The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) Act Provisions
The House passed The Heroes Act (HR 6800) that would provide $3 trillion in federal relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Key highlights in the legislation include the following:
- Provides $500 billion in direct funding to state governments and $375 billion in direct funding to cities/ local governments to assist with the fiscal impacts from the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus.
- Provides another round of direct payments of as much as $1,200 for each individual and as many as three dependents.
- Extends the Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) through Jan. 31, 2021, and extends the supplement to state and federal unemployment benefits through Jan. 31, 2021.
- Extends refundable tax credits for paid sick and family leave through the end of 2021 and increases the limits on those paid leave credits.
- Increases Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) payments to state Medicaid programs by a total of 14 percentage points
Below is NCSL’s summary of provisions impacting states. Please don’t hesitate to contact NCSL with any questions.
Direct Economic Stimulus Funding to States
Direct Economic Stimulus Funding to States: $500 billion in funding to assist state governments with the fiscal impacts from the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Direct Economic Stimulus Funding to Local Governments
Direct Economic Stimulus Funding to Local Governments: $375 billion in funding to assist local governments with the fiscal impacts from the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19.
- $250 billion awarded within 30 days of enactment to all municipalities and counties.
- $125 billion to municipalities using a modified Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula.
- $87.5 billion to entitlement municipalities (populations of at least 50,000).
- $37.5 billion to non-entitlement to municipalities (populations of less than 50,000). These funds will be awarded to states, which must make awards to non-entitlement cities based solely on population within 30 days of receipt.
- $125 billion awarded one year after the date of enactment to all municipalities and counties.
- $62.5 billion to municipalities using a modified CDBG formula.
- $43.75 billion to entitlement municipalities (populations of at least 50,000).
- $18.75 billion to non-entitlement to municipalities (populations of less than 50,000). These funds will be awarded to states, which must make awards to non-entitlement cities based solely on population within 30 days of receipt.
- $62.5 billion to counties based on population.
Direct Economic Stimulus Funding to Territories and Tribes
- $20 billion awarded to all five territories.
- $10 billion divided among all five territories within 30 days of enactment.
- $10 billion awarded based on the territory’s share of population within 30 days of enactment.
- $20 billion awarded to tribal governments based on the share of increased aggregate expenditures within 30 days of enactment.
Revisions to the CRF in the CARES Act
- Expands states’ use of funds to allow for delayed or lost revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19.
- Clarifies that only federally recognized tribal government are eligible for payments in the CARES and HEROES Act.
- Direct Payments: Provides another round of direct payments of as much as $1,200 for each individual and as many as three dependents. It would apply the same income limits and phase-out as the CARES Act, which provided as much as $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. It would modify several eligibility requirements and make other adjustments to the direct payments included in the CARES Act. Changes would include:
- Making dependents eligible for the $500 per child payment and allowing full-time students younger than 24 and adult dependents to receive payments.
- Modifying the requirement for Social Security numbers. It would require individuals, at least one spouse for married couples, and dependents to provide taxpayer-identification numbers, which include SSNs and individual taxpayer-identification numbers issued by the IRS to some individuals who aren’t eligible for SSNs but must file a U.S. tax return.
- Barring the reduction of payments for past-due child support, as well as any transfers or reductions related to bankruptcy or other legal processes.
- The Treasury Department would make a payment to individuals who have already received their CARES Act payment, if the bill increases the amount they are eligible to receive.
- SALT Deduction: Suspends a $10,000 cap on the state and local income tax deduction for 2020 and 2021. The 2017 tax overhaul (Public Law 115-97) imposed the cap on the amount of individual property and income or sales tax payments individuals can deduct from their federal taxes through 2025.
- Earned Income Tax Credit: Modifies the earned income tax credit by:
- Allows taxpayers ages 19 through 65 without children to claim the credit in 2020, instead of the current ages 25 to 64. Individuals who are homeless or were in foster care could claim the credit beginning at age 18, and full-time students could claim the credit beginning at age 25.
- Increases the credit for workers without children in 2020 to $1,487, from the current $538 by adjusting the credit percentage and phaseout thresholds, according to a summary from Democrats.
- Eliminates a rule that bars individuals who have children from claiming the childless Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if their child does not have a Social Security number. The change would apply to tax years beginning after the bill’s enactment.
- Treats an individual who is separated and living apart from their spouse, but living with a qualifying child, as unmarried if they do not file a joint return. The change would apply to tax years beginning after the bill’s enactment.
- Eliminates a restriction on the EITC for individuals with a certain amount of investment income (more than $3,650 in 2020). The change would apply to tax years beginning after the bill’s enactment.
