Almost two years after the covid pandemic started, some of the worst-hit workers inside essential industries are still hurting financially. Many people were forced to go into their savings to pay for important essentials, including equipment needed for work and child care.

To help people with those expenses, the federal government has created a new $700 million relief check — essentially a new kind of stimulus. These payments will be given to only eligible applicants.

Those who qualify could have their household expenses paid for or pay down their debt — and there is still time to apply.

Funding for essential food workers

Meatpacking and farm workers will get money through a new Food and Farm Workers Relief grant program, which was recently announced.

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture says grocery employees also can apply to get some of this cash.

The Americans who will qualify for the payments who work within food-related sectors, where sheltering in place or working remotely was not possible.

These new stimulus is being given out by state agencies and nonprofits, who will apply for the funds, then give the money out to the workers.

So far, the USDA has not said when eligible people can apply for their money, but earlier this month officials said to Monterey Herald in the state of California that employees would learn more this incoming fall.

Stimulus check amount

Meatpackers and farm workers are now entitled for up to $600 for pandemic related health and safety costs, including any protective equipment or child care expenses connected to quarantining or testing, the USDA says.

Around $20 million of the total $700 million will be used for grocery store workers. However, the total for individuals in that line of work is not yet public.

“Our meatpacking, farm and grocery workers fought against unprecedented hard times and took on huge personal risks to guarantee Americans could sustain and feed their families through the pandemic,” says Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack, in a media release.

“They deserve to be recognized for their work and financial support for their sacrifices to meet personal and family needs while also providing essential services to America,” Vilsack says.

Author: Steven Sinclaire

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