We have made a number of other posts on this blog concerning the new Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA”). The massive $2.3 trillion spending and stimulus bill goes far beyond sending out another stimulus check to Americans or establishing a new round of Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans to businesses. In this post we will dive deeper into the CAA and look at some of the social services affected by the Act.
Eviction Moratorium Extension
In August, President Trump announced an executive order providing a moratorium on evictions for renters which started in September and was set to expire at the end of 2020. The CAA extends these federal eviction protections through January 31, 2021. The eviction moratorium applies to people earning $99,000 or less per year, or $198,000 for couples filing jointly. Any rent not paid is still owed, and the landlord may still charge fees and penalties for the failure to pay rent. The moratorium simply prevents renters from being evicted for failing to make payments.
Although the federal eviction moratorium is extended through the end of January, Governor Cuomo on December 28, 2020 signed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. This Act places a moratorium on residential evictions in the State of New York until May 1, 2020. For a tenant to receive such protections they must have endured a “COVID-related hardship.” Tenants must submit a hardship declaration, or a document explaining the source of the hardship, to prevent an eviction. Landlords may evict tenants that do not submit a hardship declaration, or tenants that are creating safety or health hazards for other tenants.
In addition to an extension to the eviction moratorium, the CAA also provides $25 billion in rental relief which households will be able to use to pay past-due rent, future rent, and utility bills. The funds for rent relief will be distributed to state and local governments, that will develop guidelines for distributing the money. Households are eligible for assistance if the household income is below 80% of the area median income, and a member of the household has: qualified for unemployment benefits, experienced a reduction in income or experienced other financial hardships due to the pandemic, or can show a risk of housing instability.
The CAA also expands funding for many food service programs provided to Americans. The CAA increases the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) benefits by raising the maximum allotments to 115% of the June 2020 value of the Thrifty Food Plan (“TFP”). For a family of four receiving the maximum allotment, they will see an increase of their benefits by $102.
The CAA also expands the Pandemic-EBT program which covers families with children in child-care and also provides funding for nutrition programs for senior citizens, such as Meals on Wheels, which will be able to provide more food boxes to seniors.
If you have questions concerning the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 the attorneys at the Wladis Law Firm may be reached at (315) 445-1700 or by emailing your usual firm contacts. We will do our best to provide you with updates and will be available to answer questions as circumstances change.