Disaster Relief Payments
July 08, 2021
Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature authorized two qualified disaster relief payments to child care and early learning instructors affected by COVID in Specific Appropriation #80B of the 2021-22 General Appropriations Act (GAA) (Chapter 2021-036, Laws of Florida). These payments are provided to qualified instructors in recognition of their continuing service and dedication to Florida’s children and families. Section 80B in the GAA provides:
The funds provided in Specific Appropriation 80B are provided to the Office of Early Learning to administer two bonuses to Florida’s child care and early learning instructors totaling a net amount of $1,000 each. Applications for the first bonus shall be available no later than July 1, 2021… Applications for the second bonus shall be available no later than January 1, 2022.
These payments will go to individuals who are employed as a child care or early learning instructor as of July 1, 2021, the date that this section of the GAA became law.
These payments will be provided directly to qualified individuals through the U.S. mail. Your assistance in confirming eligible child care and early learning instructors, along with their mailing addresses, quickly and accurately, is needed in order to ensure these payments are provided to all eligible individuals.
In short, as the director of a private child care/early learning center/family child care home, you will receive an email invitation (from Donotreply_disasterrelief@oel.myflorida.com) to access the online portal to verify the eligibility of your instructors by Friday, August 6, 2021.
Child care and early learning instructor must be:
- Employed as of July 1, 2021, at a private child care, early learning center, or family child care home;
- Employed at the time you submit the application; and
Assigned to a classroom, full-time or part-time.
If you do not receive an invite by Wednesday, July 7, 2021, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free at 1-833-258-6735.
We understand that you want to recognize all hard-working staff, such as custodians, food service workers, bus drivers, etc., who sacrificed much of their own time and personal expenses to ensure that child care providers remained open to serve Florida’s children and families. While this appropriation is limited to child care/early learning instructors, you are encouraged to use a portion of your Phase V grants and future grants to ensure that these valued staff members receive the compensation and resources they need and deserve.
The Division of Early Learning (formerly the Office of Early Learning) will be hosting webinars beginning Thursday, July 8, 2021, to provide more information.
Please register for ONE of the webinars listed below.
Thursday, July 8, 2021
Thursday, July 8, 2021
Friday, July 9, 2021
Monday, July 12, 2021
Thursday, July 13, 2021
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Friday, July 16, 2021
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Friday, July 23, 2021
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Friday, July 30, 2021
In addition to these webinars and in an effort to assist with any questions you receive, the Division of Early Learning will post Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in the coming days. While the FAQ document will help to provide important information, there are a couple of areas it might be helpful to explain in this email. First, these payments are provided as “qualified disaster relief payments” made to reimburse reasonable and necessary personal, family, living, and funeral expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to promote the general welfare. Under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code, qualified disaster relief payments are generally not gross income for tax purposes and are not reportable as income on a federal income tax return. Therefore, the payments will not have income tax or employer taxes withheld. Of course, recipients should consider consulting with a tax advisor for more information.
In order to ensure that these disaster relief payments can be timely provided, information must be submitted by Friday, August 6, 2021. Your work to quickly and accurately submit this data is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your continued commitment to serve Florida’s children and their families.