On Tuesday, May 18, 2021 the IRS issued Notice 2021-31 providing 86 FAQs related to premium assistance for COBRA benefits under the American Rescue Plan Act, 2021. The full text version of the FAQs is available below. These provide additional guidance on, among other things:

  • Whether an individual has had an “involuntary” termination, including employee-initiated terminations that could be considered constructive discharges under all of the facts and circumstances;
  • Whether an individual has had a “reduction in hours”, including voluntary or employee-initiated leaves that are not pandemic-related;
  • How the “Outbreak Period” relief applies to individuals who could also elect retroactive COBRA coverage for periods prior to April 1, 2021;
  • The extent to which employers can rely on self-certification or attestation of “assistance eligible individual” status;
  • The impact of retiree coverage on eligibility for COBRA premium assistance;
  • How premium payees can apply and calculate the refundable tax credit, including in the context of retiree coverage, severance benefits, or similar situations.

IRS Notice 2021-31