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Second Stimulus Package Provides Some Relief


Last updated 1/12/2021 at 11:18am

After a lengthy battle with oppositions from both sides, and hours before a shut down of the federal government, President Donald Trump signed the $900 billion coronavirus relief package, the White House announced on Dec. 27.

Days before signing the bill, President Trump stated that he would refuse the bill if it was not revised if the stimulus checks were not raised to $2,000 from $600. However, it never happened as House Republicans shot down the attempt.

The bill comes after months of negotiations in the Senate. It includes: $600 stimulus per person based on income; $300 weekly federal unemployment insurance bonus; $284B in loans for struggling businesses/vaccine distribution; $82B in funding for colleges and schools; $25B in rental assistance and eviction moratorium extension.

After signing the bill, President Trump asked Congress to make more revisions to cut down excess spending, and continued his push for the $2,000 checks.

Stimulus Checks

In the relief bill, checks will be for up to $600 per adult. Those individuals with up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income will receive that full payment, as will heads of households earning up to $112,500 and married couples making up to $150,000. Those with earning above these levels will receive a partial payment that drops by $5 for every $100 income.

Distribution of the second stimulus checks will include “mixed-status” immigrant families, or families where American citizens are married to immigrants without Green Cards, a group that was blocked from receiving the checks from March.

Children under 17 years old will receive the same $600 payment as adults, compared with $500 in the first round.

However, the income limits in the most recent stimulus package are slightly different from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or the CARES Act) that was signed back in March, which will cut off more middle-class families from receiving aid. And there are a few groups who were overlooked in the first round of checks that will also miss out on a second.

The $900 billion stimulus package directs $600 to each child in a family – as long as they are considered “qualifying children” under the IRS tax code for the Child Tax Credit. No adult dependents will qualify for the $600 checks, according to the Tax Foundation, which excludes most college students.

Those who have direct deposit information from the IRS will be the first to receive the payment, and checks will be received in the next few weeks.

Extended Unemployment Assistance

An estimated 12 million people in two key pandemic unemployment programs who were facing their last payment at the end of December will now receive benefits for another 11 weeks. Plus those collecting jobless payments will receive a $300 weekly federal boost through mid-March.

However, because President Trump did not sign the bill on Saturday Dec. 26, those in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will not likely receive a payment for the final week of the year. And the $300 federal enhancement may only last 10 weeks instead of 11 for most because states can’t provide benefits for weeks that start before programs are authorized. Though, legislation calls for the extra payments to end on March 14.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program allowed independent contractors, the self-employed, freelancers and gig workers to qualify for up to 39 weeks of payments. It also opened up the program to those who can’t work because of the pandemic, including if they or family members are ill or quarantining or if their children’s schools are closed. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program provides an additional 13 weeks of federally paid benefits to those who run out of state payments, which typically last 26 weeks. Each program closes to new applicants on March 14, but continues through April 5 for existing claimants who have not reach the maximum number of weeks.

Rental Assistance

The relief package also extends eviction protection to January 31 and provides $25 billion in rental assistance for those who lost their sources of income during the pandemic. The original order halting some evictions was set to expire at the end of the year. Since the order does not cancel or freeze rent, all of a tenant’s back rent would have been due January 1.

Not included:

- Liability protection from COVID-related lawsuits for businesses, universities and health care centers

- Zero funding for states/localities for Medicare, teachers and first responders

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