Family Cash Assistance Act To Help Families Recover from National Disaster or Economic Crisis

The Family Crisis Cash Assistance Act is a legislation that will help families struggling through a natural disaster or economic crisis with immediate cash assistance. It was introduced by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon).

The cash assistance is set at $2,000 a month for an individual, $3,000 for a family of two and $500 more per additional member of the family, capped at $4,000 a month and adjusted for inflation moving forward. The assistance is not taxable nor can it be garnished. The program prohibits rules requiring work, participation in child support programs, an asset test, discrimination based on immigration status, or artificially limiting the length of eligibility.

The Family Crisis Assistance Act will create a new program under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and provide grants to states. States will be asked to develop a distribution plan and will be responsible for disbursing cash assistance to families and individuals with incomes at 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Line or below through a mandatory funding mechanism. The program phases out assistance gradually, ending at 300 percent of FPL.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, direct cash provides families with immediate relief and gives them the flexibility and choice to use on rent, food, or other expenses.

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