The end of federal stimulus checks in 2022 led to 21 states coming up with inflation relief and other support measures for residents. Despite the economic downturn and the high rate of inflation, there has been little by way of fresh announcements by both the state and the federal governments.
But local governments, including cities, have come up with innovative solutions to help out sections of residents with funds obtained from various sources. The city of Cambridge is one such local administrative entity that has announced the launch of Rise Up Cambridge. This is a direct cash transfer program.
This stimulus check helps families combat poverty and income inequality. The program is slated to be a $22 million assistance program that relies on funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to provide direct cash assistance to eligible families that apply.
This program supports households earning at or below 250% of the federal poverty level and with children who are up to the age of twenty-one. Such families are in line to receive a stimulus check of $500 for a period of eighteen months.
Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui of Cambridge declared at a press conference that families surviving below the poverty line simply did not have the money to achieve stability because the economic growth that Cambridge has witnessed has not percolated every section of the society.
The benefits have been limited to the rich and the upper sections of the middle class, hence the Rise Up Cambridge stimulus checks.
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The first round of the stimulus check offered by the city was in 2021 when the Cambridge Recurring Income for Success and Empowerment (RISE) was launched. This scheme assisted single-caretaker, low-income families that were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
RISE served as a pilot for Rise Up Cambridge and was a guaranteed income initiative that offered $500 payments for eighteen months to over a hundred eligible households that were chosen by lottery.
This new round of stimulus checks by the Massachusetts city will begin accepting applications on June 1 this year and the initial payments are expected to begin by the first week of July. Mayor Siddiqui said that this is what every government should be doing.
Rise Up Cambridge is at present run jointly by the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Community, the Office of the Mayor of Cambridge, and the Cambridge Community Foundation.
In an interview, the mayor said that the stimulus checks under the Rise Up Cambridge are the way the government is telling its residents that they see them, and trust them to use the money the way they want to help their families.
The ultimate goal of the assistance program is to provide families with children with direct cash assistance, empowering residents to determine how best to support their financial shortages and address the economic differences and racial inequities in the city.
City Manager Huang said that there exists a marked dignity in allowing people to have the choice and also the power to decide on what their needs are.
In an interview after the conference, Mr. Huang said that the stimulus check program is a marked step forward that recognizes that individuals, and especially families, are in desperate need of resources that are present. They really need these resources to have a rare opportunity for them to survive and also thrive.
Huang said that many of the services that were built are now making a vast difference in the lives of people. But the stimulus checks are primarily at the root of this vast improvement in regular income. He said that it is an affirmation of cash assistance and needs to be recognized.
Democratic Representative Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts said that the launch of the program by the various city governments was an extraordinary moment.
Tina Alu said that the combined stimulus check payments will conduct outreach programs in seven languages that will be spread across the city.
Fresh Updates On Other Stimulus Checks
Eligible taxpayers in New Mexico who have filed their state income tax returns for 2021 (Personal Income Tax Returns) and were not declared as a dependent on the form of another New Mexico taxpayer will receive a stimulus check of up to $1,000 for married couples filing jointly from July. This was revealed by the office of Governor Lujan Grisham.
The last date to file the state tax return and get the payments was May 31. Filers will receive $500 for individual filers and double that for married couples filing singly and $1,000 for married couples filing jointly.
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Taxpayers who have migrated to a different state for lack of after filing their income tax return for 2021 should update their address which has been prevented a more.
Filers who have changed addresses and have shifted recently to a different object since they have filed their returns for 2021 can update the facts and get their stimulus checks.
Guaranteed income has been around for a long time in isolated cities and local administrations. They have even been espoused by the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. The first and most comprehensive study of stimulus checks through guaranteed income was done in Stockton in California between 2019 and 2020. It revealed that low-income families who received recurring payments without any strings attached largely used the money for basic expenses like groceries.
But the overall impact of such stimulus checks went far beyond that. There were many other benefits, some quite intangible. For instance, at the start of the Stockton experiment, most participants reported instances of anxiety or depression, or even both.
But after a year of unconditionally guaranteed income stimulus checks, people were found to have been largely rid of the scarcity and moved from people likely to suffer from a mental health disorder and moved into the category of those likely to be well.
The Stockton experiment also revealed a marked increase in full-time employment of those who received this unconditional cash support. One reason was that this additional income removed several financial barriers. This included child care and transportation, issues that people faced when trying out a new job.