Phase III of COVID-19 Relief Aims to Help Business, Families Alike

Late last week, Congress passed and the President signed a massive economic relief package (greater than $2 trillion) to help businesses large and small as well as individuals and families cope with the economic realities brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. Most of the aid can be broken up into seven sectors which will be provided with funding:

  • $560 billion to Individuals
  • $500 billion Large Corporations
  • $377 billion to Small Businesses
  • $340 billion to State and Local Governments
  • $153.5 billion to Public Health
  • $43.7 billion to Education
  • $26 billion to Social Safety Nets

Specific to our early learning work, the child care sector received $3.5 billion in funding nationally through increases in the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and an additional $750 million for Head Start. For the CCDBG funds, estimates are that Pennsylvania stands to have approximately $100 million in federal dollars come into the state. Funds may be used to support providers due to decreased enrollment, continue to pay staff salaries, and to provide child care to essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic without regard to income eligibility requirements. The Head Start funds would allow some programs to operate supplemental summer programs through existing grantees.

The legislation also provides billions in aid to children and families. A married couple with two children making less than $150,000 annually can see a one-time payment of up to $3,400 ($1,200 per individual and $500 per child). The payment amount is scaled down as income levels rise. Families can expect payment in the coming weeks. In addition, the bill contains $3.5 billion in funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant, and Pennsylvania can expect to see about $100 million from the federal government. Schools being shuttered can mean that children aren’t getting the food they need on a daily basis, and this bill contains $8.8 billion to provide meals to students while schools are not in session. Another $15.5 billion is being allocated for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for those who may now qualify due to income loss during the pandemic. Additional economic relief can be found in the form of enhanced unemployment insurance with the federal government providing an additional $600 per week on top of the state’s weekly unemployment payment, and a 13-week extension has also been granted in this bill.