Even though the coronavirus stimulus will help, organization cautions that further measures will be necessary
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) commends Congress and the White House for passing into law the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that will provide aid to individuals, families and communities.
“Our nation is experiencing unprecedented levels of psychological and economic devastation as a result of this public health crisis” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. “We applaud lawmakers and the Trump Administration for working quickly in a bipartisan way to bring relief to working class and middle-class Americans, many of whom are struggling to afford housing, food and health care during this pandemic.”
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third COVID-19 relief package that Congress has enacted in as many weeks, includes extended and increased unemployment insurance, coronavirus testing at no cost to patients (including people who are uninsured), and a $1,200 rebate for all U.S. residents with an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 ($150,000 if married). It also contains a number of other provisions that will go a long way towards helping people as they cope with this crisis. This includes:
- $1 billion for the Community Services Block Grant to help communities address the consequences of increased unemployment and economic disruption.
- Extending the Medicaid Community Mental Health Services demonstration that provides coordinated care to patients with mental health and substance use disorders, through November 30, 2020.
- Providing $425 million for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to increase access to mental health services in communities, provide suicide prevention services and care for people who are homeless. The bill also includes $45 million to respond to family and domestic violence, including providing services or shelter.
- Waiving nutrition requirements for Older Americans Act (OAA) meal programs to ensure older adults can get meals in case certain food options are not available.
- Increasing the budget for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $15.5 billion, and $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs in order to ensure children receive meals while school is not in session.
- Providing $200 million for food assistance to Puerto Rico and the territories to ensure these citizens receive more support during the pandemic.
Child Care and Development
- $3.5 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant. This funding will allow childcare programs to maintain critical operations and ensure first responders and health care workers can access childcare during the pandemic.
- $750 million for Head Start to meet emergency staffing needs.
- Providing $3 billion in rental assistance protections for low-income Americans.
- Including $900 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds to help lower income households heat and cool their homes.