By Bob Katzen

The Baker Administration announced that 500,000 low-income workers will each receive $500 under the first round of the COVID-19 Essential Employee Premium Pay Program that was part of the American Rescue Plan Act approved by the Legislature several weeks ago.

The administration was given the power and flexibility to implement the program and announced last week that the checks will be mailed out in the next few days.

Massachusetts residents will be eligible for the $500 if their 2020 income from employment was at least $12,750—and their total income put them below 300 percent of the federal poverty level. Residents who received any unemployment compensation in 2020 and executive branch employees who received or will receive a one-time payment from the state as their employer, do not qualify for this first round of payments.

For more information about eligibility and other details, go to https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-essential-employee-premium-pay-program#eligibility-parameters- or call (866) 750-9803 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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