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Senator Murphy is committed to making sure Connecticut residents have the resources and information they need in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. If you have questions or assitance, please contact our office

Click here to sign up for Senator Murphy's weekly coronavirus email updates. 


For information on how Connecticut is addressing the pandemic and guidance from Governor Lamont, please visit

For the most up-to-date information on the virus and public health recommendations, visit the CDC's website at

For the most up-to-date information on eligibility, access, and support to help you get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Connecticut, please visit


Congress has passed multiple relief packages to help address the impact of coronavirus and its economic fallout. Most recently, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion relief package that President Biden signed into law on March 11, 2021.

To help answer some of the many questions people have about what is in these bills and how they can get assistance, my office put together this FAQ. This page will continue to be updated as additional resources and applications become available.


The IRS will provide additional information on stimulus checks here. Their FAQs have recently been updated and can be found here.

Individuals can visit Get My Payment on the IRS website to check on their payment status or call the IRS Hotline at 1-800-919-9835 if they are still waiting for their check.

If your 2019 tax return has not yet been processed visit this IRS webpage with special instructions to validate your 2020 electronic tax return. 

Who qualifies to receive a check?

  • Individuals with adjusted gross income (“AGI”) under $75,000 will qualify for $1,400. Payments begin to phase out and would be zero for AGIs of $80,000 or more. These amounts are doubled for joint filers. Heads of household phase out at AGIs between $112,500 and 120,000. Couples phase out at AGIs between $150,000 and $160,000.
  • Payments are made based on 2019 or 2020 tax returns.
  • These payments are available to anyone with a Social Security Number, including those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable, means-tested benefit programs, such as Social Security or Social Security Disability Insurance. Direct payments will also be made to mixed-status households and provides immigrant families with access to this financial relief.
  • The new legislation expands to dependents who are full-time students younger than 24 and adult dependents.

How much will I receive?

  • Each eligible adult and child in a household will receive $1,400. This means that a family of four consisting of two adults and two children would receive $5,600.
  • These payments would begin to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 and would be zero for AGIs of $80,000 or more. These amounts are doubled for joint filers.

How do I claim my check?

  • The stimulus will be paid out automatically as advance refunds (in the form of checks or direct deposit) if you filed your 2019 or 2020 tax returns (The IRS may use your 2018 return, if a 2019 return has not yet been filed, or your form SSA-1099).
  • Non-filers should click here to claim their stimulus payment.

How long will it take for the check to be delivered?

  • The Treasury will begin processing payments as soon as possible.
  • If you have not received a previous payment, you may be able to receive the payment as a refundable credit— the Recovery Rebate Credit—when you file your 2020 income tax return. The IRS has information on this credit here.

Why am I getting “Payment Status Not Available?”

The Get My Payment application will return "Payment Status Not Available" for several reasons, including:

  • You are required to file a tax return, but the IRS hasn’t finished processing your 2019 return or the “Get my payment” tool doesn’t have your data yet;
  • You’re a non-filer and the IRS has not processed your “Enter Payment Info Here” entry yet
  • You receive SSI or VA benefits, as that information has not been loaded into the IRS system
  • You are not eligible for payment. 

The IRS updates the “Get my payment” tool once per day and has recently updated the system, so you should check to see if your status has changed.

Will I be taxed on this check?

  • The stimulus payment is treated like other refundable tax credits and not considered income, so it will not be taxed.

Will I be eligible if I have a lien against me, but I am in non-collect status?

  • Yes, stimulus payments will not be subject to garnishment unless back child support is owed and has been reported to the federal government.

Do these stimulus payments need to be repaid?

  • No, these do not need to be repaid. If you experienced income loss in 2020 or if you have an increase in family size, you may be able to claim an additional credit of the difference when you file your 2020 federal income tax return in 2021 or 2022.

Are seniors eligible?

  • Seniors who have a SSN qualify for the stimulus check, even if their only income is from Social Security.
  • Seniors will receive $1,400 if their adjusted gross income is under $75,000. These payments are considered refundable tax credits and therefore are not taxable.

Am I eligible for unemployment?

  • In general, if you have been laid off from your full- or part-time job for reasons related to COVID-19, you are eligible for UI. Similarly, in general, if you cannot work for reasons related to COVID-19 and you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or working in the “gig economy,” you are also eligible, though you will need to provide documentation to prove your eligibility. The Department of Labor will specify what documentation you need to provide to prove eligibility.

