RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that $73 million in federal CARES Act money will go towards a one-time, pre-tax payment of $1,500 in hazard pay to home health care workers who provided personal care and served Medicaid members during the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic.
The payment will be available to an estimated 43,500 attendants who provided care between March 12 and June 30, according to the governor’s office.
“Home health care workers are often unseen, unsung, and underpaid, but they do the vital work of caring for vulnerable Virginians,” Northam said in a statement. “Their jobs put them at higher risk during this pandemic, and this hazard payment is a way we can acknowledge that they put themselves in harm’s way to help others. I want to thank our home health care workers for the work they do every day to keep people healthy.”
Virginia must decide what to do with the money its received through the federal Cares Act by Dec. 30. Last week, the Northam administration announced that more than $220 million of the coronavirus relief funds would go towards K-12 education.
“The majority of home health care workers are women, and women of color, providing critical health services for low pay,” Sen. Louise Lucas, chairwoman of the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee, said in the announcement. “This hazard payment acknowledges the essential work that they do and the risks they took especially in the early months of the pandemic, when less was known about this virus. It is one way we can show appreciation to the people who do such important work.”