Stimulus Update 2022: Essential Workers In This State Will Receive $500 Checks

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Elise Amendola/AP/Shutterstock (12608976a)Massachusetts Gov.
Elise Amendola/AP/Shutterstock / Elise Amendola/AP/Shutterstock

The one-time Employee Premium Pay Program $500 payments will be delivered to 500,000 people in March in Massachusetts, with the first receivers being essential workers.

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“Distribution of the first round of $500 payments for low-income workers under the COVID-19 Essential Employee Premium Pay Program is finally happening! I am glad that these essential workers who worked through the pandemic are getting a little help!” Sen. Pat Jehlen tweeted.

On December 13, 2021, Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law the COVID-19 Essential Employee Premium Pay Program. The Legislature allocated $460 million for premium payments to Massachusetts workers, which will distribute a $500 payment to 500,000 low-income workers across Massachusetts, according to the state’s website.

In order to be eligible, recipients must have:

  • Filed a 2020 tax return
  • Been a Massachusetts resident in 2020, or a part-year resident that lived in Massachusetts between March 10, 2020, and December 31, 2020
  • Earned income of at least $12,750 in 2020 employment compensation
  • Had a total household income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level in 2020
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All eligible individuals will automatically receive a check in the mail, according to the state’s website.

However, individuals who received unemployment compensation in 2020 will not be eligible for the first round of payments, nor will Commonwealth executive branch employees who received or will receive a one-time payment from the state as their employer.

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The $12,750 income requirement equates to working 20 hours a week for 50 weeks at minimum wage as of 2020 ($12.75). For example, the maximum total income for a single filer with no dependents will be $38,280; a resident who files with a spouse and two dependents, or with no spouse and three dependents, could be eligible with a household income up to $78,600. Married filers can each be eligible, provided each independently qualifies, the website notes.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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