What is the benefit?

  • The exact amount you can receive through unemployment depends on your previous earnings and what you receive from the state, but between now and September 6, 2021, an additional $300 will be added to every unemployment compensation check, so no one will receive less than $300 per week. You can apply for unemployment insurance through the Connecticut Department of Labor here.
  • The American Rescue Plan passed in March 2021 extended the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, with expanded coverage to the self-employed, gig workers, and others in nontraditional employment.  If you have already applied for unemployment insurance, you will not need to apply again.  Through the PUA, you are also eligible for the additional $300 per week.  If you have not applied, you can do so here.
  • With the newest extensions to September 6, 2021, UI and PUA eligible recipients can now receive up to 53 weeks of benefits between state programs and PEUC available through September 6, 2021. After September 6, 2021, new claimants will not be eligible for the extra weeks of benefits, but individuals who had been receiving benefits as of September 6, 2021, will be eligible to continue to receive benefit payments.
  • The American Rescue Plan included tax relief for the first $10,200 on unemployment benefits for 2020. The IRS will be releasing guidance on navigating tax filing soon.
  • Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation: Individuals who receive at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income now will receive an additional $100 weekly benefit, in addition to the benefit amounts they otherwise would be entitled to receive from traditional employment under state law.

For a detailed small business owner’s guide please click here.

For information about SBA loan products, including new COVID-19-related loans, click here.

For information about the sick leave and emergency family leave mandates, click here.

What relief is included for small businesses?

