Senator Hawley Announces Emergency Family Relief Plan

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) unveiled the Emergency Family Relief Act of 2020 to provide families facing uncertainty during the coronavirus outbreak a guarantee of financial relief from looming economic hardship. The bill’s introduction comes in advance of Senate consideration of the House-passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a proposal requiring employers with fewer than 500 employees to guarantee workers paid sick and family leave.

“Struggling families need help, and they don’t have time to sort through confusing rules and mandates about who’s paying for what and how. They’re not sure what’s going to happen to mom’s or dad’s workplace during this crisis, or if their work can afford to keep everyone on payroll. Let’s not overthink this. These families need relief — now — to pay bills that are coming due, make those emergency grocery runs, and get ready for potential medical bills. Let’s get it to them.”

Senator Hawley

Yesterday evening, Senator Hawley argued that, “With 30 million children out of school as of today & parents straining to cover work & childcare, Congress needs to provide additional, targeted relief to parents — and soon.” The Emergency Family Relief Act of 2020 achieves just that.

As Senator Hawley noted this morning on Fox and Friends, “This would send relief to families based on the number of children that they have and the size of their income, based on need, to help parents who are having to stay home and care for a child, who are having to maybe care for a loved one, and who are having to try and find some sort of childcare so that they can go on working. I think we need to get relief into the hands of working families right now.”

The Emergency Family Relief Act of 2020

  • Provide families experiencing school closures or financial hardship a fully refundable monthly benefit lasting through the coronavirus emergency to make it through this crisis unscathed. The benefit matches the IRS’s monthly standards for household expenses:
    • $1,446 for a family of three
    • $1,786 for a family of four
    • $2,206 for a family of five
  • Guarantee timely benefit delivery every month during this emergency by building on existing federal payment and verification infrastructure run by the Treasury Department and expedited applications utilizing past tax return data for prior filers
  • Target those most in need – providing its full benefit to all single parents making less than $50,000 and to all married parents making less than $100,000 before phasing down the credit value – with a benefit generous enough to cover real costs

Who qualifies?

All married parents of underage children making below $100,000 receive the full benefit for periods of economic distress or school closure due to coronavirus. Single parents receive the full benefit up to $50,000 in income. It reduces by $50 per $1000 in income above these thresholds.

Do I also get paid leave?

The House-passed coronavirus response legislation offers a federally financed paid leave benefit for workers. If both policies were implemented, families who receive one benefit would remain eligible for the other.

How will I apply and receive the benefit?

Through the tax collection infrastructure, the Treasury Department has data ready on all tax filers and systems in place to provide rapid delivery of benefits like this one. Applicants will be able to use their 2018 tax data to apply seamlessly. Treasury will also provide a process to allow new filers an opportunity to demonstrate eligibility.

The full bill text can be found here and a one-pager can be found here.