The American Rescue Act Plan of 2021 (ARP)
from Ehrens Consulting
The American Rescue Act Plan of 2021 (ARP), signed into law on March 11, 2021, is a multi-faceted package that will provide assistance to the people who are still working to increase their lost or reduced earnings and dig out from debts that have been accumulating over the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ARA includes provisions to help with health, childcare, food, unemployment insurance and more.
Specific food and nutrition help provided through the ARP includes:
- Extending the 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits through September 2021; 68 percent of these benefits are estimated to go to families with children. This increase averages to about $28.00 per person per month, meaning that there is about one million dollars per month more being spent on food in North Dakota.
- Extending the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program for the full duration of the pandemic. P-EBT benefits are provided for children whose households participate in SNAP for make up for meals missed when schools are closed.
- Support for state agencies with matching funds to administer increased program demand.
LIFTING CHILDREN OUT OF POVERTY
Maybe the most remarkable thing about the ARP is the potential to lift children out of poverty, which can help our children achieve their fullest potential, and help our whole nation succeed. It seems that all people can agree that we would like a better life for all our children.
Analysis shows that elements of the ARP including extension of pandemic unemployment benefits, extension of the higher levels of SNAP, the $1,400 recovery rebate payment, and that advance on the Child Tax Credit (CTC) have the potential lift 40 percent of children in the United States out of poverty.
The CTC changes include making it available to people who previously earned too little to benefit from it, extending the benefit to children aged 17, and increasing the amount of the benefit from $2000 to $3000 for children ages 6-17 and to $3600 for children under age 6. Based on just the expansion of the CTC in North Dakota, it is estimated that 4,000 children will be lifted out of poverty and 10,000 children will be lifted above or closer to the poverty line. Moreover, nearly all North Dakota children, about 157,000 (92 percent) will benefit from the CTC changes.
The additional money from the ARP will help families be able to afford enough food every day for a healthy and active lifestyle, and prevent families from having to make difficult decisions between paying for food and paying for rent or for medications.
Though the impacts of COVID have been severe, we are beginning to build back. But after going through such a trying period in our state and nation, we have the potential not just go back to where we were, but to get to an even better place than we were before.
Questions? Contact Karen Ehrens, firstname.lastname@example.org