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The American Rescue Plan increases funding for the PPP by $7.25 billion to $813.7 billion to provide small businesses, nonprofits, and other entities with loans of up to $10 million based on average monthly payroll costs. This temporary emergency assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Treasury can be used in coordination with other COVID-financing assistance established in the law or any other existing SBA loan program. The PPP offers up to eight weeks of average payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments to be forgiven if the business retains its employees and their salary levels. Principal and interest payments can be deferred for six months, and all SBA borrower fees are waived.
  • The American Rescue Plan also extends provisions for small businesses to apply for a second PPP loan of up to $2 million for smaller, harder-hit businesses that employ not more than 300 employees, demonstrate a loss of 25% of gross receipts in any quarter during 2020 compared to the same quarter in 2019, and have used the full amount of their first PPP before a second loan is disbursed.
  • Critically, Congress extended dedicated funding for loans issued by mission-lenders, including community development financial institutions (CDFIs), minority-depository institutions (MDIs), and SBA 504 and Microlenders, as well as a set-aside for certain smaller depository institutions, such as credit unions and farm credit institutions. Eligible small businesses and nonprofits seeking initial PPP and second draw loans should contact an eligible PPP lender. A list of approved lenders is available on SBA’s website here.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): Congress made COVID-19 related economic injury an eligible expense for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) in the first COVID-19 package in early March 2020. EIDLs provide up to $150,000 that can be used to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including working capital needs such as fixed debt and payroll and other operating expenses. COVID-19-related EIDLs have an interest rate of 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. EIDLs also have an automatic one-year deferment on repayment (the first payment is not due for one full year, although interest does accrue).
  • Eligible entities include businesses with 500 or fewer employees, sole proprietorships (with or without employees), independent contractors, cooperatives, employee-owned business, tribal businesses, and agricultural enterprises with 500 or fewer employees. Private nonprofit organizations of any size are also eligible, if they have a ruling letter from the IRS granting tax exemption under Sections 501(c), (d), or (e).
  • Starting the week of April 6, 2021, SBA is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from 6-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000. Existing borrowers will also be able to request an increase beginning on April 6. The SBA will provide updated instructions in the coming days.
  • Emergency Economic Injury Grant (EEIG): The American Rescue plan included additional funding for these grants, which are an advance of $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that apply for an SBA economic injury disaster loan (EIDL). The American Rescue Plan has a specific set aside of $15 billion to cover entities that didn’t receive their full eligible advance payments under the 2020 year-end COVID-19 relief package. Eligible entities must show economic losses of at least 30% over eight weeks compared with a similar period before the pandemic. These include businesses that either did not receive grants in the past or ones that received a smaller amount than they requested.
  • The $10,000 economic injury grant does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EIDL, and may be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, or meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions
  • The American Rescue Plan provides $15 billion in additional targeted funding for eligible entities in low-income communities through the EIDL Advance program from Section 1110 of the CARES Act. The bill makes entities in low-income communities, as defined in section 45D(e) of the Internal Revenue Code, that received an EIDL Advance under the CARES Act eligible to receive an amount equal to the difference of what the entity received under the CARES Act and $10,000. It also provides $10,000 grants to eligible applicants in low-income communities that did not secure grants because funding had run out. Eligible small businesses and nonprofits seeking to participate in the EIDL Advance program should contact the SBA.
  • Restaurant Grants: The American Rescue Plan provides $28.6 billion for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund administered by the SBA. Eligible recipients include restaurants, bars, food trucks, and caterers, including businesses in airport terminals and tribally owned entities. There is a set aside for the first 60 days after ARP signed into law for entities with gross revenue of $500,000 or less in 2019 and the SBA will prioritize awards for small businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially or economically disadvantaged individuals. Grant amounts would cover the difference between an entity’s revenue in 2020 compared with 2019. The total grant amount for an eligible business is capped at $10 million. Restaurant Revitalization Fund awards would be reduced by amounts received through the PPP.
  • Eligible expenses are similar to PPP but include restaurant specific expenses such as: payroll; principal or interest on mortgage obligations; rent; utilities; maintenance including construction to accommodate outdoor seating; supplies such as protective equipment and cleaning materials; normal food and beverage inventory; certain covered supplier costs; operational expenses; paid sick leave; and any other expenses that the SBA determines to be essential to maintaining operations. For more information, view the SBA’s website here.
  • Shuttered Venue Operator Grants: The American Rescue Plan provided an additional $1.25 billion, for a total of $16.25 billion, for live venue operators, promoters, theatrical producers, independent motion pictures, theatre operators, talent representatives, and museum operators to cover expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities, and personal protective equipment. Eligible entities need to show that they suffered a 25% decline in revenue between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. Businesses are able to obtain grants of up to 45 percent of their annual 2019 gross earned revenue, capped at $10 million. The SBA is slated to begin taking applications on Thursday, April 8
  • Refundable tax credits: Refundable tax credits are available for private-sector employers that are required to offer coronavirus-related paid leave to employees. The IRS will be posting information soon on these credits on its website (, including information on how to obtain advance payment of these credits.
  • Payroll taxes: The employer-side of certain payroll taxes are deferred through the end of 2021. Deferred taxes will not become due until end of 2021 and end of 2022, with 50% of the liability being paid at each date. Any business that does not have a loan forgiven through the new SBA Paycheck Protection Program is eligible for payroll tax deferral. 
  • Employee retention tax credit: Businesses that do not receive a PPP loan are eligible for the Employee Retention Credit. The Employee Retention Credit is a fully refundable tax credit for employers that must fully or partially suspend their business or experience a significant decline in gross receipts due to COVID-19. The credit is equal to 50 percent of qualified wages (including allocable qualified health plan expenses) that Eligible Employers pay their employees, up to $10,000 per employee. For more information, please see the IRS FAQ on the Employee Retention Credit.

What are the new paid sick leave and paid emergency family leave requirements for small businesses?

  • The American Rescue Plan extended through September 30 tax credits for employer-provided paid sick and family leave, which were first established under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act. In addition, the American Rescue Plan increased the wages covered by the paid family leave credit to $12,000 per worker, from $10,000 and will cover as many as 60 days of paid family leave for self-employed individuals, instead of 50.
  • The bill also expands the paid leave credits, including for self-employed individuals, to cover COVID-19 vaccinations or wait times for test results or diagnoses. 
  • A detailed FAQ page from the U.S. Department of Labor concerning the new mandates and other employment issues related to COVID-19 can be found here. A fact sheet for employers can be found here.
  • To cover the costs of complying with these mandates, employers will receive refundable tax credits. The Treasury Department has indicated that the tax credits will be made available in advance, and the Department will soon be issuing instructions on how to obtain advance payment of these credits.

Is my small business eligible for relief?

