Applications are still available for a possible one-time $250 hazard payment to essential Louisiana workers, says state Rep. Neil Riser.
The Louisiana Department of Revenue will take payment applications through Oct. 31 at frontlineworkers.la.gov.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne has been reported saying the $50 million allocated to the program will not last, but Riser advises eligible workers should continue in the application process.
“It is getting close to the limit, but any money not spent out of the CARES Act will be allocated to this,” Riser said.
To be eligible, a worker must have made $50,000 or less last year and worked at least 200 hours outside their home between March 22 and May 14.
The program is designed for occupations considered part of the essential infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic when most people were encouraged to stay home, including health care workers, first responders, grocery store employees and many more.
Payments will be made by direct deposit if a person’s bank account and routing information is provided on the application, according to the program’s website. Otherwise, the rebate will be made by paper check and mailed to the address on the application.
The program operates on a first come, first served basis with the first 200,000 approved applications receiving payments.
House Bill 70, making the payment possible, passed both House and Senate unanimously after being authored by District 2 Rep. Sam Jenkins, Jr. and co-authored by Riser. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill July 13.
“This was truly a bipartisan effort,” Riser said. “We would have liked to have done more, but every little bit helps.”
Lawmakers approved numerous tax breaks and incentives for businesses during the 2020 Legislative sessions, but the hazard payments are the only monetary benefit directed to individuals.
The program is being funded from a portion of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act pandemic relief. Lawmakers portioned $50 million out of the $811 million from the CARES Act.
Louisiana Main Street Recovery program
In a related topic, Louisiana Main Street Recovery officials began taking grant applications July 28, according to Sen. Glen Womack.
“During the regular session, we secured $275 million in federal funding to support our local businesses impacted by COVID-19 and created the Louisiana Main Street Recovery program,” Womack said. “Local business owners can apply for grant funds from the program up to $15,000 of reimbursable expenses.”
Grants will first be given to businesses who did not receive a Payment Protection Program loan, insurance payment or an economic disaster loan or advance. Also, businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans are given “priority,” according to its website, louisianamainstreet.com.
According to its website, $40 million will be awarded to minority, women or veteran-owned applicants.
Last day for priority given to applications that received no federal assistance is Aug. 17 while final application deadline is Nov. 4.
Businesses may be eligible if they incurred interruption, disruption, unplanned expenses or extraordinary costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic or the public health measures put in place by state or local government officials.
Business also must have no more than 50 full-time workers.
The program is being administered by the Louisiana Department of Treasury.