Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi recently announced that first responders will be eligible to receive a $2,000 bonus for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic. $200 million has been set aside for first responders and health care workers for this particular incentive. In total, the Puerto Rican Government will receive $2.47 billion to allocate to various initiatives and measures in order to aid economic recovery after the pandemic. The federal government allocated these funds under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Not everyone will be eligible 

According to Pierluisi, first responders need to have had direct contact with patients in their workplace to qualify for the $2,000 — therefore meaning remote workers aren’t eligible for the bonus. “This is like a prize. They are our heroes and our heroines and they deserve this special payment. In the future we could add other professionals”,  Pierluisi said. Around 40,000 front-line workers (including paramedics, health technicians, nursing staff, police, firefighters, and security officers) are estimated to be eligible. Essential workers at the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation of Puerto Rico will receive $20 million, while essential workers at the Adult University Hospital, ASEM, and the Ramón Ruiz Arnau Hospital in Bayamón, among other places, will receive another $20 million to be distributed.

Helping first responders 

First responders everywhere deserve recognition, gratitude, and support for their hard work to keep communities safe. In today’s competitive real estate market, for example, affordable housing is particularly important. As such, a first responder home loan is available for first responders and healthcare workers looking to purchase or refinance a loan. With this type of loan, first responders, nurses, and hospital staff can receive a free appraisal and a free loan checkup. Additionally, in the US, a new housing bill was recently proposed to help first responders more easily secure a loan to purchase a house. If passed, the bill would eliminate the usual requirements for large down payments and expensive monthly mortgage insurance premiums (which are usually required with down payments of under 20%).

Ultimately, in Puerto Rico, the new funding is intended to boost economic recovery and mitigate the impact of the pandemic. “We will continue working to continue identifying needs and providing the necessary tools to provide real solutions to our people,” the governor said.