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): This relief is available for small businesses, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, 501(c)(6) 501(c)(19) veterans organizations, local newspapers, TV and radio stations, public broadcasters, housing cooperatives, or Tribal businesses with not more than 500 employees that were in operation on February 15, 2020. It is also available to sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals.
  • Small Business Administration Loans: This relief will be available to existing SBA loan borrowers and new borrowers who take out an SBA loan within six months since the president signed the law. Each program has different requirements; go here for more details.
  • Emergency Economic Injury Grants: The grant is available to small businesses, private nonprofits, sole proprietors and independent contractors, tribal businesses, as well as cooperatives and employee-owned businesses that have applied for an EIDL. Eligible grant recipients must have been in operation on January 31, 2020.
  • Refundable tax credits: The law makes the credits available for private-sector employers that are required to offer coronavirus related paid leave to employees.
  • Payroll taxes: Any business that does not have a loan forgiven under the new SBA Paycheck Protection Program is eligible for the payroll tax deferral.
  • Employee retention tax credit: The law provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid by employers to furloughed or reduced-hour employees during the COVID-19 crisis for businesses who are either ineligible or choose not to participate in the SBA Paycheck Protection Program. 

If I receive a stimulus check from the federal government, will it impact my ability to file for bankruptcy?

  • No. Under this law, stimulus checks from the federal government cannot be used to determine whether you are eligible for filing bankruptcy.
  • If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will not have to turn your stimulus check over to your creditors. This new relief will be available for one year.

What assistance is there for nonprofits?

  • Nonprofits are eligible for payroll tax deferment (see above).
  • Nonprofits are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (see above).
  • The law also allows any mid-sized nonprofit (between 500 and 10,000 employees) to get access to quick, low cost, government guaranteed credit through their local lender or financial institution. The Treasury Department and Federal Reserve will have a degree of flexibility in designing the new program, but the expectation is for loan terms to last for no more than five years and to cover up to 100% of payroll over the previous 180 days, or 50% of revenues for the past year, for eligible organizations. Borrowers will also commit to rehiring their workforce back to pre-existing levels upon the end of the COVID-19 health emergency.
  • There are also two new charitable tax provisions for contributions during 2020. There is a new $300 above-the-line deduction for cash contributions generally to public charities in 2020. The CARES Act also increased the limitation on charitable deductions from 60% to 100% of modified income for cash contributions generally to public charities in 2020 and increased the limitation for food contributions by corporations from 15% to 25% of modified income. 

Did the American Rescue Plan include additional funding for states and localities to respond to cover the costs of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • No. While the state of Connecticut received approximately $1.3 billion through the CARES Act, the end of year spending bill included no additional funding for states and localities. While the bill includes funding for schools and public health agencies, additional state and local funding is needed. Senator Murphy will continue to fight for this in Washington. 

What funding was provided to Connecticut transit agencies and airports? Will there be money for Amtrak?

  • The American Rescue Plan included $30.5 billion for grants to transit agencies, which includes $10 billion for states under a new Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund and $1 billion for transit projects under the Federal Transit Administration's capital investment grants program. 
  • The law also includes $1.7 billion for Amtrak, including $970 million for Northeast Corridor grants.
  • In addition, it includes $15 billion for the airline industry, including for payroll, and $8 billion for airports. Airlines that receive funding are prohibited from reducing pay or furloughing employees until March 31.

What new assistance will Connecticut be receiving through the American Rescue Plan? How does this compare to the COVID-19 relief bill Congress passed in December?

Connecticut is expected to receive the following assistance: 

  • $4.351 billion in aid to towns and cities. 
  • $1.14 billion through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, and $371 million through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. This is in addition to  the $745 million Connecticut received for these two programs through the end-of-year spending bill. 
  • $277 million to support child care providers through Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). In addition, Connecticut received nearly $67 million to support child care providers through the end-of-year spending package. 
  • $187 million in rental assistance. This is in addition to the $237 million provided through the spending package that passed in December. 
  • $166 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
  • $5,126,368 in supplemental vaccine distribution grants for Connecticut.
  • An estimated 1.56 million people will get economic impact payments totaling approximately $3.9 billion in Connecticut. This comes on top of the $1.6 billion in economic impact payments that were provided to Connecticut in December. There is more information on these payments in the “Direct Payment” section of this FAQ.

Does the American Rescue Plan support help people afford health insurance?

