HEALS Act Must Do More To Provide Economic Relief Through Government Payments

August 12, 2020 | New York

The HEALS Act – the Senate GOP’s proposed Relief Package – includes an additional one-time relief payment of $1200 and extends the $500 payment per dependent to include adult dependents. The stimulus payments, first included in the CARES Act, are crucial to helping American families suffering from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although they are helpful, the stimulus payments were not enough to help ease the economic burden caused by the pandemic. The HEROES Act acknowledges this reality and increases the monetary amount of the stimulus payment, while the HEALS Act fails to adequately support families in need.

At a time when New Yorkers are struggling with unemployment and food insecurity at unprecedented rates, relief payments are incredibly important. Among New Yorkers who received relief payments, 59.4% of respondents used their relief payments to buy food between July 16 and July 21. 

New York families depended on their relief money to provide for their children. Between July 17 and July 21, 64.5% of households with children used their relief check on expenses, while only 56% of households without children used their relief check on expenses. Stimulus payments are particularly essential for low-income families who are already more vulnerable to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau. Household Pulse Survey. Week 12. Table 1: Stimulus Payment Usage.https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/tables/hhp/2020/wk12/stimulus1_week12.xlsx

The HEROES Act, originating in the House of Representatives, also includes an additional one-time relief payment of $1200, but it includes an increase of payment per dependent to $1200 per dependent, which the HEALS Act does not. We urge representatives in the Senate to recognize the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and to work with the House of Representatives to include a larger amount of money for each dependent to help families afford their expenses.