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Schatz, Senators Announce New Legislation To Provide Emergency Cash Assistance To Low-Income Families And Individuals

Bill Creates New $10 Billion Emergency Grant Program To Help Low-Income Families Address Basic Needs, Prevent Household Emergencies During COVID-19 Pandemic

HONOLULU – U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) today announced legislation that would establish a new $10 billion Coronavirus Emergency Assistance Grant program to help low-income families and individuals experiencing significant financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Families who were already struggling to get by before this crisis have been hit hard by this pandemic, and they need help,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill will give vulnerable families additional resources to pay their bills and make ends meet, providing some much-needed help to those who need it most.”

The Pandemic TANF Assistance Act appropriates $10 billion for Coronavirus Emergency Assistance Grants that would allow states, territories and tribes to provide eligible families short-term cash, non-cash and in-kind assistance to help address their basic needs, prevent household emergencies like foreclosure, forfeiture, and termination of utilities, and avoid children needing to be removed from their homes.

The Coronavirus Emergency Assistance Grant funds may also be used for subsidized employment for jobs that can be performed remotely or essential work as long as individuals have access to personal protective equipment. When federal and state emergency declarations are lifted, the funds may be used for a broader array of subsidized employment. Benefits are limited to individuals negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty line.

The Pandemic TANF Assistance Act would also temporarily waive work requirements and other barriers to assistance for current Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program beneficiaries who may be unable to complete program work requirements due to state economic closures, social distancing measures, illness or caring for a loved one.