COVID-19: Emergency Assistance Relief Payment (EARP)

What is the Emergency Assistance Relief Payment (EARP) Program?

Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing an unprecedented financial hardship for many Montgomery County residents, the Emergency Assistance Relief Payment is a program that provides immediate financial assistance to households in need.  While the need is great, this program seeks to fill the gaps for those who are not eligible or who will not benefit directly from the federal or state COVID-19 aid. Who is eligible for the EARP?
  • People who live in Montgomery County and need relief for food and essentials.
  • People who live in Montgomery County and will not benefit from the Federal and State relief programs.
  • Individuals/families with an income equal to or less than 50 percent of the Federal Poverty Level*
Why were these categories selected? To provide assistance to target populations that need relief for food and essentials and will not benefit from the Federal and State relief programs How much is the payment? Benefits will be issued as follows:
  • Single Adult – $500
  • Family with one child – $1,000
  • Families with children – $1,000 (family with one child) with an additional $150 for each additional child, with a maximum of $1,450
  • Head of household should be 18 years or older, the claimed child should be less and not equal to 19 years old
  • The benefit increases by $150 per child to a maximum of $1,450
Will individuals who received EARP benefits have to pay the money back?
  • This is not a loan; it is a grant that the County is providing.
  • It is an investment in the families and communities of Montgomery County so recipients will not have to pay back the money.
  • Individuals and families who receive this benefit will not be taxed because this will not be considered income.  In addition, the payments will not affect a family’s eligibility for other federal government assistance or benefit programs.
How much will family with six children get? Since the maximum benefit is $1,450, a family of six will get $1,450.  The benefit reaches the maximum amount for a family with four children. Will I have to pay the money back? No, the Payment is a grant, not a loan, and you will not have to pay the money back. Will I have to pay 2020 taxes on this money? No, the Payment is not income, and you will not owe tax on your payment. A payment also will not affect your income for purposes of determining eligibility other Federal government assistance or benefit programs. How will I get the money? Financial assistance will be distributed in three (3) phases. Phase 1: The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will issue checks to eligible families enrolled in the Care for Kids program. The money will come as a check and will be mailed to your address. Phase 2: DHHS will partner with nonprofit service providers in the community to identify additional families and individuals eligible to receive the cash assistance. Phase 3: DHHS will open up an application process for residents who did not receive assistance through Phases 1 and 2. Eligible residents may apply directly to DHHS for assistance. County officials anticipate that all three phases will be implemented before the end of May. What are the eligibility criteria?
  • You are not eligible to file for Federal or State taxes file; and
  • You may not have filed nor are you eligible to receive unemployment; and
  • Your annual income must be below 50 percent of Federal Poverty Level; and
  • You must be a Montgomery County resident and provide a valid Montgomery County address
What documentation is needed? Recommended Documentation for Phase 2 and Phase 3: ✓ Driver’s License or another photo identification ✓ Proof of residency (lease or bill) ✓ Proof of last income ✓ Verification of number of children, such as:
➢ Birth certificates U.S. or other ➢ School report card ➢ Doctor’s visit notification, etc. (for infants and toddlers)
Documents can be scanned, faxed or photographed with phone and sent to a designated e-mail. Exact instructions for emailing documents will be obtained from the agency that processes your application.  What information will I need to report? The application process contains some basic demographic information for each member of the household, including language spoken, race, ethnicity, and zip code. I am enrolled in Care for Kids program, why didn’t I get a check in Phase 1? Phase 1 recipients were chosen based on active enrollment in the Care for Kids program as of April 3, 2020. If your children were enrolled in Care for Kids and the case(s) are inactive or closed, you were not included in the Phase 1 issuance.  I think that I should have gotten a check in Phase 1, what do I do? Phase 1 is a one-time-only issuance from the Care for Kids database as of April 3, 2020. If you did not get a check in this Phase, you may apply in Phase 2 when applications are processed by designated community organizations. Come back to this website later for a list of community organizations that will accept applications. How will Phase 2 work with the partners? For more information about the designated community organizations that will accept applications, come back to this website at a later date. Once I apply in Phase 2 or Phase 3, how long will it take to get a benefit? When your application is accepted by one of the community-based organizations, it may take approximately four days for the application to be approved. Following approval, it may take an additional four days to receive the benefit. Does the benefit have to be a check? Your benefit in Phase 1 will be a check for DHHS. There are no other options. Options for Phase 2 will be posted to the website at a later date. My income in 2019 was higher than the Poverty Table, but now I have no income. Can I still apply? Yes, your current income should be reported. Will DHHS contact me about my payment? If you are designated to receive a check in Phase1, DHHS will send you a letter about the check. If that letter is returned or if there is a question about your mailing address, you may receive a call from DHHS to verify your benefit. If you apply in Phase 2 or Phase 3, you may be contacted by DHHS or by the community organization where you applied.  Most calls will be about verification of documents received. What is the Federal Poverty Level? 
The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is a measure that is used to decide whether the income of an individual or family qualifies them for certain benefits and programs. The FPL tables used to determine eligibility for the EARP is below. 2020 Federal Poverty Levels for all states (except Alaska and Hawaii) Annual Income
Household /Family Size 50% *100%*
1      6,380 $12,760
2      8,620 $17,240
3    10,860 $21,720
4    13,100 $26,200
5    15,340 $30,680
Where can I call if I have additional questions?

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Collaboration Council
Montgomery County, MD