- Allows taxpayers to substitute their 2019 income, if it’s higher than their 2020 income, when determining their EITC eligibility for the 2020 tax year.
- The measure would direct the Treasury Department to make payments to U.S. territories to cover their EITC costs.
- Child Tax Credit: Modifies the child tax credit (CTC), which provides a credit of as much as $2,000 for each child younger than age 17 and phases out for modified adjusted gross incomes greater than $400,000 for married couples filing jointly, and $200,000 for other filers. As much as $1,400 is refundable. Makes the CTC in 2020 fully refundable, increases the maximum credit to $3,600 for children younger than 6 and $3,000 for other children, and allows it to be claimed for 17-year-olds.
- Dependent Care: Temporarily increases the value of the dependent care credit, which is provided for care expenses of as much as $3,000 for one dependent or $6,000 for two or more dependents. It also makes the credit refundable in 2020, doubles the maximum allowable expenses to $6,000 for one dependent and $12,000 for two or more, makes the full credit available to individuals with incomes of as much as $120,000, and allows the credit to cover 50% of expenses, instead of 35%.
- Employee Retention Credit: Expands the employee retention credit from the CARES Act, which covers 50% of eligible employee compensation, including health benefits, of as much as $10,000, paid between March 12, 2020, and Jan. 1, 2021. Changes would be retroactive to that law’s enactment. Under the bill, the credit would be for 80% of as much as $15,000 in compensation per calendar quarter, limited to $45,000 for the year. Under the CARES Act, employers with more than 100 full-time employees in 2019 receive credits for wages paid to employees while they are not providing services due to the business’s partial or full closure to comply with a government order. The credit for smaller employers covers wages paid while operations are suspended or during a quarter in which the company has at least a 50% decline in gross receipts. The bill also contains the following provisions:
- Modifies the employer threshold so that companies with more than 1,500 employees and as much as $41.5 million in gross receipts in 2019 would receive the credit while employees are not providing services. The credit for companies below that threshold would be based on suspended operations or a significant decline in gross receipts.
- Companies would be eligible for a partial, phased-in credit if their revenue declined between 10% and 50% compared to the same calendar quarter of the previous year.
- State and local governments and several federal entities could claim the credit if they pay wages to employees while their operations are fully or partially shut down.
- Employers of domestic workers could also qualify for the credit.
- Fixed Expense Credit: Establishes a 50% refundable credit against payroll tax, for as much as $50,000 per quarter, for companies’ mortgage, rent or utility payments between March 12, 2020, and Jan. 1, 2021.
- Self-Employed Credit: Provides a 90% refundable credit for certain individuals whose gross self-employment income in 2020 was less than 90% of the amount they received in 2019. The credit would be based on the individual’s income loss, over 10%, from 2019 to 2020, capped at $45,000. It would phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes greater than $60,000, or double for a joint return.
- Paid Leave Credits: Extends credits for paid sick and family leave provided under Public Law 116-127 through the end of 2021. It would also:
- Increase the limit n the paid leave credit for individuals providing care to someone else to $511 from $200, effective upon enactment.
- Increase the limit on paid family leave to $12,000 from $10,000 and cover 60 days of self-employment leave instead of 50 days.
- Exclude companies with 500 or more employees from the credit, other than government employers, beginning upon the bill’s enactment.
- Allow self-employed individuals to use their earnings from the previous tax year for the credit.
- Employee Benefits: Cafeteria plans and flexible spending arrangements could allow participants to carry over to 2021 from 2020 as much as $2,750 in health benefits or contributions and the annual maximum amount of dependent care assistance benefits contributions. Cafeteria plans could allow participants to carry over unused paid time off from 2020 to 2021.
- Employee Expenses: Increases the above-the-line deduction for teachers’ unreimbursed expenses to $500 from $250 and provide a similar $500 deduction for first responders. The deductions can be claimed even if the filer uses the standard deduction instead of itemizing. Those amounts would continue to be adjusted for inflation. The bill also provides the following:
- A $500 above-the-line deduction in 2020 for front-line employee uniform, supply and equipment expenses if they are required to provide at least 1,000 hours of essential work.
- A refundable credit against employer payroll tax for the reimbursement of employee pandemic-related expenses. It would apply to “reasonable and necessary personal, family, living, or funeral expenses.” The credit would be for 50% of essential employee expenses and 30% of other employee expenses and could not exceed $5,000 per employee in any calendar quarter. It would cover expenses paid after March 12, 2020 and before Jan. 1, 2021.
