The COVID-19 public health emergency harmed many vulnerable members of society, including retirees. In addition to health problems, the disease brought with it financial issues for many Americans. A new stimulus package called The American Rescue Plan (the “Plan”) aims to provide much-needed support on many levels.
About Those Checks …
As in previous relief bills, the government is sending stimulus checks to eligible individuals. In some cases, eligibility has changed.
The new stimulus package includes payments of up to $1,400 for an expanded range of dependents, including young adults and older adults. All dependents factor into the amount the household receives but will not get individual checks. For example, households supporting an older relative or a college student should be able to count them as dependents. Previous bills did not allow this.
Income requirements have changed also. People who make less than $75,000 annually will receive the full $1,400. Anyone earning more than $80,000 per year is not eligible for the third stimulus check.
New Stimulus Package Perks for Retirees
Over and above cash payments, the American Rescue Plan includes some benefits to retirees.
- Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021. At least 100 multi-employer pension plans were shored up financially, protecting pensions for approximately 1.5 million union workers.
- Health Care Availability. Additional funds were provided to help older Americans with Affordable Care Act insurance premiums and COBRA payments. Also, the Plan addresses behavioral issues for senior adults.
- Medicaid Expansion. Under the new stimulus package, states will see new incentives for states to expand their Medicaid services.
- Housing and Utilities. The Plan provided additional monies to help people struggling with rent, mortgage payments, and utility bills.
- Extended Emergency Benefits. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program provides health and nutrition assistance to low-income people over age 60. The Plan provides an additional $37 million.
- Older Americans Act. This part of the Plan provides $1.43 billion to assist retirees and seniors with nutrition, senior centers, transportation, in-home care, elder abuse protections, caregiver support, and nursing home safety.
- The Elder Justice Act. The new stimulus package provides $276 million annually to support programs that target elder abuse, provide additional protective services, and improve protections for people living in long-term care homes.
- Earned Income Tax Credit. Both the credit and the income limit increased, as well as the eligible age range.
Another perk – the Child Tax Credit – at first, may not seem to be a benefit for retirees. However, some of the 2.7 million American grandparents raising at least one grandchild could qualify.
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Attorney Robert Slutsky was one of the first lawyers in Pennsylvania to focus on elder law issues. Since 1992, he has helped countless people plan for their future, set up proper estate plans, plan to protect assets and care for loved ones, and successfully apply for Medicaid.
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