Massachusetts government sending $500 checks to qualifying residents this month

Kristen Walters
Andrey Popov/Getty Images (Canva Pro license.)

Over half a million low-income residents in Massachusetts will be receiving a $500 check from the state later this month. The payment program is part of the "Essential Employee Premium Pay" program that Governor Baker signed into law on December 13, 2021.

In order to qualify for the $500 payment, you must be a Massachusetts resident who earned at least $12,750 in 2020. However, your total income must be less than 300% of the federal poverty level. For example, for a single person, the income threshold would be $38,280. If you have four people in your household, the threshold would be $78,600.

You can check to see if you qualify on the official Essential Employee Premium Pay Program website that is administered by the state of Massachusetts. For reference, your gross income for 2020 can be found at line 11 of US Form 1040 that you would have submitted when filing your federal taxes.

If you filed for unemployment compensation in 2020, you would not qualify for the payment. Also, each spouse must qualify individually. Therefore, it is possible that one spouse could be eligible based on their income, while another may not if they earn an amount that is greater than 300% of the federal poverty level.

There is no need to apply or take other action to receive the payment. If you meet the eligibility criteria for the program, your $500 check will be mailed out to you automatically by the state later this month. Future rounds of funding for the program are expected in the upcoming year. However, the criteria for receiving future payments have not yet been set.

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