June 22, 2021
Employers who seek a tax credit for providing the ARPA COBRA premium assistance must collect and maintain documentation to substantiate that the individuals who received the assistance are in fact eligible for it. This would include documentation confirming that the individual experienced a reduction in hours or involuntary termination as well as documentation confirming that they are not eligible for other group health plan coverage or Medicare.
The IRS’ guidance does not require employers to obtain a self-certification or attestation if the employer has other documentation to substantiate that the individual was eligible for the COBRA premium assistance. Examples of other documentation include employment records concerning a reduction in hours or involuntary termination of employment.
However, since individuals are only eligible for premium assistance if they are ineligible for other group health plan coverage or Medicare, employers will likely need to obtain an attestation from the individual reflecting that they do not have that access to such disqualifying coverage.
Ultimately, the attestation may be the easiest way to substantiate that the person receiving the premium assistance is eligible for it, but the employer may also rely upon their employment records to substantiate the individual’s status as an assistance-eligible individual.