The American Rescue Plan Act In Depth: Opportunities for Individuals

Oct 26, 2021 | News

Several programs authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) continue to provide financial assistance to tribal members and other individuals to address the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19. These include advance and regular Child Tax Credit payments, Emergency Broadband Benefit Program discounts, and aid provided by Tribes through the Homeowner Assistance Fund. Additional information on each of these programs is provided below:

Advance Child Tax Credit Payments

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) recently made a few important changes to the Child Tax Credit (“CTC”) program. Most importantly, the CTC will now provide advance payments to eligible families with qualifying children. The IRS will provide half of the total CTC award in advance in monthly payments through December 2021, according to the IRS payment schedule.

The other half of the total CTC payment can be claimed when you file your 2021 income tax return. For the 2021 tax year, the CTC is increased from $2,000 per qualifying child to $3,600 for children ages 5 and under at the end of 2021 and $3,000 for children ages 6 through 17 at the end of 2021.

Advance CTC payments are automatically sent to qualifying individuals. No action is necessary if the IRS has your tax information. You can check your eligibility for advance CTC payments here.

While most qualifying families will automatically receive their advance CTC payments, you may need to provide additional information to the IRS to receive your federal assistance payments. Advance CTC payments are not income and will not be reported as income on your 2021 tax return.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Discount

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (“EBB Program”) assists families struggling to pay internet service bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The EBB Program provides discounts of up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands or $50 dollars per month for households not on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households may also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute between $10 and $50 toward the overall purchase price.

The EBB Program will be available through various Emergency Broadband Benefit Providers until assistance runs out, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner. Additional information and eligibility criteria can be found at or call (833) 511-0311 for a mail-in application.

Homeowner Assistance Fund

The Homeowner Assistance Fund (“HAF”) provides $498 million to Tribes and certain Tribal entities based on an allocation formula developed by the Department of Treasury. The purpose of the HAF is to provide financial assistance for qualified expenses to homeowners to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020.

Funds from the HAF may be used for mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, utility payments, and other purposes. ARPA prioritizes funds for homeowners who have experienced the greatest hardships, leveraging local and national income indicators to maximize the impact.

To receive HAF funding, Tribes must apply for HAF funds and develop and submit a plan for its use of HAF funding. The ARPA requires Tribes to submit a Notice of Funds Request by November 15, 2021. Treasury is strongly encouraging each eligible entity to elect to participate in the HAF. Updated Treasury guidance is available here. The Notice of Funds request is available here.

Patterson Earnhart Real Bird & Wilson LLP actively monitors ARPA programs and can assist in obtaining funding and developing COVID-19 relief programs. To learn more about this issue and how we can assist, contact attorney Alvina Earnhart in our Colorado office at (303) 926-5292.