Rescue act

American Rescue Act Adds Stimulus Payments and Relief for Territory

VI Housing Finance Authority Executive Director Daryl Griffith announced a March 29 go-live date for the Emergency Housing Assistance Program. (Screenshot)

Welcoming the recently passed American Rescue Act as “historic” federal legislation, Government House officials detailed on Monday what local residents can expect in terms of further relief, including the third round of stimulus payments, unemployment benefits and the extension of the earned income tax credit.

Speaking at Monday’s weekly virtual press briefing, Government House communications director Richard Motta Jr. said the third round of stimulus checks would be launched once the territorial government receives a lump sum from the treasury. American to cover the payments. According to the guidelines, people earning up to $ 75,000 and couples earning up to $ 150,000 are eligible for a payment of $ 1,400 per person and for each claimed dependent.

Additional assistance includes:
– Additional unemployment benefits of $ 300 until September 6;
– The extension of the child tax credit to $ 3,000 for children aged 6 to 17 and to $ 3,600 for children under 6;
– Additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to issue loans to small businesses with special effort to include non-profit organizations;
– Additional grants for the VI Education Department and the University of the Virgin Islands;
– Additional funding to help support child care services;
– Support for low-income families, such as increased funding for the Energy Assistance Program and the Special Supplementary Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children;
– Public health funding to administer and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, provide contact tracing and purchase testing supplies and personal protective equipment;
– Targeted support for bars and restaurants;
– Additional funding for the emergency rent assistance program, which the VI Housing Finance Authority will launch at the end of March; and
– Increase in the earned income tax credit from $ 530 to $ 1,500 for adults without children and increase in the income limit from $ 16,000 to $ 21,000.

“To highlight what this means for the Territory, the Earned Income Tax Credit creates a shortfall of $ 20 million in tax revenue each tax year for the Territory and contributes significantly to the backlog of the territory in paying tax refunds on a timely basis, ”Motta said. “Because our mirror of the US tax code requires the territory to pay more than $ 20 million in tax credits per year for tax revenue it does not collect, this provision of the US bailout not only kicks it off.” a financial boost to the working poor in our territory. , but it also provides essential support to our government to fulfill this mirror tax code mandate. “

Also speaking on Monday, VI Housing Finance Authority executive director Daryl Griffith said from Wednesday that his agency would launch a major “media blitz” to explain who is eligible for the rent assistance program and how residents can apply. The program can help pay up to 12 months of unpaid rent and up to three months of rent in advance. The program’s upload date is March 29, he said.

Meanwhile, Motta said the district court’s recent decision to allow the territory to resume collecting excise taxes would not only help the VI government balance its budget, but would help pay off obligations in suffering, including reimbursing government employees for the 8 percent cut during the national economic recession nearly a decade ago. In his state of the territory address, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said the first payment of excise taxes collected would go towards the debt, which Motta confirmed on Monday.

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