  • Individuals who have lost their jobs and receive or are eligible for unemployment insurance in 2021, would receive subsidies to cover the entire cost of their ACA marketplace insurance premiums.
  • It caps health insurance premiums at no more than 8.5% of household income for health insurance premiums by providing premium tax credits for health insurance purchased on ACA markets like Access Health CT for any individual who earns more than 400% of the federal poverty level, for 2021 and 2022.
  • Any individual and household currently eligible for ACA coverage who is paying more than 8.5% of their income on ACA plan premiums would see their subsidy increased.
  • It covers 100% of COBRA premiums for individuals who lose their jobs through September 30, 2021.

How do the laws support community health centers?

  • The American Rescue Plan added $7.6 billion to support vaccinations, testing and associated activities at Community Health Centers and Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alikes.
  • In much-needed relief for Connecticut’s health centers and the patients they serve, the 2020 end-of-year funding package reauthorized and funded the program through fiscal year 2023.

Are hospitals and clinics eligible for small business loans?

  • Yes. Small businesses and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, including health care providers, are eligible to apply for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. This loan can be forgiven based on maintaining employee and salary levels. To be eligible, you must have fewer than 500 employees, or more if SBA’s size standards for the non-profit allows. For more information on the small business loan program, please see the small business resource section of this page.

Is there anything being done to support home and community-based services?

  • The American Rescue Plan provides a 10% increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) contribution for states through Medicaid for home- and community-based services.

Is there anything in the American Rescue Plan to support behavioral health services?

The American Rescue Plan Act added $4 billion in funding to increase access to mental health and substance use disorder services, treatment, and prevention, which includes:

  • $3 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Community Mental Health Block Grants, which provide funding for prevention, treatment, recovery support, and other services.
  • $80 million for the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program to help more states expand family and providers’ access to mental health experts to improve children’s health and functional outcomes, which Senator Murphy called for in a letter with 7 other senators.
  • $100 million to the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program to train behavioral health paraprofessionals, such as peer support specialists.
  • $80 million in new grants for community-based and behavioral health organizations to support local mental health and substance use disorder services.
  • $420 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, which provide a comprehensive range of mental health and substance use disorder services to vulnerable individuals.
  • $20 million to support youth suicide prevention, which provides grants to State-sponsored statewide or tribal youth suicide prevention strategies in schools, educational institutions, juvenile justice systems, substance use disorder programs, mental health programs, foster care systems, and other child and youth support organizations.
  • $30 million for Project AWARE, a program that increases awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth, trains school personnel to detect and respond to mental health issues, and better connects students to mental health services.
  • $10 million for the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network, a program to improve access to care, treatment, and services for children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events
  • $420 million to the Indian Health Service for behavioral health services

For more information on availability and eligibility for any behavioral health grants, please visit


Will I have to pay for a coronavirus test?

  • Under a recent Executive Order from President Biden, federally-regulated private group health plans and issuers cannot use medical screening criteria to deny coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic tests for individuals with health coverage who are asymptomatic, and who have no known or suspected exposure to COVID-19. Such testing must be covered without cost-sharing, prior authorization, or other medical management requirements imposed by the plan or issuer. Last year, Senator Murphy called on major private health insurers to cover COVID-19 related testing and treatment at no cost.
  • Connecticut requires private insurance carriers and the state’s HUSKY Health Program to provide COVID-19 testing with no out-of-pocket costs for those with symptoms of COVID-19.
  • For the latest guidance from the CDC visit and check out Connecticut’s FAQs about testing. To locate your nearest testing site, call 2-1-1 or visit the CT Testing Locator.  

Will I have to pay for the vaccine?

  • Due to historic investments by the federal government into the research, development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the American people will not be charged for the cost of the vaccine and any related administration fee charges must be covered by their insurance plan or through federal programs to cover the uninsured.
  • Earlier legislation passed by Congress ensures that the cost of a vaccine is covered with no cost-sharing, whether you are enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, or TRICARE, or have private health insurance, including Access Health CT plans. Uninsured individuals can access the vaccine free of charge as well through certain health care providers. Check if your provider plans to seek reimbursement through the Provider Relief Fund.
  • More information about the vaccine is available at the CDC’s website here and through Connecticut’s Department of Public Health here.  

Can I get additional SNAP benefits during the coronavirus emergency?

