Brittney Lofthouse –Contributing Writer
Every family in North Carolina with at least one child will receive a one time payment of $335 from the state as part of the Coronavirus Relief Funding 3.0 Bill approved by state leaders last week.
“This budget followed my recommendations on school enrollment funding and invested in important areas like high speed internet access and disaster relief, but legislators should have done more to expand Medicaid, support small businesses, pay our educators, assist with rent and utilities relief and further help unemployed North Carolinians,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “Obviously I don’t agree with every provision, but the funding for pandemic support in this budget is critical and must move forward.”
According to the legislation, the Department of Revenue will issue the checks to every family in the state no later than Dec. 15. In order to get a check, individuals need to file a 2019 state income tax return by Oct. 15. To be eligible, families also need to be a resident for the entire 2019 calendar year and report at least one child who is 17 and under on their state tax form.
“Families in North Carolina were catapulted into an unprecedented situation in March when COVID19 changed the day-to-day for all of us,” said Rep. Kevin Corbin. “We know this money will not begin to cover everything associated with unexpected childcare costs, but it’s one of many ways the most recent budget passed in the legislation will help the hardworking families in our state.”
If you didn’t file a state tax return solely because your gross income didn’t meet the state’s requirements, you could still get a check. But you will have to apply through the Secretary of Revenue. Applicants will also have to meet the other requirements, including being a resident of North Carolina for all of 2019 and having at least one child who is 17 and under.
The relief measure also increases North Carolina’s unemployment benefits for families to the second highest in the Southeast by increasing the amount by $50 a week, while maintaining tax rates for employers still recovering from the pandemic and rehiring displaced workers.
The measure delivers on a top public school priority of holding education funding levels “harmless,” regardless of expected drops in enrollment.
The “hold harmless” funding policy was cited by education leaders as the most important measure lawmakers could take to support North Carolina schools.
Relief for North Carolinians in House Bill 1105 Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 also includes:
• A total increase of $115 million to education
• $17 million in grants for exceptional children’s services
• $50 million to the Lost Wages Assistance Program
• Help for more families to qualify for scholarship programs
• Additional $45 million for small business grant program
• Bipartisan priorities like the PPE+NC program
• Elimination of education wait lists for kids with disabilities
• $44.5 million for hurricane recovery from four major storms
• $38 million on direct services for behavioral health
• Support for safe voting with $5 million for elections boards