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American Rescue Plan Toolkit For Legislators
May 2021

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a stronger, more equitable economy and to shrink long-standing disparities. Hardship due to the pandemic and economic crisis is still widespread and is particularly difficult among Black, Latino, Indigenous people, immigrants, and households with children. State legislators will play a critical role in ensuring that the American Rescue Plan reaches those in need.

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State Legislator Action Steps

Benefits from ARP can dramatically improve lives and set the stage for a stronger and more equitable recovery—but only if we all do our part to make sure each and every Americans has access. 

Here are some ideas to spread the word:

  • Host a virtual or telephone town hall about the ARP
  • Post about the ARP’s benefits on social media. Use our toolkit below.
  • Include links to ARP benefits in your newsletter
  • Partner with local nonprofits and service providers
  • Connect with hard-to-reach communities using text and robocalls
  • Reach out to local reporters to make sure they’re covering the benefits available

Explaining the Benefits

The American Rescue Plan is one of the most progressive pieces of legislation in history, with more than two thirds of its tax cuts and direct payments going to families making less than $90,000 per year. See below for a quick breakdown of some of the key benefits available to your constituents. Learn more at WhiteHouse.gov.

$1400 Checks

Encourage constituents to access their stimulus checks by filing their taxes and check on their payment using the IRS.gov Payment Tool.

The American Rescue Plan includes an additional $1,400 in direct cash relief for millions of Americans.

Eligibility Criteria 

  • If you are single and make less than $75k/year  
  • If you are the head of a household  and make less than $112,500 
  • If you are married and together make less than $150,000 

Other Resources

Child Tax Credits

Encourage constituents to access the CTC by filing their taxes. Anyone with income less than $72,000 can file taxes for free at their local VITA provider.

The American Rescue Plan increases the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6) and makes 17-year-olds qualifying children for the year. 

This means a typical family of four with two young children will receive an additional $3,200 in assistance to help cover costs associated with raising children. The families of more than 66 million kids will benefit.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Get up to $3,000 tax credit per child for children 6 and over
  • Get up to $3,600 tax credit per child for  children under 6 years old 

Other Resources

Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Encourage constituents to access the EITC by filing their taxes. Anyone with income less than $72,000 can file taxes for free at their local  VITA provider.

The American Rescue Plan increases the EITC for 17 million workers by as much as $1,000. The top occupations that will benefit are cashiers, food preparers and servers, and home health aides—frontline workers who have helped their communities get through the crisis.

Key points: 

  • Makes EITC available to far more low-paid workers not raising children in the home
  • Raises the maximum EITC for workers without children from roughly $540 to roughly $1,500, and raises the income cap for these adults to qualify from about $16,000 to at least $21,000.

Other Resources:

  • See state-by-state estimates of the number of people who will benefit from the EITC. 
Health Insurance

Encourage constituents to lower health care costs by signing up for health care at Healthcare.gov.

The American Rescue Plan reduces healthcare premiums by offering additional premium tax credits (PTCs), expands eligibility for PTCs to more people, and gives many people receiving unemployment benefits access to plans with $0 premiums. These changes are reflected at HealthCare.gov and all state-based marketplaces.

Other Resources:

COBRA Coverage

Direct constituents to our blog about accessing free COBRA coverage.

ARP covers the cost of COBRA coverage for people who have lost health insurance due to job loss or a reduction in work hours.

Other Resources:

Food Assistance

Direct constituents to their state SNAP program or the toll-free SNAP information line: (800) 221-5689

The American Rescue Plan dedicates $12 billion to food assistance programs, allowing states to extend SNAP increases, continue the P-EBT program, and invest in WIC improvements.

Other Resources:

Rental Assistance

Encourage constituents to apply for emergency rental assistance at the state or local level.

The American Rescue Plan provides substantial funding to help renters and homeowners who are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage.

Other Resources: 

Eviction Protections

The CDC national eviction moratorium will be in effect until June 30, 2021. The order does not replace or override stronger state or local eviction protections in place and tenants and advocates should continue to work for strong local, state and federal protections.

Other Resources:

Unemployment Insurance

Direct constituents to their state labor services or to call (866) 487-2365. 

The American Rescue Plan continues the $300-per-week federal supplement to weekly benefits through September 6, 2021, and continues the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that expands eligibility to a broader group of people. 

Read more at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

More Resources

Find state-by-state info to tailor the below messages to your state here and here.  

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