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Massachusetts to send out premium payments to low-income workers


Checks for $500 in premium pay will be distributed to a half-million Massachusetts residents over the next week, state officials announced.

The payments, Gov. Charlie Baker said, are being dispersed to low-income workers under the state’s COVID-19 Essential Employee Premium Pay Program and are the first round of the $460 million program passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Republican governor.

The program, according to the release, is a moving part of the $4 billion spending plan for American Rescue Plan Act funds the state has received. Eligibility parameters were worked into the design of the program to provide needed support to workers across the state.

Residents who are eligible for the program based on 2020 Massachusetts tax returns with $12,750 in income, which is the equivalent of working 20 hours per week for 50 weeks, and the resident’s total income fall 300% below the federal poverty level, according to the release.

However, those individuals who earned income from unemployment compensation in 2020 are not eligible for the first round of payments, nor are executive branch state employees who have received or will receive a one-time payment from the state.

Payments will be sent out via check, according to the release. The first round of payments amounts to $250 million from the program.

A call center for those with eligibility questions is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The number is 866-750-9803.

This article was originally posted on Massachusetts to send out premium payments to low-income workers

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