March 23, 2021

American Rescue Plan Includes Relief for Families

On March 12, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act into law to provide direct relief to Americans, rescue the American economy, and implement a national COVID-19 vaccination program. The plan includes funds to provide direct relief to families.



Since March 2020, American families and the American economy have been struggling. Millions of Americans, many of whom are people of color, immigrants, and low-wage workers, continue to put their lives at risk to keep the country functioning. Additionally, more than 9.5 million workers have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, four million of whom have been out of work for six months or more.

To address the economic and public health crisis, and provide direct relief to American workers, the American Rescue Plan was signed into law. According to a fact sheet provided by the White House, “the plan will build a bridge to an equitable economic recovery and immediately reduce child poverty.” More than two-thirds of the tax cuts and direct payments included in the plan will be distributed to families making less than $90,000 per year.

What’s Included

The American Rescue Plan will:

Mount a national vaccination program, contain COVID-19, and safely reopen schools.

    • Roughly $160 billion will be invested to provide supplies, emergency response, testing, and public health workforce to stop the spread of COVID-19, increase the distribution rate of vaccines, and address racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes.
    • $130 billion will be invested to help schools serve all students, no matter where they are learning, and help achieve President Biden’s goal to safely open the majority of K-8 schools within the first 100 days of his Administration. Funds have been set aside at the state and local levels to ensure states and districts can address learning loss and the social-emotional needs of students disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities.

Deliver immediate relief to American families who bear the brunt of this crisis.

    • The Child Tax Credit will increase from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age six) and make 17-year-olds qualifying children for the year.
    • Families will receive an additional tax credit to help cut child care costs. Families will receive a refundable tax credit for as much as half of their spending on child care for children under the age of 13. Families will be able to receive a total of up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children.
    • Expanded child care assistance will help child care providers cover their costs and increase tax credits to help cover the cost of child care.
    • Working families will receive a $1,400 per-person check. More than 85 percent of households will receive a check. For the first time, adult dependents are entitled to a check as well. Track the status of your payment with the Internal Revenue Service’s Get My Payment Tool.
    • Current employment insurance benefits and eligibility will be extended to September 6, which will save 11 million Americans from losing benefits, provide a $300 per week supplement, and help protect Americans from surprise tax bills on 2020 unemployment insurance.
    • Emergency aid will be available to cover back rent and provide assistance to help struggling homeowners catch up on their mortgage payments and utility costs through the Homeowners Assistance Fund. Additional funding will also be provided for families and individuals who are recovering from or at risk of homelessness.
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will increase by 15 percent through September 2021. The bill also funds partnerships with restaurants to feed American families and keep workers in the restaurant industry on the job. Additional nutritional assistance funding is available to U.S. territories like Puerto Rico.
    • Health insurance premiums will be lowered for millions of lower- and middle-income families enrolled in health insurance marketplaces. The plan also subsidizes premiums for continuation health coverage (COBRA).
    • The Earned Incom Tax Credit for 17 million workers will increase by as much as $1,000.

Support communities that are struggling in the wake of COVID-19.

    • Emergency grants, lending, and investments will be provided to hard-hit small businesses to help them rehire and retain workers and purchase necessary health and sanitation equipment to keep workers safe.
    • More than $360 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments will be distributed to ensure they can keep frontline workers on the job and paid, while also effectively distributing the vaccine, scaling testing, reopening schools, and maintaining other vital services.
    • Help hard-hit public transit agencies avoid layoffs and service reductions, which disproportionately harm workers who are more likely to be dependent on public transportation.

More Information

For a full overview of the American Rescue Plan, view this document (PDF). For more information, visit the White House website.

Information provided by the White House.