Coronavirus Stimulus Checks To Workers: USDA Now Accepting Applications For FFWR Program

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This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

A couple of months ago, the USDA announced almost $700 million in competitive grant funding for the new Farm and Food Workers Relief (FFWR) program. Last week, the USDA announced that it has started accepting applications for the FFWR program that will give coronavirus stimulus checks of up to $600 to workers who qualify for the money.

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Coronavirus Stimulus Checks To Workers

The FFWR program aims to help farm and meatpacking workers by compensating them for pandemic-related health and safety costs, such as the cost of personal protective equipment, testing expenses and more. This program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and is part of the USDA’s Build Back Better efforts.

The USDA announced the FFRW program on Sept. 7, and on Nov. 11, the agency announced that it has started accepting applications for it. Applicants have 90 days to apply for the program.

The program specifically sets aside $665 million to fund competitive grant applications that offer coronavirus stimulus checks to workers. Moreover, of that $665 million, the program set aside $20 million for a pilot program to support grocery workers.

The FFWR program doesn’t directly distribute the money to eligible workers. Instead, it will grant funds to tribal entities, non-profit organizations and state agencies that work toward the betterment of farm and meatpacking workers.

How The FFWR Program Works

To be eligible for a grant, organizations need to show their capacity in reimbursing farm and meatpacking workers for up to $600 of expenses incurred due to the coronavirus.

Moreover, the applicants need to demonstrate their ability to reach hard-to-reach worker populations either directly or in collaboration with local organizations. Further, these entities need to detail how they will partner with local organizations to make financial support available to the targeted population.

“These applicants must justify the requested funding amounts within the Project Narrative, indicating the dollar amount requested, estimating the number of workers they expect to deliver relief payments to and demonstrating their capacity to manage funds effectively,” the USDA says.

These entities have until Feb. 8, 2022 to apply for the program. They need to apply at www.grants.gov for grants ranging from $5 million to $50 million. Workers will need to apply next year to grant recipients to receive the funds.

To ensure applicants have all the information they need to apply for the program, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will host a webinar on Nov. 17. Registration details for the webinar will be shared at www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/ffwr and through a stakeholder notice.

The AMS is also providing support to applicants in understanding the application process. To get more information on the FFWR program, including the requirements, eligibility and more, you need to visit the FFWR webpage or send an email to FFWRGrants@usda.gov.

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