Coronavirus Stimulus Checks From San Antonio May Help With Utility Bills

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As we near the year’s end, more states and cities are coming up with plans to use the federal funds they got under the American Rescue Plan Act to give stimulus payments to residents. Now, the City of San Antonio is considering similar plans as well. The coronavirus stimulus checks from San Antonio, however, will help residents pay their overdue utility bills.

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Coronavirus stimulus check from San Antonio: what is it?

The City of San Antonio is considering plans to use the $30 million it got from the American Rescue Plan Act to help struggling residents pay their overdue utility bills. The money won’t directly go to the eligible residents; rather it would be used to pay off their utility bills.

Earlier this week, a plan was presented to the city council’s Municipal Utilities Committee. The plan details allocating $20 million to CPS Energy and $10 million to the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) to pay off outstanding balances for some San Antonio residents. Both the utilities ceased disconnections last year, but have resumed cutting service for nonpayment from this month.

How much of eligible residents utility bills will be waived would depend on their income. Either their full outstanding balance (between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021) of the eligible residents would be waived, or they could get a credit of up to $700 or $1,000 from their SAWS bills or CPS balance, respectively.

As per the authorities, the coronavirus stimulus checks from San Antonio could support about 13,000 SAWS and 20,000 CPS customers. This plan, however, still needs to be approved by the San Antonio City Council. The City Council is expected to consider this plan at its meeting next month (Nov. 18).

Who all are eligible?

Talking about the eligibility requirements, the person needs to be a San Antonio resident. Also, the eligible residents must show proof of hardship. The proof could be an unemployment or furlough letter, income proof showing a drop in income, medical documentation showing the person was unable to work, proof of unexpected expenses, or a self-declaration detailing how the pandemic affected their finances.

Another requirement is that the person must be registered in the affordability program or payment plan with the utility. Both these programs offer reduced bills to residents who are 125% below the federal poverty level.

The eligible residents’ entire bill (from March 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021) would be paid if the resident is at or below 125% of the federal poverty level. This poverty level equals an annual income of $16,100 for an individual (and $33,120 for a family of four).

Apart from the above requirements, CPS Energy and SAWS will also screen the eligibility of the applicants. According to CPS officials, they have around $100 million in outstanding balances, and as per SAWS, about $54 million worth of bills have been due over the past 60 days, as of the end of September.