Some low-income families in Washington, D.C., are set to receive a payment of $1,000 as they prepare to return to school, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday.
“We know that back-to-school time can be an expensive time of year for families—new uniforms, haircuts, supplies. There are a lot of expenses all at once,” Bowser said. “So we are disbursing these funds now to give families an extra cash bump during a busy time of year so that our students and families can have a strong start to an important school year.”
Families enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are slated to receive the one-time payments, which were provided via the Congress-passed American Rescue Plan in 2021, over the next several weeks. The mayor’s office said that 15,000 families are enrolled in the program.
According to her office, the money specifically will be drawn from the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund, which is a federal program established by the American Rescue Plan.
“We know that the pace of economic recovery is not the same for all households,” said Laura Green Zeilinger, director of the Washington Department of Human Services, in a statement. “We are thrilled to be able to provide one-time payments to families receiving TANF as they prepare for back to school. We are thankful for the critical support of our federal partners at the Administration of Children and Families.”
The $1,000 payments are coming in addition to the $41 million in food assistance for District of Columbia children, announced by Bowser over the past summer.
Such payments have triggered criticism for their usage amid decades-high inflation. The Consumer Price Index in July stood at 8.5 percent year-over-year, while the index rose 9.1 percent in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A number of states are also slated to send out stimulus payments in the coming weeks, including California, where people can receive up to $1,050 between October 2022 and January of next year.
In Georgia, taxpayers can get anywhere from $250 to $500, according to a refund law signed into law in March. The payments were due to be issued in early August. In Florida, around 59,000 families will receive a one-time payment of $450.
When Biden became president in January 2021, the 12-month Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation, was only at 1.4 percent. By May 2021, it had reached 5 percent.
In January 2022, CPI was running at 7.5 percent. It then peaked at 9.1 percent in June, and was at 8.5 percent in July. Inflation has not dropped below 7 percent in any single month this year so far.
Naveen Athrappully contributed to this report.