During the recently concluded special session, Louisiana lawmakers passed a bill introduced by Rep. Sam Jenkins (D-Shreveport) that allows essential employees who kept working through the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for $250 in aid. The application process, the Louisiana Department of Revenue has announced, begins Wednesday.
Louisianians who earn less than $50,000 annually and who worked at least 200 hours between March 22 and May 14 “responding to or mitigating the COVID-19 crisis” may be eligible to apply for the one-time payment. The application window closes October 31, but there’s no guarantee that money will be available then. Lawmakers set aside $50 million to fund the payments, an amount that could help a maximum of 200,000 people.
The $250 payments are meant to assist people in the following fields:
- Nurses, assistants, aides, medical residents, pharmacy staff, phlebotomists, respiratory therapists, and workers providing direct patient care in inpatient and outpatient dialysis facilities.
- Housekeeping, laundry services, food services, and waste management personnel in hospitals and healthcare facilities.
- Long-term care facility personnel, outpatient care workers, home care workers, personal assistance providers, home health providers, home delivered meal providers, childcare service providers.
- Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, fire and rescue personnel, law enforcement personnel, public health epidemiologists.
- Bus drivers; retail fuel center personnel; sanitation personnel; residential, commercial, and industrial solid waste and hazardous waste removal personnel; storage and disposal personnel.
- Grocery store, convenience store, and food assistance program personnel.
- Mortuary service providers.
- Veterinary service staff.
The revenue department will accept applications online or on a downloadable printed form but because of the limited funding encourages eligible workers “to apply as soon as possible using the online application portal at FrontlineWorkers.la.gov.” When asked about the possibility of Internet applications crowding out paper ones, Rep. Jenkins said that an emergency rule from the revenue department says that 25 percent of the money (or $12,500,000) “shall be reserved for rebate claims filed on paper applications.”
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