QUARANTINE ASSISTANCE FUND

By Bob Katzen

Sponsored by Reps. Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox) and John Barrett (D-North Adams). This measure would create the COVID-19 Quarantine Assistance Fund to provide grants to workers who have lost money from not being able to work because of viral infection, quarantines or isolation.

“In this time of public health emergency, it is vital that we do all we can to assist those in Massachusetts who are negatively impacted by COVID-19,” said Pignatelli. “Rep. Barrett and I are thankful that the support of this legislation from our colleagues in both the House and Senate sparked productive conversations with the Baker-Polito administration and that they have taken steps to ensure that those who are financially vulnerable are not left behind. Through measured and appropriate responses, Massachusetts will be able to navigate and see the other side of this public health challenge.”

$1,500 PER MONTH FOR SOME SENIORS (H 4697) – Sponsored by Reps. Ruth Balser (D-Newton) and Nika Elugardo (D-Jamaica Plain). This proposal 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.

“Rep. 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.”

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