  • Yes. The American Rescue Plan included a 15% increase in SNAP benefits through September 2021. You can check your eligibility for SNAP here. In addition, here are two useful pre-screening tools that can help you determine if you may want to apply for SNAP. 

Where can I find a local food bank? Are food banks getting federal assistance to respond to COVID-19 pandemic?

  • To find your local food bank, click here. In addition, the Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare operate mobile food pantries. For more information click here.
  • While the American Rescue Plan didn’t provide additional funding toThe Emergency Supplemental Food Program (TEFAP), a federal program that purchases food to stock the shelves of food banks, there was $400 million provided for this program in the 2020 end-of-year spending package. There was also support for this program in bills like the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act

My child is out of school, can they get meals?

  • Congress and the USDA have given states and school districts the ability to waive certain school meal requirements in order to ensure children can access school meals safely during the pandemic. The most up-to-date information on meal distribution can be found through your town or local school district.
  • In addition, Congress has provided funding through the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program to give families of students who participate in free and reduced-price school meals extra benefits to compensate for school meals they did not receive due to school closures. The American Rescue Plan gives USDA more flexibility to extend this program as needed to meet the needs of the COVID-19 emergency. You can find more information here.

Will I be subject to SNAP work requirements if I am applying as an Able-Bodied Adult without Dependent Children (ABAWD)?

  • Not right now. Congress has waived work requirements for the remainder of the coronavirus emergency.

Can I use my SNAP benefits to buy food online?

  • Yes. Connecticut is currently part of a pilot project that allows SNAP recipients to purchase food online at Amazon, Walmart, and Shoprite. For more info visit  
  • The end of year spending bill includes $5 million in funding to support this pilot program. This funding will go towards things like expanding this initiative to new food retailers and farmers markets. 

What type of funding is available for senior nutrition programs?

  • The end of year funding bill included $175 million for Meals on Wheels and $13 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program 

Is there rental assistance and am I eligible?

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium is extended until March 31, 2021. However, Connecticut’s eviction moratorium will remain in effect until April 19, 2021 even if the CDC moratorium is not extended.
  • The American Rescue Plan provides an additional $187 million on top of the estimated $237 million provided in the December COVID-19 package to help Connecticut families and individuals pay their rent and utility bills and remain stably housed, while also helping rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs, including costs necessary to ensure residents’ health and safety. Additional guidance from the Department of Treasury and State of Connecticut can be found here.
  • Eligible households are defined as renter households who: have a household income nor more than 80 percent of the area median income (AMI); have one or more household members who can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and have one or more household members who qualify for unemployment benefits or experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic. 
  • Assistance would be prioritized for renter households that do not exceed 50 percent of AMI as well as renter households who are unemployed and have been unemployed for 90 days.

Is there utility assistance and am I eligible?

  • The American Rescue Plan includes $500 million for the Low-Income Household Drinking Water and Wastewater Emergency Assistance Program created under the year-end spending deal, as well as $4.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). You can check your eligibility for LIHEAP here.
  • The Winter Protection Program, which protects eligible households during the winter months, is also in effect through May 1, 2021. If you are experiencing difficulty paying your utility bill, you can contact your utility company and ask if you are eligible to be “coded hardship” and enrolled in the Winter Protection Program. If you are ineligible for hardship status or a non-residential customer, ask to enroll in a COVID-19 Payment Plan. Additional information regarding these programs and other assistance can be found here.

What funding is provided to K-12 schools?

  • The American Rescue Plan provides $128 billion for K-12 schools, which can be used to respond to a variety of needs related to COVID-19, including addressing students’ learning loss and social-emotional needs, planning summer learning and afterschool programming, purchasing cleaning and sanitizing supplies, providing school meals, purchasing technology for remote learning, funding professional development to educators, and providing support services to students.
  • States must allocate to districts and charter schools in the proportion they receive funding under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. 
  • States must maintain their own funding at levels similar to the previous three years.
  • Allowable uses also include addressing the unique needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English language learners, students of color, homeless students, and foster care youth. 
  • Another $7.6 billion is provided for a new Emergency Connectivity Fund to cover the purchase of broadband service and devices by schools and libraries for use by students, and staff, $3 billion for education technology grants, $1.25 billion for afterschool programs, and $1.25 billion for summer enrichment programs.
  • For information on school meals, see the Nutrition Assistance section of this FAQ.

