Oregon lawmakers approve $600 payments for low-income residents

Kristen Walters

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Oregon state representative Andrea Valderrama sponsored a new bill that aims to provide $600 payments to nearly 250,000 low-income residents living in the state of Oregon. On Friday, the Oregon legislature approved the bill that could allow for a one-time payment of $600 for low-income residents who were working when the global health crisis started back in early 2020.

In order to be eligible for the $600 payment, you must have claimed the "Earned Income Tax Credit" when you filed your federal taxes in 2020. The Oregon Department of Revenue has stated that they plan to make the payments by the end of July 2022.

The funding for these payments to low-income workers is being paid from federal pandemic aid that was previously approved by Congress in 2021 to help ease the financial burden on families who are struggling to make ends meet. In total, the state of Oregon plans to pay out more than $150 million to more than 245,000 workers.

While the $600 payments will undoubtedly be helpful to many Oregon families who are currently struggling with the rise in food, housing, and energy costs due to rising inflation, some are disappointed with the amount of the payments.

Initially, there was a plan to provide larger payments to Oregon residents of up to $2,000 per household. Both essential workers who stayed on the job through 2020 and 2021, as well as those who recently rejoined the workforce, would have been eligible.

However, members of the Oregon legislature claimed that "more targeted payments would have been administratively burdensome," and people would have been required to apply on an individual basis. This alternative plan could have delayed the payments for months or even years. The bill that was just passed bypasses those administrative issues by providing $600 payments directly to the people who qualify.

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