By Mike Kruzman /

8th District Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin talked all-things-stimulus during a town hall event on Monday.

The Holly Democrat reviewed and took questions from constituents on the $1.9-trillion dollar American Rescue Plan (ARP) while being joined with special guests from the state health department and Unemployment Insurance Agency.

Slotkin said the biggest questions coming into her office are about vaccine availability. Though there has been scarcity and competition, she said the state is scheduled to receive 474,000 doses this week. She surmised that soon the issue won’t be one of supply, but instead distribution, foreseeing most Michigan adults being vaccinated by the end of May.

Slotkin said 89% of Michigan adults will qualify for the $1,400 stimulus checks. More children and adult dependents also qualify with this round. The IRS will use the most recent tax filing to determine qualifications, potentially helping people who saw a decrease in earnings last year. People that feel they were due one of the first 2 checks but didn’t get them can submit for the money as a recovery rebate credit on their 2020 taxes. People that feel they should receive this round but don’t, unfortunately, have to wait to claim the credit on their 2021 taxes.

The ARP also helps residents who are on unemployment, extending the federal contribution of $300 to checks through September 6th. Glen Kelley of Howell asked if residents have to reapply for this, and UIA Chief of Staff Stephanie Glidden said the short answer is “no.” She said that while many had to resubmit at the end of December, they don’t expect there to be an interruption in payments this time.

For residents who may have lost their jobs and are keeping their health care benefits through COBRA, the ARP is helping them out, as well. Slotkin said the federal government is now paying 100% of COBRA coverage through the end of September. Also, for those receiving subsidized insurance through the ACA marketplace, for the next 2 years, they won’t be required to pay more than 8.5% of their income.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is offering $28-billion in grants to cover revenue losses during the pandemic. Restaurant owners can soon apply to receive the difference in revenue lost between 2019 and 2020. Restaurants that make less than $500,000 per year have $5-billion set aside for them, specifically, and chains of 20 restaurants or more are ineligible. This is all in addition to any PPP loans granted. The PPP program itself is also being extended for another 2 months.

Michigan schools are receiving $4-billion aimed towards getting kids back in classrooms, with Slotkin announcing Howell Public Schools will be getting $4.36-million.

Forbearance on Federal Student Loans is also being extended through September, but Slotkin advises those who can make payments to still do so to help avoid getting “the big bill.”

Slotkin said that while we’re not totally done with the pandemic, she sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and believes we’ll be able to “party hearty on the 4th of July” with friends and family over barbecue.