Check’s in the mail: First round of $500 payments to low-income workers in Mass. going out now

BOSTON — An update on those planned $500 checks being given to low-income workers in Massachusetts as part of $460 million dollar state program tied the American Rescue Plan Act.

The first checks are going out over the next week, according to the Baker administration.

About 500,000 people stand to benefit from the payments from the “COVID-19 Essential Employee Premium Pay program.”

“Massachusetts residents will be eligible for first round payments if, based on filed 2020 Massachusetts tax returns, their income from employment was at least $12,750 – the equivalent to working 20 hours/week for 50 weeks at minimum wage as of 2020 – and their total income put them below 300% of the federal poverty level.” according to a statement from the office of the Secretary of Administration and Finance.

“Individuals who received unemployment compensation in 2020 will not be eligible for the first round of payments, nor will Commonwealth executive branch employees who received or will receive a one-time payment from the state as their employer,” according to the statement.

Eligible individuals will receive the payment in the form of a check mailed to them.

“Checks will be mailed in batches in the coming days,” says the state.

In order to be eligible to receive a Round 1 Premium Paycheck, you must have:

  • Filed a 2020 tax return;
  • Been a Massachusetts resident in 2020, or a part year resident that lived in Massachusetts between March 10, 2020 and December 31, 2020;
  • Earned income of at least $12,750 in 2020 employment compensation; AND
  • Had a total household income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level in 2020 (see table below).

And you must NOT have:

  • Received any unemployment compensation in 2020; OR
  • If you are an employee of the Commonwealth’s Executive Branch, received a one-time COVID-related payment from the Commonwealth as your employer.

Fore more information about eligibility, click here.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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