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U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, is calling on the federal government to ensure that survivors of domestic violence who are estranged or living separately from their married abuser have access to the direct payments Congress approved in the Phase 3 relief package.

After hearing from Iowans, including members of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Ernst is sending a letter asking the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide a method and resources to ensure survivors who are in a vulnerable position receive their direct cash payment, regardless of their living situation.

Ernst, one of the first female Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, writes: “…Even in normal circumstances, leaving an abusive situation requires immense courage and has ongoing emotional and financial struggles. Including domestic violence resources when providing Americans details on how to collect their stimulus, including information on how survivors can get access, is vital to their livelihood and ability to build a new life.”

The Iowa senator continues:The IRS must ensure that survivors are able to receive their stimulus check safely. During this crisis, every American deserves the promise of economic stability, and survivors are no different.”

To read the letter in full, click here.

In the most recent bipartisan relief package passed by Congress, Ernst supported additional funding for domestic violence shelters and domestic violence coalitions – such as the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence – and nearly $2 million to bolster the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Background on Ernst’s efforts to combat COVID-19:

Senator Ernst has fought to deliver relief to all Iowans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of her efforts:

  • Delivered major wins for Iowa’s workers, employers, health care industry, and more in the bipartisan Phase 3 package.
  • Supported  the “Phase 1” bipartisan package to provide additional resources to federal, state and local authorities.
  • Helped pass the “Phase 2” bill to provide paid sick leave, free COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and increased support for nutrition for seniors and children.
  • Called for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Urged the Senate to prioritize relief for hospitals, community health centers, and workers on the front lines.
  • Announced a proposal to immediately redirect the over $350M in the Presidential Campaign Election Fund to be used to purchase specialized face masks and personal protective equipment.
  • Asked the State Department to immediately act to get Iowans stranded abroad back home.
  • Sought tariff relief for Iowa’s businesses by calling on Treasury to defer all tariffs during the pandemic.
  • Took questions from Iowans in Dubuque and Siouxland areas on COVID-19 relief.
  • Answered questions from Iowans in Quad Cities area on COVID-19 relief.
  • Held a telephone town hall with thousands of Iowans to help answer some questions and hear directly from folks.
  • Hosted another telephone town hall with Iowa’s seniors and elderly community.
  • Participated in discussions at the State Emergency Operations Center with Governor Kim Reynolds.
  • Joined Governor Reynolds at her press conference to give an update on federal relief efforts.
  • Discussed the need to work together – at federal, state, and local level – to tackle COVID-19.
  • Published a column on everyone doing their part to protect seniors and fellow Iowans from COVID-19.

For additional information for Iowans on COVID-19, you can visit Senator Ernst’s website, which includes resources for families and individualssmall businesses, and seniors.