American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Summary Features and Changes

March 25, 2021

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Summary Features and Changes

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed HR 1319, The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP). This new Congressional relief bill delivers additional aid in response to the persistent impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and all businesses. A top priority will be getting the $1,400 direct stimulus payments to individuals and the continued support measures to unemployed workers.

Importantly and favorably for our members, the newly passed The ARP Act includes provisions that increase the amount and duration of federal relief for reimbursing employers. And, for members whose employees have been separated from employment, The ARP Act allows a tax exclusion of $10,200 for UI benefit income in the 2020 tax year for households with adjusted gross incomes under $150,000.

Highlights, and positive results for you, of unemployment related provisions in The ARP Act are:

  • An increase in the federal reimbursement amount, from 50% of charges to 75% of charges, to reimbursing employers for weeks beginning after March 31, 2021, through the week ending prior to September 6, 2021
  • An extension of the 100% federal reimbursement of state extended UI benefits for nonprofits through the week ending Friday, September 6, 2021
  • An extension of federal funding for the first week of regular unemployment compensation
  • An extension of temporary financing of Short-Time Compensation agreements/payments (a.k.a. STC, Shared Work, or Work Share programs)
  • An extension of the waiver of interest on outstanding loans for states to pay UI benefits

Additionally, The ARP Act also extended coverage related to the 2020 UI Pandemic Programs that paid additional benefits to all unemployed workers and expanded eligibility for many workers not covered under regular state unemployment benefits or those who may have exhausted their benefits. Those include: 

  • FPUC (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) – A federally funded supplement of $300 weekly will continue to be added to state and federal unemployment benefits for weeks beginning March 14 through the week ending September 4, 2021.
  • PEUC (Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation) – These additional weeks of federally funded benefits will continue to be provided to eligible individuals who exhaust their traditional state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.
  • PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) – These federally funded benefits will continue to be provided to individuals who do not qualify for regular state unemployment, such as the self-employed, part-timers, and gig workers. 

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