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American Rescue Plan highlights for PEF members

It has been just 11 days since President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. It is a massive piece of legislation that provides real, targeted relief to millions of people all across the country. PEF’s Legislative team has reviewed and highlighted the elements that will have the greatest impact on PEF members. This document was shared with the Statewide Political Action Committee and contains their full analysis, but here are a few key provisions:

New York will receive $12.6 billion in state aid. This money will directly help prevent layoffs, service cuts, consolidations and closures. It is also the pool from which any hazard pay for essential workers will be paid. PEF continues to fight to make sure our pandemic heroes are financially rewarded for their efforts! The State will deliver its final budget on April 1, but our conversations with senators and assemblymembers so far suggest that many of PEF’s budget priorities will be addressed.

Any individual with an Adjusted Gross Income of $75,000 or less in their latest federal tax return will receive $1,400 in direct economic payment. Couples who earned less than $150,000 will receive $2,800. And anyone who qualifies for those payments will also receive $1,400 per dependent. If you haven’t received any money yet and think you are eligible, visit the IRS’ Get My Payment page.

For members who qualify, the Child Tax Credit also increases with this law, from $2,000 to $3,000 for children age 6-17 and $3,600 for children under age 6. Starting in July 2021, a portion of those funds will be paid monthly instead of when you file your tax return.

The law extends the $300 per week payment to individuals out of work as a result of the pandemic. It also exempts up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits from 2020 income tax.

Mental Health Services: A total of $4 billion in enhanced funding for mental health services is included in the bill. PEF members working in this field will benefit from additional behavioral health workforce training and grants for community-based behavioral clinics.

Transportation: The MTA in New York City will receive $6.5 billion and the statewide Department of Transportation $12 million as a result of this law.

None of this is by accident. It is the result of a year-long, non-partisan advocacy effort. Thank you all for writing letters to federal lawmakers and making sure they knew why PEF members needed this relief. Your collective voices made a difference. Please keep up the fight until the state budget deadline of April 1. You can still write letters to your state senator and assemblyperson by visiting this page.