Velázquez Leads Charge to Make Pandemic Unemployment Help Tax-Free
U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Queens, Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn) has introduced legislation that would make the $600 weekly benefit provided in the “CARES Act” tax free.
In April, Congress created the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit, which provides an extra $600 a week for any worker who is eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation (UC) benefits.
Under Velázquez’s bill, the “Excluding Pandemic Unemployment Compensation from Income Act”, laid off workers would not count the $600 payments as taxable income.
“With millions of workers suffering from the most severe economic downswing since the Great Depression, we shouldn’t be imposing an additional tax burden on families struggling to get by,” Velázquez said. “This legislation will protect New York’s working families from paying tax on this assistance or facing an additional tax burden if the economy picks back up and they are able to return to work.”
In addition to ensuring those struggling financially do not pay taxes or receive a smaller refund, Velázquez’s bill would guarantee that those receiving the benefit are not made inadvertently ineligible for other federal benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
While FPUC does not affect eligibility for programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as unearned taxable income, it does count against SNAP eligibility. Guidance is still pending regarding how FPUC might affect families’ ability to access TANF.
Schumer, Gillibrand Announce $33 Million in Emergency Funding for Housing Assistance
U.S. Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday announced $33,441,456 in federal funding allocated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
This funding was secured under the CARES Act for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, which funds the HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program. The program supports activities that help or maintain the health and safety of assisted individuals and families. Additionally, the program covers increased subsidy and administrative expenses incurred by public housing authorities (PHAs).
“Every New Yorker deserves a safe and secure place to call home, and this federal investment, that I worked tirelessly to negotiate, gets us one step closer to that goal,” said Schumer. “As New York still reels from the devastating effects of the ongoing pandemic, we need to do all we can to support affordable housing for our most vulnerable residents, including this funding, secured under the CARES Act for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, which funds the HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program as well as public housing. I will always fight tooth and nail for resources that keep New Yorkers safe, especially during these challenging times.”
“As public health officials continue to urge people across the country to stay home, we need to make sure that we provide the necessary support to vulnerable New Yorkers hit hardest by the economic impacts caused by COVID-19,” said Gillibrand. “This funding will help provide New Yorkers with access to safe and affordable housing during these uncertain times. I am proud to have fought to secure this funding allocated in the CARES Act, and I will continue to advocate for New Yorkers during this pandemic.”
Addabbo Postpones Upcoming May Events
State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) announced yesterday that with the state on pause due to the Coronavirus pandemic until at least May 15, he is officially postponing all of his scheduled May events.
Events that Addabbo had scheduled for May include:
· Thursday, May 7, Mobile Office Hours at Peninsula Library;
· Thursday, May 14, Mobile Office Hours at Ridgewood Library;
· Friday, May 15, Annual Senior Job Fair;
· Thursday, May 21, Mobile Office Hours at Rego Park Library; and
· Thursday, May 28, Mobile Office Hours at North Forest Park Library.
“In order to keep my constituents and communities safe, I must postpone my upcoming events for the month of May, as the city and state continue to flatten the curve and adhere to social distancing orders,” Addabbo said. “I hesitate to say that I am canceling anything, as I am working to reschedule these important events for when the health crisis we are facing is over, especially the Senior Job Fair. Please call my office with any questions.”
PA Williams Warns Against Potential Persona Data Breach in COVID Testing
Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams yesterday said as the city and state move forward in the development and implementation of contact tracing programs to combat COVID-19, there also needs to be enhanced oversight and strong protections against the abuse of the personal data of New Yorkers used to prevent the spread of the disease.
“As contact tracing is employed to stem the transmission of COVID-19 and protect New Yorkers’ health, it is vital to ensure that in intent and in impact, protecting the public health without jeopardizing the public’s civil liberties is paramount,” said Williams. “Given the history of governments misusing the collection of private information, it is imperative to have policies and procedures in place to protect that information prior to the wide-scale implementation of the program.”
In letters to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, Williams noted both the strong public health potential of contact tracing programs and the inherent risks associated with mass collection of private information
“The safety and privacy of the data collected must be a central tenet in New York’s effort to create programming for contact tracing. Impulsive decisions without a plan to store, use, and ultimately destroy this data can result in misuse, violations of privacy, and false positives,” he wrote.
Queens Chamber Holds Virtual Queens Day in Albany 2020
The Queens Chamber of Commerce is inviting businesses and residents for a virtual visit with the Queens Assembly and Senate Delegations as it hosts a virtual Queens Day in Albany tonight.
“Join us on Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May to celebrate along with members of the Queens Delegation from the Senate and Assembly. We know many of you were disappointed that we could not make our annual trip to Albany this year, so we are bringing Albany to you. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from our elected officials and celebrate along with the rest of Queens,” the Chamber wrote on their invitation.
The event starts at 6 p.m. and the address for attendees is: Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81317850467. The Meeting ID is 813 1785 0467, Audio conference:
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York), One Tap Mobile: +19292056099,,81317850467# US (New York)