October 7, 2020

County Expands Emergency Assistance Relief Payment Program to Low-Income Residents

Montgomery County’s Emergency Assistance Relief Payment (EARP) program is expanding to include financial assistance to more low-income households who do not qualify for other types of Federal and State support.

The EARP program has expanded eligibility criteria to include financial assistance to support low-income families where adult household members are experiencing lost income as a result of having someone in the household with COVID-19. Income guidelines of the EARP program also will increase to 150 percent of the Federal poverty level (FPL) and new benefit amounts will increase for households with incomes below and up to 75 percent FPL.

County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council have provided $10 million to support residents experiencing a financial hardship due the COVID-19 crisis. In the first phases of the program, approximately 5,200 households received checks averaging $1,020.

The first group of recipients received $1,000 for a family with one child (plus $150 for each additional child up to a maximum of $1,450 per family). The new benefit amount has increased by $250 for single adults and $500 for all other households with incomes up to 75 percent FPL. Benefit amounts for first-time applicants whose income is between 75 percent FPL and 150 percent FPL will not increase.

Eligible households already receiving benefits under the original program eligibility may be eligible for the additional amount as a second grant. No action is required by the household as the supplemental check will be issued by DHHS.

“I have said from the beginning of this pandemic that we must provide assistance to people in need as much as we can,” said County Executive Elrich. “Expanding the eligibility criteria will allow us to support more low-income families who have experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19. We will get through this crisis, and this program was designed to help more families get the assistance they need to survive.”

“Many of our residents are experiencing sustained financial hardship because of the global pandemic, which is impacting their ability to provide the essentials and keep food on the table,” said Council President Sidney Katz. “I encourage all eligible residents to apply for the County’s Emergency Assistance Relief fund to receive immediate cash assistance. These payments will help to make ends meet along with the increased assistance available through our nonprofit service providers.”

For more information, visit the County’s COVID-19 website.