When the pandemic struck in 2020, the federal government made billions of dollars available to help Americans survive the economic downturn and unemployment that ensued, eventually passing on some funds to the states for additional assistance to their residents.
While the federal funds provided under the immediate COVID-19 stimulus packages and the subsequent American Rescue Plan have dried up, six states still have some money left to distribute to qualifying residents. Plus, new programs that could put money back into the pockets of millions of Americans took effect Jan. 1 under the Inflation Reduction Act that was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Biden last year. Read on to learn whether you are due any government benefits in the new year.
Payments From States
California, Colorado, Idaho, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and South Carolina are the six states that still have funds allocated in 2022 to distribute in 2023.
Each state has different qualifications and payment amounts. For example, in California, payments range from $200 to $1,050 and are based on income, tax-filing status and household size. In Pennsylvania, rebates go only to residents 65 and older, widows and widowers 50 and older and people with disabilities who are at least 18 and meet certain income limits.
Recipients of some of the programs will get their money in January, with payments from other states spread throughout spring.
Inflation Reduction Act
Greater opportunities for financial benefits exist under programs offered through the Inflation Reduction Act, but recipients must meet certain criteria. Still, several benefit components launched in January, and you just might qualify. They include these programs, focused on both health savings and benefits you can reap by taking advantage of energy-savings programs:
- Capped cost on insulin: For Medicare recipients with Part D plans, the cost of insulin — no matter how much is prescribed — will be capped at $35 per month, without a required deductible. Plans have until the end of March to update their systems to reflect the change, so don’t worry if you are charged more in those months. Your plan, by law, must reimburse you if you pay more than $35. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates at least 1.4 million people covered by Medicare will benefit.
- People covered by Medicare Part D won’t pay for vaccines, including those for shingles, pertussis, HPV, MMR and diphtheria. In 2020, 4.1 million people with the coverage received vaccines, according to the office of Virginia Sen. Mark R. Warner.
- The Inflation Reduction Act extended enhanced subsidies to lower health insurance premiums through the end of 2025. If you shop for health insurance through HealthCare.gov or your state’s marketplace, you’ll continue to save money. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reports consumers saved an average of $800 on their premiums in 2021.
- If you make changes to your home’s energy efficiency, you could qualify for tax credits of up to $3,200 that will help fund your home upgrades. Qualifying improvements include things such as the installation of heat pumps, water heaters, insulation, and doors and windows — or upgrading your home’s electrical panel. With these improvements, you’ll get the tax credit, but you’ll also save on your energy costs long into the future.
- Have you been considering buying an electric vehicle? Now could be the time. Through the Inflation Reduction Act, you can receive up to a $7,500 credit when you buy a new electric vehicle and up to $4,000 on specific electric vehicles and plug-in vehicles. Be sure to read the fine print to make sure the vehicle you’re interested in qualifies. You’ll also need to meet certain financial criteria, such as a household income of less than $300,000 for new autos and half that for used vehicles. Price caps per vehicle also apply.
If none of these scenarios applies to you, stay tuned. Other components of the Inflation Reduction Act will kick in throughout the year, making benefits available to even more Americans.
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