- Loss Deductions: Restores and makes permanent a limit on a deduction for pass-through business losses that was established by the 2017 tax overhaul and suspended for 2018 through 2020 by the CARES Act. The language would apply to entities such as S corporations and partnerships that pass income through to the owners who file individual tax returns.
Expanded Unemployment Benefits
- Extends the $600 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) supplement to state and federal unemployment benefits through Jan. 31, 2021. It would also add a transition rule (sometimes called a “soft cutoff”) to allow individuals already receiving regular state unemployment benefits on Jan. 31 to continue receiving the FPUC supplement until the end of the period of benefits to which they are entitled so long as they would end by March 31, 2021.
- Requires federal, state and local programs, which receive any funding to disregard FPUC payments when calculating income for the purpose of determining eligibility for benefits.
- Extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) through Jan. 31, 2021. Workers would now be eligible to apply through Jan. 31, 2021. Individuals would subsequently receive all the weeks of benefits for weeks ending by March 31, 2021.
- Extends the Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) through Jan. 31, 2021. Workers would be able to apply for PEUC through Jan. 31, 2021 and receive the full 13 weeks of benefits so long as they are for weeks ending on or before March 31, 2021.
- Extends the “waiting week” for the first week of regular unemployment compensation through Jan. 31, 2021.
- Extends the financial relief provided to reimbursable employers in the CARES Act through Jan. 31, 2021 and makes technical corrections to ensure that states can simply waive 50% of the amount owed by such employers.
- Clarifies state flexibility in using the most readily available source of income verification for PUA applicants, including data from mobile apps used by many gig economy workers.
- Extends the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) state interest-free loans from Dec. 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
- Within the FFCRA, extended benefits increased from 50% to 100% reimbursement. The 100% reimbursement period is now through June 30, 2021.
- Extends the period in which payments under short-time compensation programs in state law were 100% federally reimbursable through Jan. 31, 2021.
- Extends the 50% reimbursement for short-time compensation payments not made under state law through Jan. 31, 2021.
- Ensures that any states that enacts a short-time compensation (STC) law will receive full federal financing for all agreements in place after March 29, even if agreement began before a new state STC law became effective.
Other Labor-related Provisions
- $3.1 billion to support workforce training and worker protection activities, including:
- $2 billion to support worker training.
- $25 million for migrant and seasonal farmworkers, including emergency supportive
- $925 million to assist states in processing unemployment insurance claims.
- $15 million for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding workplace protection and enforcement activities, inclusive of $25 million in Susan Harwood training grants that protect and educate workers.
- $6.5 million for the Wage and Hour Division to support enforcement and outreach
- activities for paid leave benefits.
- $5 million for the Office of Inspector General.
- Provides approximately nine months of full premium subsidies to allow workers to maintain their employer-sponsored coverage if they are eligible for COBRA due to a layoff or reduction in hours, and for workers who have been furloughed but are still active in their employer-sponsored plan.
- Establishes zero cost-sharing (out of pocket costs) for COVID-19 treatment under the Department of Veterans Affairs health plans.
- Provides a 30% refundable payroll tax credit for expenses reimbursed or paid for the benefit of an employee for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living, or funeral expenses incurred because of the presidentially declared disaster related to COVID-19. The credit percentage is 50% for expenses paid to employees if a substantial portion of the services performed by the employee is essential work, as defined for pandemic premium pay reimbursable from the COVID-19 HEROES Fund. No credit is allowed if the expenses are provided in a manner that discriminates in favor of highly compensated employees. The Social Security Equivalent Benefit Account is held harmless under this provision, through a general fund transfer of lost receipts as a result of this credit.
- Increases the applicable percentage of qualified wages reimbursed through the employee retention credit from 50% to 80%.
- Allows state and local governments and certain federal instrumentalities to claim the credit in the event they are paying wages to employees while their operations are fully or partially shut down.
- Extends the refundable tax credits for paid sick and family leave through the end of 2021.
- Allows employers to claim up to $511 per day, rather than $200 per day for leave for caregivers of individuals subject to a virus-related stay-at-home order and parents providing for children affected by a virus-related school closure.
- Allows employers to claim up to $12,000 in refundable payroll tax credits, rather than $10,000. Allows individuals to claim the credit for a maximum of 60 days (corresponding to the $12,000 amount) rather than 50 days.
- Requires that employers with 500 or more employees provide required paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave, these employers are not eligible for payroll tax credits for these wages. This restriction does not apply to federal, state and local governments.
- Temporarily suspends, until Dec. 31, 2022, the current 1,250-hour eligibility requirement and reduces the tenure eligibility requirement from 12 months to 90 days under the nonemergency Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
- Extends the Emergency Family and Medical Leave benefits from Dec. 31, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021.
