Massachusetts Announces New Stimulus Check for Low-Income Workers: A fourth stimulus check is pretty much off the table, but that hasn’t stopped state governments from stepping in and providing additional assistance to low-income workers.
With news that the consumer price index rose 7.5% in January, a 40-year high, these state-level stimulus checks could provide American workers valuable – if temporary – assistance at a time of major economic uncertainty.
What Massachusetts Workers Can Expect in Stimulus Check
Eligibility for the payment is based on 2020 tax returns, not 2021. That means anybody who earned at least $12,750 and filed their taxes that year, but less than $38,280 for a single filer will qualify for the payment.
Families of four will receive an additional $500 check, so long as total income didn’t exceed $78,600.
The payments are specifically designed to help low-income workers who worked throughout the pandemic, and while the payment is coming from the state government the funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, which was passed by Congress in February 2021.
Stimulus Check: How to Get It
Massachusetts residents who qualify for the payment will receive checks after they are automatically mailed out at the end of March.
Anybody who received unemployment benefits in 2020 won’t be eligible for the payment, but a second round of checks is expected to be announced by the state government in the near future. It is unclear who will be eligible for the next round.
Additional COVID Relief for Remote Counseling and Notary Services
On Thursday, the Massachusetts state legislature passed an additional COVID-19 relief bill, this time worth $101 million – but it’s not for direct a stimulus check. The bill contains provisions allowing for remote notary services, remote reverse mortgage counseling, and remote public meetings.
It comes after the last remote counseling relief expired in December last year. It surprised the reverse mortgage industry.
“[D]ue to the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, and subsequent variants, written certification from a counselor with a third-party organization that a mortgagor has received counseling via a synchronous, real-time video conference or by telephone in lieu of counseling in person shall satisfy the requirements [of state law], however, that the third-party organization shall have been approved by the executive office of elder affairs for purposes of such counseling,” the bill reads.
The legislation is important as Massachusetts is the only state that requires reverse mortgage counseling sessions to take place in person. During the pandemic, over 400 reverse mortgage counseling sessions were conducted via video or telephone.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.