Coronavirus: Resources for Californians
American Rescue Plan
You can find the latest information about COVID-19 from the California Department of Public Health at covid19.ca.gov. Free, confidential COVID-19 testing is available to every Californian who needs it. Visit https://covid19.ca.gov/get-tested/ for information on COVID-19 testing and tools to find a testing location near you. Vaccine distribution continues to ramp up across the state. Everyone in California will have an opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at no cost. For information on your vaccine eligibility, visit myturn.ca.gov.
American Rescue Plan
One of Senator Padilla’s first key votes as a United States Senator was for the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, to provide relief to millions of Americans. The American Rescue Plan is a historic investment that will help get the COVID-19 crisis under control, bring urgently needed economic relief to millions across California, and put resources to work in the communities, hospitals, schools and small businesses that need them. The White House has provided an online resource guide to help Americans understand how the American Rescue Plan will directly benefit you at https://www.whitehouse.gov/American-Rescue-Plan/. You can download a fact sheet from Senator Padilla’s office on what the American Rescue delivers to California here. For more detailed information on the American Rescue Plan, visit: https://www.democrats.senate.gov/arp
Direct payments approved in the American Rescue Plan are on the way now.
Who gets direct payments?
$1,400 will be sent to single adults with incomes of up to $75,000 (or $112,500 for those who file as a “head of household”) and $2,800 to married couples with incomes of up to $150,000. Eligible families will also receive an additional $1,400 payment per child and adult dependent, amounting to $5,600 for an average family of four. Payments phase out to zero for single adults with $80,000 in income and $160,000 for married couples. Unlike previous rounds, adult dependents are eligible for payments. Citizen spouses and children living in mixed-status families are also eligible.
How is eligibility determined?
For households who have already filed their income tax return for 2020, the IRS will use that information to determine eligibility and size of payments. For households that haven’t yet filed for 2020, the IRS will review records from 2019 to determine eligibility and size of payment.
How will I get my payment?
For tax returns with direct deposit or bank account information, the IRS will be able to send money electronically. For those households for which Treasury cannot determine a bank account, paper checks or debit cards will be sent. For more information from the IRS on these direct payments, visit: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/more-details-about-the-third-round-of-economic-impact-payments
Through the American Rescue Plan, the federal government will continue to provide an additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. This more than doubles the average Californian’s unemployment benefits. These enhanced unemployment benefits will continue through September 6, 2021.
Additionally, California households making under $150,000 will not have to pay taxes on up to $10,200 of unemployment compensation in 2020.
Californians can apply for unemployment benefits through the California Employment Development Department.
The best way to begin the process is by going online and clicking here. Claims can be filed online Sunday 5:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday 2:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Saturday 2:00 am to 8:00 p.m.
Child Tax Credit
The American Rescue Plan expands the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,000 per child (and $3,600 for children under six).
This will benefit nearly 8 million California children and lift 553,000 California children out of poverty.
For the 2021 Child Tax Credit, families will begin to receive payments this year rather than having to wait for their tax refunds in 2022.
The 2021 Child Tax Credit is “fully refundable”—making the full credit available to children in families with low earnings or that lack earnings in a year. This means that even if a family’s tax liability is less than the amount of their Child Tax Credit, they will receive a cash refund for the remainder of their Child Tax Credit.
Earned Income Tax Credit
The American Rescue Plan improves the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for 1.85 million California workers. It is the largest expansion of the EITC for workers without children in over a decade.
- The maximum EITC for workers without children will be almost tripled, from approximately $530 to approximately $1,500.
- The income cap for adults to qualify for the EITC is raised from about $16,000 to $21,000.
- The age range of eligible workers without children is expanded to include younger adults aged 19-24 who aren’t full-time students, as well as people aged 65 and over.
The American Rescue Plan increases Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (known as CalFresh in California) benefits by 15 percent through September 30, 2021, providing an extra $118 million per month to support Californians who rely on this program. This will increase benefits by $28 per month for 4.24 million Californians. For information on applying for CalFresh, visit: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/food-nutrition/calfresh.
The American Rescue Plan also extends the Pandemic EBT program which provides families whose children would normally receive school meals in person with the value of those missed school breakfasts and lunches. It also expands access to more fruits and vegetables through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). If you or someone you know needs help getting food during the coronavirus outbreak, there are resources available at https://covid19.ca.gov/food-resources/.
Housing and Homelessness
The American Rescue Plan addresses California’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis by allocating an additional $2.2 billion in emergency rental assistance, $1.2 billion in homeowner assistance, and $590 million in homelessness assistance funding.
Senator Padilla announced over $667 million in federal funding—provided by the American Rescue Plan—will go toward supporting local affordable housing programs and projects across California.
To check eligibility requirements for rent relief, apply, or find a Local Partner Network organization who can assist you further, visit HousingIsKey.com or call 833-430-2122, toll free
State and Local Assistance
The American Rescue Plan supports essential government workers, functions, and critical safety net programs by allocating nearly $43 billion to the State of California, counties, and cities.
These funds will help:
- address public health care costs of pandemic response;
- fill revenue shortfalls;
- provide premium pay for essential workers;
- and invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
More information on how these funds will support communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is available here.
Small Business Assistance
The American Rescue Plan provides billions in funding to support small businesses across the nation, including:
- $15 billion in new funding for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) grants to support hard-hit, underserved small businesses. Information on applying for EIDL grants can be found here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/covid-19-economic-injury-disaster-loans
- $7.25 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and expanding eligibility to additional nonprofits and digital news services. Information on the PPP can be found here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program
- Additional funds allocated for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program
- $28.6 billion for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for industry-focused grants
- $100 million to establish a Community Navigator pilot program; grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID–19 pandemic assistance programs and resources
The American Rescue Plan provides $4.6 billion to ensure access to safe, reliable transit services in California. It also helps transit agencies avoid slowdowns or delays on critical capital projects.
The vast majority of the funds will be provided through existing Federal Transit Administration (FTA) formula grant programs. Public transit providers should watch for FTA announcements regarding the apportionment of ARPA funds and any related application guidance. (Sign up for FTA’s GovDelivery email notices here.)
California airports will also receive approximately $900 million for pandemic relief.
The American Rescue Plan provides $30.4 million to the FTC to combat the rise in consumer scams during the pandemic. This funding would allow the FTC to employ more personnel and enhance enforcement efforts to root out COVID-19 scams. For FTC resources on avoiding COVID-19 scams, visit: https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams-consumer-advice
Many families have struggled with the costs of a funeral after losing a loved one. The American Rescue Plan provides financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses. This program reimburses eligible families up to $9,000 per funeral.
For information on this program, or to see if you qualify, please visit FEMA.gov/funeral-assistance/faq
Applicants may apply by calling 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday. Multilingual services are available.
The American Rescue plan provides $4 billion to reduce hunger across the country, strengthen the food supply chain, and support farmers of color.
Strengthens the food supply chain:
- Increases food purchases for distribution through food banks, nonprofits, and restaurants to feed families in need;
- Provides PPE for farmworkers and other frontline food workers;
- Provides financial support for farmers, small and medium sized food processing companies, farmers markets, producers, and local food systems.
To protect the health and safety of consumers and farmers, it provides funding to monitor COVID-19 in animals and reduce overtime inspection fees for small meat and poultry processors.
Supporting farmers of color: Debt relief and financial assistance will be available to farmers of color who have faced years of discrimination and been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic. In a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Senator Padilla requested that some of this funding be used for translation services to keep language barriers from preventing farmers from accessing USDA benefits.