Sadaf Knight
March 15, 2021

The American Rescue Plan's Impact on Florida

This post was last updated on September 29, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

On March 12, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. This sweeping $1.9 trillion bill provides aid to states, local governments, tribal nations, families, children, workers, and individuals to address the ongoing health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Although some economic activity has resumed, Floridians continue to face severe hardships - with persistent unemployment and continued job losses, many are unable to meet their daily needs, afford their rent, or put food on the table. The state’s overall recovery depends on the tourism and hospitality sector rebounding and a swift and widespread administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The American Rescue Plan Act will be a lifeline for state governments to avoid deep funding cuts for public services and expand critical programs like Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and nutrition benefits. For individuals and families, the resources provided in the Act will provide thousands of dollars in direct benefits, making the difference between people having a roof over their heads and food on the table or facing homelessness and hunger. Nationally, it is estimated that poverty will be reduced by more than one-third, and even more for individuals who are Black, of Latin American descent, and children.  

The table below provides details on the major provisions of the Act and their impact in Florida.

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