Some Florida families are set to receive a one-time stimulus payment in order to help offset the impact of searing-hot inflation, which surged to another 40-year high in June.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, announced Thursday that his administration is sending checks worth up to $450 per child to lower-income families in the state. An estimated 59,000 families will qualify for the money. Florida is paying for the initiative by reallocating $35.5 million that it received from President Biden's signature COVID-19 relief package, the American Rescue Plan.
Eligible recipients include foster parents, relative and nonrelative caregivers and families receiving funds from the Florida Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program or Guardianship Assistance program, according to a statement from the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Officials expect the money to arrive between July 25 and Aug. 7, which is before Florida's "back-to-school" sales-tax holiday.
"Florida families: These letters are real," Christine Pushaw, a spokesperson for DeSantis, tweeted.
The decision comes one week after the Labor Department reported that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods, including gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 9.1% in June from a year ago. It marks the fastest pace of inflation since December 1981.
Scorching-hot inflation has created severe financial pressures for most U.S. households, which are forced to pay more everyday necessities like food, gasoline and rent. The burden is disproportionately borne by low-income Americans, whose already-stretched paychecks are heavily impacted by price fluctuations.
Although American workers have seen strong wage gains in recent months, inflation has largely eroded those: Real average hourly earnings decreased 1% in June from the previous month when accounting for higher consumer prices, according to the Labor Department. On an annual basis, real earnings actually dropped 3.6% in June.
Inflation has become a major political liability for President Biden ahead of the November midterm elections, in which Democrats are expected to lose their already razor-thin majorities. Republicans, including DeSantis, have blamed the president for higher prices, accusing him of stoking inflation with energy policies that discourage oil production.
Biden, meanwhile, has pointed the finger at oil companies that he has said gouged consumers in order to raise their own profits.