- Clarifies that employees who work under a multiemployer collective bargaining agreement and whose employers pay into a multiemployer plan are provided with leave.
- Clarifies that full emergency paid sick leave is available to employees where they begin employment with a new employer.
- Authorizes funds under this bill to support employers providing incumbent worker training, including requiring at least one-third of funds to be used for such purposes, and employment supports such as work-based learning (e.g., registered apprenticeship, paid internships, etc.), transitional jobs, supportive services, and moving training and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act services online.
Small Business Provisions
- $10 billion in grants to small businesses that have suffered financial losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Allows businesses receiving Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness to defer payment of payroll taxes under Section 2302 of the CARES Act.
- Provides that certain loan forgiveness and other business financial assistance under CARES Act not includable in gross income. Excludes certain loan forgiveness by the Small Business Administration, emergency EIDL grants, and certain loan payments from the gross income of the ultimate recipient.
Prohibits the sale of consumer goods and services at unconscionably excessive prices. Goods and services include personal protective equipment, drugs, hand sanitizers, and healthcare services among others. It also authorizes the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to enforce the law and impose civil penalties on price gougers. No state laws would be preempted by the title.
Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF)
- Authorizes the District of Columbia to participate in the Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF) established by the Federal Reserve to support lending to states, cities and counties in response to COVID-19, as well as in any future facilities. Under the rules 41 of the MLF, the district is expressly eligible to participate, but the District Home Rule Act does not authorize the district to do so.
- Extends the operations of the MLF from Dec. 31, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021 and lengthen the maturity date of eligible notes from 36 months to 10 years.
- Includes in the list of eligible issuers: territories of the United States as well as a political subdivision of a state with a population over 50,000.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Provisions
- Waives the 25% state cost share for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance, including that which is eligible under the COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration and state major disaster declarations.
- Clarifies activities eligible for coverage under the COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration. These will include assistance for activities, costs, and states, local governments purchases or eligible private nonprofits (including those eligible under the Stafford Act), such as:
- Backfill costs for first responders.
- Increased operating costs for essential government services.
- Costs of providing public guidance and information.
- Costs for establishing virtual services and operating remote test sites, training provided in anticipation of, or response to, to the next emergency declaration.
- Personal protective equipment for first responders.
- Public health and medical supplies.
- Non-congregate sheltering.
- Food preparation and delivery to impacted communities.
- Funeral benefits.
Other Homeland Security/Disaster Relief Provisions
- $1.3 billion to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19, including:
- $100 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.
- $200 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
- $500 million for Assistance to Firefighter Grants.
- Waives cost sharing requirements for certain fire departments.
- Waives certain other program requirements to help expedite grant awards.
- $500 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants.
- Waives cost sharing requirements for certain fire departments.
- Waives certain other program requirements to help expedite grant awards.
- Acting Secretary Chad Wolf waived the cost-share, supplanting and minimum budget requirements on May 14.
- Extends filling and other deadlines:
- Prevents certain noncitizens who were lawfully present in the United States when HHS declared a public health emergency from experiencing negative immigration consequences due to the inability to meet filing deadlines or leave the country.
- Automatically extends temporary immigration status or work authorization that is set to expire during the emergency for a temporary period.
- Extends expiration dates of issued immigrant visas for the duration of the emergency.
- Rolls over immigrant visa numbers that go unused at the end of the fiscal year for use in subsequent fiscal years.
- Extends voluntary departure deadlines for the duration of the emergency.
- Requires the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) secretary to establish procedures for remotely administering naturalization oath ceremonies during the COVID-19 emergency.
- Provides temporary protections to undocumented workers in the U.S. working in essential critical infrastructure (as defined by DHS guidance) during the COVID-19 emergency.
- Temporarily eases certain immigration-related restrictions to allow immigrant physicians and other critical healthcare workers to better assist in the fight against COVID19.
- Requires DHS to review the immigration files of all individuals in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to assess the need for continued detention.
- Requires DHS to provide ICE detainees access to certain communications services, legal consultation and hygiene/sanitation materials.
- Indian Health Service: $2.1 billion to address health care needs related to COVID-19 for Native Americans, including for lost third party revenue, healthcare including telehealth services and provide for isolation or quarantine space among other programs.
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
- $7.6 billion for Health Centers to expand the capacity to provide testing, triage and care for COVID-19.
- $2.1 billion for the Centers fr Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) t support federal, state and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19, including:
- $2 billion for state, local, territorial and tribal public health departments and $130 million for public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization.
