Women (White House)

ARP: Black Communities (White House)

ARP: Latino Communities (White House)

ARP: Native American Communities (White House)

General COVID Resources

Important Contact Information

  • New Jersey has a 24-Hour Hotline where trained healthcare professionals will be available to answer your questions on coronavirus. Call 1-800-962-1253 or text NJCOVID to 898-211.

Testing Locations

  • COVID-19 testing is available to everyone in New Jersey. To find a testing site near you and learn about site requirements, click here.

Vaccine Eligibility and Locations

  • Visit our COVID-19 vaccine page located here.

Contact Tracing

  • COVID Alert NJ is New Jersey's free and secure mobile app that anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app also provides users with up-to-date information on New Jersey reopening news, key COVID-19 metrics, and a user-friendly symptom tracking tool. COVID Alert NJ uses Bluetooth proximity technology. The app will never record any identifying data. All users will remain anonymous. Click here to download and learn more about the COVID Alert NJ app. 

Further Information

New information is coming out every day, please visit the sites below to stay up to date.

The Centers for Disease Control provides updates and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals.

The New Jersey State Government has launched an information hub that provides the latest updates and resources. 

The State Department provides a list of the latest travel advisories.

The IRS has a website that provides tips for taxpayers and tax pros, and a frequently asked questions section. 

The Social Security Administration has a website with information related to their services during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • All SSA field offices are currently closed and as a result you should expect service delays. You can still reach the SSA by phone and can identify your local field office here