On Monday February 15th, Governor Larry Hogan signed the Maryland RELIEF Act into law. The Act provides $1 billion in aid to families and small business struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic. Aid comes in the form of direct stimulus payments, unemployment insurance grants, and grants and loans to certain businesses.
Under the RELIEF Act, Maryland taxpayers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit in 2019 are eligible to receive direct stimulus payments of $300 (for individuals) or $500 (for families). Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot pledged to send up to 98% of these individual payments by Friday February 19th. Like the federal stimulus payments, no application is required for a stimulus payment under the RELIEF Act. Additionally, with the exception of child support judgments, RELIEF Act stimulus payments are not subject to tax offsets or garnishments.
The RELIEF Act also provides $1,000 one-time grant payments to unemployment applicants whose claims have been in adjudication for 30 days. The Department of Labor will determine the recipients of unemployment grants, and those who are selected will receive payment on either March 3rd, April 5th, May 5th, June 3rd, or July 6th of this year. Additionally, under the RELIEF Act, unemployment insurance benefits received by individuals who earn less than $75,000 (or couples who jointly earn less than $100,000) will be exempt from state income taxes.
Finally, multiple state agencies will offer grants and loans under the RELIEF Act. These include the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Maryland Department of Health, the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund, and several others. Those interested in applying for a loan/grant should directly contact these agencies in order to get more information about the application requirements, eligibility, and deadlines for specific loans/grants.