- $175 billion to reimburse for health care-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19, as well as to support testing and contact tracing to effectively monitor and suppress COVID-19.
- $3 billion to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to increase mental health support during this challenging time, including support for substance abuse treatment, and to offer increased outreach.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- Increases Federal Medical Assistance Percentage payments to state Medicaid programs by a total of 14 percentage points starting July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.
- Increases the federal payments to state Medicaid programs by an additional 10 percentage points starting July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021 to support activities that strengthen their home- and community-based services benefit.
- Temporarily increases Medicaid disproportionate share hospital allotments by 2.5%.
- Authorizes states with section 1115 demonstration projects that expire on or before Feb. 28, 2021 to extend them through Dec. 31, 2021.
- Establishes zero cost-sharing (out-of-pocket costs) for COVID-19 treatment under Medicare Advantage during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Improve the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program. Lowers the interest rate for loans to Medicare providers made under the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program, reduces the per-claim recoupment percentage, and extends the period before repayment begins.
- Provides for a two-month open enrollment period to allow individuals who are uninsured, for whatever reason, to enroll in coverage.
- Requires coverage of items and services related to the treatment of COVID-19 in group and individual market health plans and waives cost-sharing requirements for consumers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Provides full premium subsidies, through January 2021, to allow workers to maintain their employer-sponsored coverage if they are eligible for COBRA due to a layoff or reduction in hours, and for workers who have been furloughed but are still active in their employer-sponsored plan.
Supply Chain Improvements Section
- Requires the president to appoint a medical supplies response coordinator, who would serve as the point of contact for the health care system, supply chain officials and states on medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE), medical devices, drugs and vaccines. The appointee is required to have health care training and an understanding of medical supply chain logistics.
- Requires the secretary of HHS to award contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and enter into other transactions, as appropriate, to expand and enhance manufacturing capacity of vaccines and vaccine candidates to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Strategic National Stockpile Improvements
- Requires the secretary of HHS to ensure that contents of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) are in good working order and, as necessary, conduct maintenance on contests of the stockpile.
- Improves the SNS domestic product availability by enhancing medical supply chain elasticity, improving the domestic production of PPE, and partnering with industry to refresh and replenish existing stocks of medical supplies.
- Requires the SNS to develop improved and transparent processes for SNS requests and identify clear plans for future communication between the SNS and states.
Testing and Testing Infrastructure Improvements
- Requires the secretary of HHS to update the COVID-19 strategic testing plan required under the PPP and Health Care Enhancement Act. The updated plan shall identify the types and levels of testing necessary to monitor and contribute to the control of COVID-19 and inform any reduction in social distancing.
- Requires states authorizing the development of in vitro COVID-19 tests to provide the secretary of HHS with a weekly report identifying all authorized laboratories and providing relevant information about the laboratories, including their testing capacity, listing of all authorized tests, and providing relevant information about such tests.
- Authorizes grants to states and localities to improve, renovate, or modernize clinical laboratory infrastructure to help increase COVID-19 testing capacities.
Core public health infrastructure and activities for CDC.
- Authorizes $1 billion for CDC to expand and improve their core public health infrastructure and activities to address unmet and emerging public health needs.
- Requires the CDC to coordinate with state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments to establish and implement a national evidence-based system for testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment and mitigation of COVID-19, including offering guidance on voluntary isolation and quarantine of positive COVID-19 cases.
- Requires the CDC and other relevant agencies to issue guidance, provide technical assistance and information, and establish clear communication pathways for state, local, tribal and territorial health departments for the establishment and maintenance of their testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment and mitigation systems.
Demographic Data and Supply Reporting Related to COVID–19
- Requires the secretary of HHS to establish and maintain an online portal for health entities to track and transmit data regarding their inventory and capacity related to COVID-19. Facilities should be required to report these figures on a biweekly basis.
- Authorizes grants to state, local, and territorial health departments to support the modernization of data collection methods and infrastructure to increase data collection related health inequities.
Public Health Assistance
- Codifies the CARES Act health care provider relief fund for the purposes of reimbursing eligible health care providers for expenses related to preventing, preparing for, and responding to COVID-19, as well as lost revenues that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program
- Establishes a loan repayment program to enhance recruitment and retention of state, local, tribal and territorial public health department workforce.
- Authorizes grants to medical schools in rural, underserved or minority-serving institutions. Grants can be used to build new schools and expand, enhance, modernize or support existing schools of medicine.
