One state is sending out stimulus checks – Millions of Massachusetts’s lowest earners should expect a $500 check in the mail in the coming weeks, with the state government moving forward on a new round of direct stimulus payments to help residents deal with the rising cost of food, fuel, and consumer goods.
This isn’t the first time the state has chosen to spend money obtained from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act on direct payments. In a May press release, the Executive Office for Administration and Finance announced the second round of premium payments offered to low-income workers.
The latest round of payments will be made available to hundreds of thousands of eligible residents, and the checks are expected to start appearing in mail boxes by the end of the month.
“The Baker-Polito Administration today announced its plan for a second round of $500 payments to low-income workers under the COVID-19 Essential Employee Premium Pay program, which was passed by the Massachusetts Legislature and signed by Governor Baker in December 2021 as part of a $4 billion spending plan for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds,” the May 19 statement reads.
“These payments will deliver approximately $165 million to an estimated 330,000 eligible individuals in June.”
Massachusetts House of Representatives Speaker Ron Mariano praised the new program on Twitter.
“The essential workers who worked to keep the Commonwealth running during the height of the pandemic deserve nothing less,” Mariano said.
Who Is Eligible?
The eligibility for the latest round of payments is much the same as last time. However, this time the criteria have been updated to account for the changes to federal poverty level calculations.
Any Massachusetts resident who filed a 2021 tax return in the state will be eligible for the payment, so long as they earned at least $13,5000, but had a total income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level.
That would mean anybody working 20 hours a week for 50 weeks of the year, earning 2021’s minimum wage of $13.50.
For one taxpayer, 300% of the federal poverty level is $38,640. For a household/family of 2, that’s $54,360.
For three, it’s $65,880, for four it’s $79,500, for five it’s $93,120, for six, it’s $106,750.
Recipients must have been a Massachusetts resident on or before June 15, 2021, or a resident for part of the year between January 1 2021, and June 15 2021.
Anybody who received a payment in the first round of stimulus payments for low income workers will not be eligible to receive this second round, nor will anybody who received unemployment benefits in 2021.
Any Massachusetts resident looking to see if they are eligible to receive the latest round of payments can find more information on this government page.