If you have been reading the posts in this series, Understanding the American Rescue Plan Act in Colorado, you know that the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) will have big impacts on how Coloradans can afford and access health coverage. This post includes some of the non-health aspects of the law. The ARPA makes many changes that may impact your and your clients’ financial stability.

Visit our blog to read the first two posts of the series:

  1. Understanding the American Rescue Plan Act in Colorado: Private and Marketplace Insurance
  2. Understanding the American Rescue Plan Act in Colorado: Health First Colorado and CHP+

Tax and Economic Benefits:

An immediate financial stimulus from the ARPA is the Economic Impact Payments. All individuals who make up to $75,000 have already received or will receive $1,400 (or $2,800 for a married couple making up to $150,000). Most of these checks were sent early March and are often referred to as “stimulus checks.” Individuals can track their payment through the IRS’s online tracking tool.

There was also an expansion to the Child Tax Credit. For one year, the ARPA increases the amount of the credit to $3,600 for kids under the age of six and $3,000 for kids under the age of 18. Families with kids aged 17 are also newly eligible for this benefit since the benefit previously cut off at age 16. Eligible families will receive this money through monthly payments during the year from July 1 – December 31. This allows Coloradans to benefit from the credit earlier, rather than waiting to file their 2021 tax returns in early 2022.

Colorado Children’s Campaign estimates that it will lift 57,000 Colorado kids out of poverty.[1]

The ARPA also introduced an expansion to the Earned Income Tax Credit. For one year, the ARPA makes this credit available to people without children. Individuals can receive up to $1,502 depending on income and filing status. Learn more about ARPA’s tax and economic benefits from Get Ahead Colorado.

Unemployment Benefits:

The ARPA changes how people will pay taxes on unemployment benefits and increases federal benefits. First, people will not have to pay federal income taxes on their first $10,200 of unemployment benefits they received in 2020. Second, ARPA extends federal unemployment through September 6, 2021, with $300 per week for eligible people on top of state benefits. Learn more about ARPA’s unemployment benefits from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Housing Assistance:

The ARPA allocates money for housing-security. However, the state has not yet announced plans to distribute these funds. Assistance includes:

  • Homeowner Assistance Fund: Minimum of $50 million for Colorado homeowners who are experiencing hardships. These funds can be used for mortgage payments, utilities, and more.
  • Emergency Rental Assistance: Minimum of $152 million for Colorado renters who are struggling to pay for rent and utilities because of COVID-19.
  • Emergency housing vouchers for people experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness

Learn more about ARPA’s housing benefits from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

Food Assistance:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP benefits were previously increased by 15%, or about $28 more per person per month. This extension was scheduled to end in June; however, the ARPA extended the benefit through September 30.
  • Pandemic-EBT: The ARPA extends Pandemic-EBT, which gives funds to families to buy food due to COVID-19 related school closures, during any school year when the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is in effect and through the summer. The Colorado Department of Human Services announced that it expects P-EBT for the 2020-2021 school year to be available later this year.
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): The ARPA increased the Cash Value Voucher in WIC to $35 for four more months.

Learn more about ARPA’s food benefits from Hunger Free Colorado.

More resources for a deep dive into the programs mentioned here include:

[1] https://www.coloradokids.org/american-rescue-plan-will-provide-critical-assistance-for-kids-and-families/