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$500 stimulus checks sent to low-income workers in Massachusetts

Residents in Massachusetts could soon receive a payment from their state, paid for in part by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan relief fund.

Update:
Low-income workers in Massachusetts get $500 direct payments
DADO RUVICREUTERS

Select residents in Massachusetts are going to start receiving $500 direct payments from the state, part of the Commonwealth’s Essential Employee Premium Pay Program.

This round of payments will be sent out on Tuesday, 7 June with more than 300,000 residents expected to be eligible for the financial support. In the first year of the pandemic the federal government issued three rounds of stimulus checks but that well has dried up, with President Biden now turning his attention to the high rate of inflation.

However the money being sent out in Massachusetts is actually funded by the federal government, with Gov. Charlie Baker utilising the money distributed in the American Rescue Plan. The program is designed to reward the efforts of certain workers who had to remain going to work every day during the pandemic.

The payments are open to Massachusetts residents who worked and filed a tax return for 2021. Eligible single filers may earn no more $39,000 but that threshold increases for larger household sizes. A family of four with income less than $79,500 can receive the full payment.

“It’s a way to help these people with a relatively modest amount of $500, but it’s something to recognize their service,” said John Rogers, Professor of Economics at American International College.

Why is Massachusetts giving residents $500?

Although the short-term economic pressures that necessitated the federal stimulus checks have eased, the financial consequences of the pandemic are still being felt keenly. As the US economy has opened up over the past year, the flow of money back into the stagnating economy has caused it to overheat, pushing up prices across the board.

“Obviously with inflation rate, it’s not going to last very long, but it might help with your gas bills and some of the incidentals that are racking up now,” Rogers said of the new $500 payments.

Nation-wide, the annual inflation rate in the US was recorded at 8.3% for the year ending April 2022. This has made a huge difference to household budgets and threatens to push more families into poverty unless wages begin to grow at a similar rate.

“Even if you have a job, your salary might go up four or five percent, which sounds great, but inflation is at eight -and-a-half percent and you’re not really making any progress and that’s just very debilitating to people,” Rogers added.

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