COVID Financial Resources & Benefits

Child Tax Credit

The American Rescue Plan increased the amount of the 2021 Child Tax Credit to support families with children. Eligible individuals may receive up to $3,600 for each child under age 6 and up to $3,000 for each child ages 6 through 17.

To get money to families quickly, during 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) paid half of the credit as monthly payments—up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 for each child ages 6 through 17. Eligible families will receive the other half by claiming the child tax credit when filing their 2021 federal income tax return in 2022. Most families can receive the full amount—even families with little to no income. Students are likely eligible for the full amount if they:

  • have children under age 18 who lived with them for more than half of 2021; and
  • are either a single parent making less than $112,500 or are married and the couple makes less than $150,000.

Most parents should have received the tax credit automatically, but if for some reason they did not and they are eligible, then they should receive the full amount of the credit when they file their income tax return.  The credit is fully refundable, meaning that even those who do not owe any taxes can claim the full amount and get a payment back equal to the full amount of the credit.

Recovery Rebate Credit / Economic Impact Payment

Students who did not receive an Economic Impact Payment under the American Rescue Plan, and on whose behalf as a dependent a payment was not made, could be eligible for a $1,400 per-person Recovery Rebate Credit when they file taxes in 2022. To be eligible for the full amount, a student would typically have to be:

  • single and make less than $75,000/year; 
  • the head of a household and make less than $112,500/year; or 
  • married and the couple together makes less than $150,000. 

For more information on eligibility, visit the IRS website on Economic Impact Payments. If students are eligible and haven’t filed a 2020 income tax return, filing a 2020 return will allow the IRS to automatically pay students the first two economic impact payments they may have missed (by filling in the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit line of the 2020 income tax return). If students are eligible for the third impact payment of up to $1,400 per person and haven’t received them, they should claim it by filing a 2021 income tax return in 2022 and claiming the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit. Students claimed as a dependent for tax purposes are ineligible for economic impact payments on their own dependent portion of the economic impact payment.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Students may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a Federal program that provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of low-income individuals and families so they can purchase healthy food. Eligible students can use SNAP benefits to buy food for their households, including fruits, vegetables, meat­­, poultry, fish, dairy products, breads, cereals, and other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages.

Generally, students attending an IHE half-time or more are not eligible for SNAP unless they meet certain requirements, such as working 20 hours per week or caring for a child. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 temporarily added two new provisions allowing eligibility for students who have an expected family contribution (EFC) of zero (0) or who are eligible to participate in State or Federally funded work study. These temporary provisions are in effect until 30 days after the end of the Federal COVID-19 public health emergency.

Health Insurance Enrollment

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded access to high quality, affordable health insurance through the ACA health insurance marketplaces, such as HealthCare.gov, and Medicaid.  The American Rescue Plan (ARP) temporarily expanded the financial assistance available for individuals buying their own health insurance through the ACA health insurance marketplaces, saving individuals, on average, $50 per month. Four out of five enrollees will be able find a plan for $10 or less per month after the ARP’s expanded financial assistance is applied. Individuals who enroll in health coverage through Medicaid will have access to free or low-cost quality, health care.

Unemployment Insurance

If students have become unemployed through no fault of their own (as determined under State law), and meet other eligibility requirements of State law, they may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

  • Unemployment insurance payments (benefits) are intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers who meet the requirements of State law.
  • Each State administers a separate unemployment insurance program within guidelines established by Federal law.
  • Eligibility for unemployment insurance, benefit amounts, and the length of time benefits are available are determined by the State law under which unemployment insurance claims are established.

Students can contact their State Unemployment Insurance agency as soon as possible after becoming unemployed.

Housing Assistance

The American Rescue Plan expanded numerous COVID-19 housing supports for homeowners, renters and landlords who may be struggling to pay their rent or mortgage. Students may qualify for the Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF) and local Emergency Rental Assistance programs. Links to available resources and applications are available through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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