By Bob Katzen
A bill proposed last week would provide monthly cash assistance of $1,500 per month for persons over age 65 who are not eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) but stopped working as a result of a pre-existing condition placing them in a high-risk category for COVID-19’s most serious symptoms or death.
“Elder Affairs Chair Ruth Balser and I filed [the bill] to provide relief for self-employed and gig economy elders who had the foresight to stop working, possibly weeks before the Massachusetts Stay-At-Home Advisory, because of an underlying condition such as chronic kidney disease or a compromised immune system,” said the bill’s co-sponsor Rep. Nika Elugardo (D-Jamaica Plain). “We filed [the bill] before the passage of the federal CARES Act, which expanded unemployment insurance eligibility to include many self-employed workers. We are watching for federal guidance to understand whether gaps in UI coverage remain within this vulnerable demographic. If so, this bill would fill in those gaps for yet uncovered elders.”