With a $1.9 trillion federal relief package, there is a way everyone will be affected, as Louis Crombie, Field Representative for Eighth District Congressman Pete Stauber, said.

The American Rescue Plan was passed in March 2021 with aspects for individuals, small businesses, state and local governments, schools and transportation. Many of the fund programs and systems are in the process of being formed. The programs and rules could change, like with the previous CARES Act, and are dependent on the Small Business Administration and Internal Revenue Service guidelines.

Here’s what is known about the bill’s programs as of April 5.

Louis Crombie, Field Representative for Eighth District Congressman Pete Stauber. (Submitted photo, 2021)
Louis Crombie, Field Representative for Eighth District Congressman Pete Stauber. (Submitted photo, 2021)

Individuals

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One of the differences in the bill are changes to tax credits for children, earned income and child and dependent care, as Crombie said. The credits are for 2021 tax returns.

The yearly child tax credit is $3,600 per child for those under six years old and $3,000 for children six-17 years old. The credit was previously $2,000.

The credits will be received in monthly payments from July to December 2021 as well as when your 2021 taxes are filed. The monthly payments will total 50% of the credit with the remaining 50% received when taxes are filed. The IRS does not have a system yet.

A third round of stimulus checks of $1,400 per person should have been received. Dependent children, including adults with disabilities and elderly dependents, are also included. The funds depend on your 2019 or 2020 income.

If you have not received your stimulus check, watch your mail for a direct express card or check and your bank account over the next month. You can also check on the IRS website or contact Stauber’s office if you have not received the payments.

Other items in the bill:

  • Federal unemployment benefits of $300 per week will continue through Sept. 6, 2021. A portion of the benefits, up to $10,200, are non-taxable; this applies to households with incomes less than $150,000.

  • Emergency paid leave can include when you are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as well as side effects from the vaccine and getting or waiting for a test result if you were exposed or asked by your employer to be tested.

Small businesses

A new restaurant revitalization fund has been formed for restaurants and bars who lost revenue in 2020. Restaurants can apply for the grants based on their 2020 and 2019 gross revenues.

The grants can support ‘essential operation’ costs such as payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies, inventory, supplier costs and paid sick leave. Alcohol producers where the public can purchase products are included; those owned by the state or local government or a publicly traded company are not included.

The covered costs can be from Feb. 15, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2021.

The SBA does not have an opening date for the applications.

“That makes this a lot easier for folks to use these funds for keeping their business afloat,” Crombie said.

Other items in the bill:

  • The Paycheck Protection Program has additional funding available, including for non-profits and digital media organizations. Loan applications are open until May 31.

  • Businesses are also able to go back to claim the employee retention tax credit for 2020, including if they got PPP. This does not apply to independent contractors.

  • Businesses like movie theatres, theatre groups and museums can apply for the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant Program. Both PPP and shuttered program grants can be received.

Local and state government

The city of Wadena may receive $470,000 from the bill, according to an estimate city administrator Janette Bower received in March. The Wadena County estimate is $2,653,540, according to county auditor-treasurer Heather Olson. States will receive a minimum of $500 million, according to Crombie.

The guidance on how the funds can be used and final amounts are yet to come.

While responding to wide economic impacts, Crombie said the funds could be used for households, small businesses, non-profits and impacted industries, premium pay for government essential employees or grants for employers of essential employees, government services, and investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

The funds can be used for costs by Dec. 31, 2024.

Here’s what else to watch for:

  • Public Health departments will receive funds for COVID-19 vaccination, testing and contact tracing as well as for long-term care facility outbreaks, mental health care, substance abuse treatment and overdose prevention.

  • More housing vouchers, homeowner’s assistance and emergency rental assistance will be available. You can call 211 for rental information; the other programs are not finalized.

  • The extension of SNAP benefits through September, including an increased amount for fruit and vegetables.

  • Elementary and secondary school relief funds for ventilation, personal protective equipment, social distancing measures, staffing, summer school, hotspots and technology devices.

You can view the full bill on the Congress website.

For questions or guidance, you can contact Stauber's office at Louis.Crombie@mail.house.gov or call 218-355-0862 or 202-225-6211.