- Establishes a technical assistance center at SAMHSA that will support public or nonprofit entities and public health professionals seeking to establish or expand access to mental health and substance use services associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Public Health Assistance to Tribes
- Extends eligibility for the CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness program to tribes.
- Guarantees Indian Health Services and other tribal health organizations direct access to the Strategic National Stockpile, just like all 50 states.
- Administration for Children and Families: Allows $10.1 billion to provide supportive and social services for families and children through programs including:
- $7 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants.
- $1.5 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
- $1.5 billion to support paying water bills for low-income families.
- $50 million for family violence prevention and services.
- $20 million for Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act State Grants.
- $20 million for Community Based-Child Abuse Prevention Grants.
- Child Care and Home Visiting
- Social Services Block Grant (SSBG): Provides $12.15 billion in additional funding for programs including:
- $850 million to SSBG to fund child and family care for essential workers.
- Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program: Provides $100 million for programing for home visiting programs and virtual home visiting programs.
- Child Welfare
- $50 million for the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to serve older foster youth.
- 30% increase in funding fr the Education and Training Vouchers.
- Eliminates age limit fr Chafee-related services.
- Other Human Services Provisions
- Temporarily suspends penalties for non-custodial parents for inability to pay child support during the pandemic.
- Temporarily suspends the federal work participation rate requirements and the federal time limit for the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Provides $10 billion.
- Boosts SNAP maximum benefits by 15%, including a block grants increase to Puerto Rico and America Samoa. Increase is calculated using 115% of the thrifty food plan. (provision expires Sept. 30, 2021).
- Increases minimum monthly SNAP benefit from $16 to $30.
- Temporarily allows hot foods from approved retailers to be purchased with SNAP benefits. (In effect until the public health emergency is declared over.).
- Temporarily waives time limits and sanctions for program work requirements. (In effect until two years after the date of enactment of the Act).
- Excludes Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ($600 additional UI/month) from being considered as income from receipt and for 9 months thereafter.
- Requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to publish, within 10 days of receipt/issuance, any state agency request to modify statutory or regulatory requirements, and any denials of those requests.
Women, Infants and Children Program: Provides $1.1 billion.
- Provides additional funds for nutritious foods to low-income pregnant women or caregivers with young children who lose their jobs or are laid off due to the COVID-19 emergency.
- The USDA can increase the amount of a cash-value voucher under a qualified food package to $35 until Sept. 30, 2020.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program: Provides $150 million.
- Funds to help local food banks meet increased demand for USDA commodity foods.
Child and Adult Care Food Program: Provides $3 billion.
- Funding provides emergency financial relief to school meal providers and the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Pandemic EBT program
- Extends the program into 2020 and 2021 until schools decide to reopen.
Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Waives the non-federal cost share requirement for funds provided in the CARES Act.
- Allows participation for tribal member households already participating in SNAP who cannot access approved SNAP retailer stores to access the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
Nutrition Programs for Older Americans: $20 Million
- Additional funding for congregate and home-delivered meals.
- $100.15 billion to support the educational needs of states, including: $90 billion for a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for grants to governors to maintain or restore state and local fiscal support for K-12 and higher education, including:
- 65% ($58.5 billion) to local education agencies (LEAs).
- Distributed based on LEA share of Title I-A funds.
- Can be used to maintain operation and continuity of services, reimburse costs due to emergency, respond to emergency needs.
- 30 % ($27 billion) to institutions of higher education (IHEs).
- Distributed based 75% on institution’s relative share of Pell and 25% on total enrollment, excluding exclusively online students.
- Can be used to compensate for lost revenue, reimburse costs due to emergency, respond to emergency needs.
- 5% ($4.5 billion) to governors to award funding to LEAs and IHEs.
- $10.15 billion in additional funds for institutions of higher education, including:
- $1.7 billion for historically black colleges and universities and master f science in information systems.
- $7 billion for private, non-profit institutions.
- $1.4 billion for institutions with unmet need, including online-only institutions.
- $1.5 billion for an Emergency Connectivity Fund to help schools and libraries provide internet services.
Notable Education Provisions
- Extends suspension of payments on all federally-issued and private student loans through at least Sept. 30, 2021.
- Provides up to $10,000 in student loan debt relief for “economically distressed” federal and private borrowers.
- Maintenance of Effort:
- For FY 2020 through FY 2022, state must maintain percent of total spending on K-12 and higher education.
- For FY 2020 through FY 2022, state must maintain spending on both K-12 and higher ed at same level of average spending in three preceding fiscal years.
- State higher education spending per full-time equivalent student must be the same in FY 2022 as it was in FY 2019.
