Half a million eligible low-income workers should see a $ 500 check by mail by the end of March through the Baker Administration’s COVID-19 Essential Employee Premium Pay Program.
These payments include $ 250 million of a $ 460 million program passed by the state legislature to use the state’s U.S. Rescue Planning Act funds.
Residents of Massachusetts will be eligible for these payments if their tax returns for 2020 show an income of at least $ 12,750, or the equivalent of a 20-hour work week for 50 weeks with a minimum wage in 2020. The total income of eligible workers must have been below 300 % of the federal poverty level.
By 2020, this income should be below $ 38,280 for a single household, $ 51,720 for two people, $ 65,160 for three people and $ 78,600 for four people. A complete diagram can be found at Mass.gov. Workers from any industry are entitled to the payments. Married couples must qualify independently to receive a payment.
Those who received unemployment benefits in 2020 will not qualify for this payout round, nor will it inform executive staff who have received COVID payouts from their employers.
A future payout round will be based on tax returns for 2021, and further rounds are also on the table.
For eligibility questions, a dedicated call center is available at 866-750-9803 and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.