Is there additional funding for colleges and the students they serve?

  • The law provides $20 billion for higher education emergency relief for colleges and universities to respond to coronavirus, including providing grants to students to cover their basic needs. Allowable uses also include colleges defraying costs due to closures and transitioning to distance learning
  • Public colleges are also eligible for flexible formula funding from the Governor (see K-12 notes for how funds will be disbursed).

Is there additional assistance for childcare and who is eligible?

  • The American Rescue Plan provides $24 billion for a new grant to stabilize child care providers who are currently in operation or have been temporarily closed due to the pandemic. 
  • The law also includes $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant to help states provide child care subsidies for low-income families with children 13 or younger, as well as $1 billion to support Head Start programs.
  • CCDBG and Head Start funds will be distributed to the states, who will then pass them along through their own programs.
  • The law also modernizes the earned income tax credit (EITC), nearly tripling the amount adults without children can receive, while also expanding eligibility to low-wage workers over 65 and receiving Social Security.
  • It also expands the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and makes it fully refundable. The bill almost doubles the size of the child tax credit, increasing the maximum credit to $3,600 per year for each child under the age of six and $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17, as well as ensuring that the most-low income Americans would receive the full benefit.

What if I have child care funding leftover in a Dependent Care Savings Account?

  • The law temporarily increases the value of the dependent care credit for 2020 by making the credit refundable and doubling the maximum allowable expenses to $6,000 for one dependent and $12,000 for two or more.
  • The December COVID-19 relief bill allowed individuals to carry over any unused dependent care FSA benefits from 2020 into the 2021 plan year, ensuring that families do not unfairly lose out on these employer-sponsored benefits at the end of the year

For a detailed veteran’s guide please click here.

What support is included for VA health care facilities and their COVID-19 response? 

  1. The CARES Act includes $19.57 billion in funding to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the equipment, tests, telehealth capabilities and support services necessary to support veterans and the health care workforce at facilities nationwide.

I am a veteran who became unemployed as a result of the pandemic. Is there any assistance available for me?

  • The American Rescue Plan includes $400 million in assistance for unemployed veterans, to help get veterans get back to work through funding (up to 12 months) for rapid retraining assistance and a housing allowance for veterans unemployed due to the pandemic. 

I am a veteran living in a rural area and am being told that my appointments will now be through telehealth, but I can’t afford internet services or don’t have a good internet connection. How will this bill help me?

  • Talk to your provider and local VA about getting an iPad or other tablet from VA. The CARES Act allows the VA to enter into partnerships with local telecommunications companies to subsidize or completely pay for broadband internet services. Additional funding from the American Rescue Plan has been made available to VA centers to help modernize and fulfill telehealth needs for veterans. Call your local VA facility or send a secure message to your provider on My HealtheVet to ask about this option.

I’m a home health care worker for the VA, can I receive PPE for providing home care services to veterans?

  1. Yes. Under Section 20009 of the CARES Act, VA must provide PPE to any home health worker employed by or contracted with VA to provide services to veterans. 

I run a veteran-owned small business. Is there help available for me? 

  • Yes. If you are a veteran-owned small business, you can receive continued support through the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program. Please see the “Small Business” section of this FAQ for more information.

I receive health care through the VA, but am having difficulty managing costs. What sort of assistance is available for people like me?

  • The American Rescue Plan provides $1 billion for the VA to waive health insurance copayments and other cost-sharing expenses incurred by veterans from April 6, 2020, when the department first paused medical billing, through Sept. 30, 2021. The VA has been directed to reimburse veterans for copayments made during that period. Please contact your VA health insurance provider directly to learn more. 

I have a VA-backed mortgage, am I protected against foreclosure during the COVID-19 emergency declaration? 

  • Yes, under CARES Act if borrowers are facing financial hardship, they can request forbearance for up to 6 months, with a possible extension for another 6 months, through their mortgage holder. 

I use VA’s prosthetics service and need to get my prosthetic adjusted, but am nervous to go into a VA facility because I have underlying conditions that make me more at risk of complications from COVID-19. Where can I go to get my prosthetic adjusted? 

  1. This bill gives VA more flexibility to allow veterans who need their prosthetics created or adjusted to do so in their local community. Call your local VA provider or message them on MyHealtheVet and ask about this option.