- Amends CARES Act to clarify private school share of funds under the “equitable services” provision is to be calculated based on children identified under ESEA Sec. 1115(c), which includes low-income, special needs and English learners.
- Prohibits the secretary of education from establishing priorities or preferences and imposing limits on use of funds that are not specified in bill.
- Prohibits the secretary of education from imposing restrictions on the populations of students who may receive funds under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund in the CARES Act.
- Provides $16.5 billion for direct payments to farmers and ranchers on top of the aid provided in the CARES Act. The bill also provides direct support to dairy producers, biofuel producers, and specialty crop growers. States would also receive block grants to fund farm stress programs to improve farmer mental health.
- Provides $100 million in additional funds for specialty crops, $28 million via block grants to state departments of agriculture for existing farm stress programs; and expands the conservation reserve program soil health incentive pilot program, which allows farmers to receive payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for planting perennial cover for conservation use.
- The bill provides $4 billion for the ‘‘Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund’’ to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19, domestically or internationally, through the provision of an emergency benefit for broadband service.
- $140 million to expand Indian Health Service broadband infrastructure and information technology for telehealth and electronic health record system purposes.
- The bill creates the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which requires that a provider shall provide an eligible household with an internet service offering, upon request by a member of such household. Such provider shall discount the price charged to such household for such internet service offering in an amount equal to the emergency broadband benefit for such household. This will be reimbursed from the Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund, for which an additional $8.8 billion is appropriated.
- Expands eligibility and eligible expenses for the Healthcare Connect Fund Program to improve connectivity for rural healthcare providers.
Energy and Environment Provisions
- Requires states and utilities receiving federal emergency funds to prevent electric and water utilities from undertaking shutoffs of residential customers. The bill also provides $1.5 billion for Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) while also expanding the number of people eligible. A new program, funded at $1.5 billion is also created at $1.5 billion, similar to LIHEAP, to help qualifying individuals offset costs associated with drinking water and wastewater services that would help pay their bills and avert shutoffs and late fees.
- Includes $50 million for environmental justice grants to research links between pollution exposure and the transmission and health outcomes of coronavirus in environmental justice communities.
- Provides nearly $15 billion to state departments of transportation to help fund road and bridge infrastructure projects along with $15.75 billion in assistance to public transit agencies, both of which have seen drastic declines in usage in the past two months.
- Imposes a mask-wearing requirement for passengers on commercial airlines, Amtrak and major public transit agencies.
- Provides $3.6 billion to states for election planning, preparation and resilience. No less than 50% of state allocation must go to localities. Funds will come to states through the Election Assistance Commission. The bill contains grant opportunities for conducting audits.
Other Elections Provisions
- States and localities within states that administer elections must make a publicly available contingency plan for administering elections for federal office in the event of a public health or national emergency. Contingency plans must be updated every five years and contain measures for protecting the health and safety of poll-workers and in-person voters. The bill requires state and local election officials to recruit poll-workers from other unimpacted states and populations.
- The bill contains a private right of action, which was specifically NOT a provision of the Help America Vote Act.
- Requires all states to offer an early voting period of at least 15 consecutive days, including weekends, before a federal election. Polls must stay open for 10 hours on early voting days and have uniform hours on all days. Polling places must be near public transportation to the extent possible and there must be adequate polling places in rural areas.
- Absentee voting must be available to all voters and states are prohibited from imposing additional restrictions on voters (such as voter ID and notarization or witness signature) as a condition of obtaining an absentee ballot but can require an unnotarized signature. Individuals must be provided an opportunity to cure inconsistencies in signature. Ballots cannot be rejected if they are postmarked on or before the date of the election.
- Voter registration must be available over the internet. All states must permit same-day voter registration for eligible voters.
- $600 million in Pandemic Justice Response Act grants to include $500 million to prevent, detect and stop COVID-19 in correctional institutions,
- $25 million for COVID-19 testing at correctional institutions,
- $75 million for juvenile justice issues.
- $300 million for Byrne/JAG criminal justice funding to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19, including the purchase of PPE. This funding waives any state-local match and non-supplanting requirements.
- $100 million for Violence Against Women and waiver of local match.
- $300 million in Community Oriented Policing Services funding for hiring law enforcement and purchase of PPE. Local match waived.
- $250 Second Chance Act funding for reentry initiatives. Waiver of non-supplanting requirements.
U.S. Postal Service
- $25 billion available until Sept. 30, 2022. Funds must be prioritized for the purchase of PPE and additional cleaning/sanitizing supplies.
- $400 million for COVID-19 related census issues and $10 million for current census surveys and programs.
