Montgomery County will provide relief payments to low-income residents who do not qualify for federal stimulus funds or state benefits.
Montgomery County residents with incomes less than 50% of the federal poverty level who are not eligible for federal COVID-19 stimulus checks or state benefits will receive a one-time emergency assistance check through the County’s Emergency Assistance Relief Payment (EARP) program.
Approximately $2.5 million will be disbursed to residents by the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and another $2.5 million will be targeted to individuals and families served by nonprofit organizations in the community. Funding for the initiative is based on actions by County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council.
“It is no surprise that this crisis is hitting our poorest residents the hardest, which is why we developed this program,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “When I first announced that we were going to use $6 million out of reserves to assist people in need during this crisis, I knew it would not be enough based on the magnitude of this situation. However, this is an important step: EARP was designed to provide a hand up to people who might not otherwise qualify for other kinds of assistance.”
“Local leaders are united in our commitment to doing all that we can to assist our community members throughout the global pandemic,” said Council President Sidney Katz. “The County’s Emergency Assistance Relief payments will provide immediate cash assistance to help reduce the devastating financial hardships being experienced by our low-income residents who are struggling to provide the essentials and keep food on their tables.”
According to a press release:
The first group of recipients will begin receiving $1,000 for a family with one child (plus $150 for each additional child up to a maximum of $1,450 per family) early next week.
Approximately 1,300 families currently served by the County’s Care for Kids program will be the first recipients of payments. The Care for Kids program provides primary health care services to Montgomery County children who do not qualify for federal and state health care programs.
“COVID-19 continues to take a toll on our economy and this program is one way to help stabilize families that are fighting to survive. I want to thank the Council for its partnership as we built this program, and we will keep working on ways to support our residents,” Elrich said. “I also want to recognize the tremendous acts of kindness by so many in our community who are volunteering and working to uplift their neighbors and community. Collectively, we can reduce the impact on people’s lives and improve our recovery efforts.”
In the second phase, the County will partner with nonprofit service providers in the community to identify additional families and individuals eligible to receive the cash assistance. In addition to the second phase, there will be an opportunity for residents to self-identify and apply directly to DHHS for assistance. Additional information regarding the next phases will be announced later this week. County officials anticipate that all three phases will be implemented before the end of May.
“These payments will help to meet some of the need in tandem with our increased assistance for nonprofit service providers,” Katz said. “In addition, these payments are needed to fill the financial assistance gap for our community members who are not eligible for federal or state relief.”
“As DHHS works to meet the growing needs of county residents in the midst of the pandemic, I am grateful for the collaboration with the HHS committee, and our community partners in making this funding available,” said Raymond Crowel, DHHS director. “These are challenging times for all of us and we know the needs of our neighbors are immense. Our full range of services will remain open and available to all residents who need our help and support. This funding comes at a critical moment and will give much needed assistance to those whose needs are most urgent.”
Visit Montgomery County’s COVID19 website for more information.
For up-to-date information and state resources regarding coronavirus, including confirmed case counts and clinician guidance, visit http://health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.