- There is a mandated 120-day delay in the publication of apportionment and state redistricting data due to COVID-19 Census operations disruptions. Each state’s deadlines for legislative apportionment or districting must be considered. Census Bureau must send census data to the state no later than 16 months after the census date of April 1. Census data methodology must meet the same or higher data quality standards as similar products produced by the Census Bureau in the 2010 Census. It is unclear if this last sentence resolves the differential privacy issue.
- $75 billion to states, territories and tribes to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impacts of the pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing-related costs.
- $100 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.
- $4 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance to allow public housing agencies (PHAs) to respond to COVID-19 and the ability to keep over 2.2 million families stably housed even when facing a loss of income, including $1 billion for new, temporary vouchers for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, or fleeing domestic violence. Allows PHAs the flexibility necessary for the safe and effective administration of these funds while maintaining fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and environmental protections.
- $2 billion in the Public Housing Operating Fund for PHAs to carry out COVID-19 response for the operation and management of almost 1 million public housing units. Allows PHAs the flexibility necessary for the safe and effective administration of these funds while maintaining fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and environmental protections.
- $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants for COVID-19 response and to mitigate the impacts in our communities to be distributed by formula to current grantees. The legislation continues to waive the public services cap to allow communities to respond to the impacts of the pandemic.
- $11.5 billion in Homeless Assistance Grants for Emergency Solutions Grants to address the impact of COVID-19 among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and diversion activities to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
- $100 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance to provide emergency assistance to help low-income renters at risk of homelessness avoid eviction due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- $750 million in Project-Based Rental Assistance ensure the continuation of housing assistance for low-income individuals and families living in project-based rental assistance properties, and to ensure housing providers can take the necessary actions to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the pandemic.
- $500 million in Housing for the Elderly to maintain operations at properties providing affordable housing for low-income seniors and to ensure housing providers can take the necessary actions to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure access to supportive services for this vulnerable population, this includes $300 million for service coordinators and the continuation of existing congregate service grants for residents of assisted housing projects.
- $200 in Housing for Persons with Disabilities to maintain operations at properties providing affordable housing for low-income persons with disabilities, and to ensure housing providers can take the necessary actions to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- $100 million in Housing Counseling Assistance to enable housing counselors to respond to the surge of demand for services, which include foreclosure and eviction mitigation counseling, considering the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill allows the purchase of technology and equipment so services can be provided through electronic means.
- $14 million to the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity to address fair housing issues resulting from COVID-19. This includes $4 million for Fair Housing Organization Initiative grants and $10 million for education and outreach grants to educate the public and the housing industry about fair housing rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Authorizes $100 billion for an Emergency Rental Assistance program that would allocate funding to states, territories, counties and cities to help renters pay their rent and utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, and help rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs.
- Provides $75 billion to states, territories and tribes to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing-related costs.
- Extends and expands the eviction moratorium and foreclosure moratorium in the CARES Act to include all renters and homeowners, improves the forbearance provided under the CARES Act, and specifies the loan modifications and loss mitigation that should be available to homeowners following a moratorium to prevent any homeowner from facing a lump sum payment that they cannot afford.
- $700 million in supplemental funding for USDA’s rental assistance programs, including $25 million for rural vouchers to absorb reductions in tenant rent contributions and to provide rental assistance to unassisted households living in USDA subsidized properties who are struggling to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Authorizes $5 billion for the public housing operating fund and $3.5 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program, including $500 million for administrative fees to help PHAs absorb reductions in tenant rent contributions and mitigate other costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Authorizes $297.5 million to ensure individuals are protected from housing-related hate crimes and increasing forms of housing discrimination from Coronavirus-motivated bias through adequate and accessible housing discrimination complaint intake, investigations, and public education of housing rights, as well as robust enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.
- Authorizes $700 million in funding for NeighborWorks to support housing counseling services that help homeowners, renters, people experiencing homelessness, and people at risk of homelessness navigate their housing options and rights, including protections and resources provided through COVID-19 relief legislation.
- Authorizes $11.5 billion for the Emergency Solutions Grants program to enable state and local governments to finance housing and health-related services for the hundreds of thousands of people currently experiencing homelessness.
- Authorizes $10 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers targeted to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and survivors of domestic violence.
- Ensures that federal COVID-19 assistance can be used by the families who need relief rather than creditors. Exempts federal COVID-19 relief payments from being treated as property of the estate in bankruptcy proceedings.
- Ensures that families who need to file for bankruptcy in response to COVID-19 will be able to keep their homes by increasing the amount of home equity protected to 100,000.
Source for select information: Bloomberg Government