Third Stimulus Check Update: What’s in the COVID Relief Bill?

Here’s a look at what the $ 1.9 trillion COVID relief bill will pay when President Joe Biden signs it.

WASHINGTON – The massive pandemic relief program awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature aims to help the United States defeat the virus and put the economy back on track. Highlights of the legislation:

How much for unemployment benefits?

The increased unemployment benefits from the federal government would be extended until September 6 to $ 300 per week. This is on top of what beneficiaries get through their public unemployment insurance program. The first $ 10,200 of jobless benefits accrued in 2020 would be tax-free for households with incomes below $ 150,000.

In addition, the measure provides a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums to ensure that laid-off workers can stay on their employer health plans at no cost until the end of September.

Who gets $ 1,400 stimulus checks?

The law provides for a direct payment of $ 1,400 for a single taxpayer or $ 2,800 for a married couple filing jointly, plus $ 1,400 per dependent. People earning up to $ 75,000 would receive the full amount, as would married couples with incomes of up to $ 150,000.

The amount of the check would decrease for those who earn a little more, with an absolute limit of $ 80,000 for individuals and $ 160,000 for married couples.

Most Americans will receive the full amount. Median household income was $ 68,703 in 2019, according to the US Census Bureau. Biden said payments would begin this month.

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How much money for state and local governments?

The legislation would send $ 350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments for costs incurred through the end of 2024. The bill also requires small states to receive at least the amount they received under. virus legislation passed by Congress last March.

Many communities have hit their tax bases during the pandemic, but the impact varies from state to state and city to city. Critics say the funding is not properly targeted and is far more than needed with billions of dollars allocated last spring to states and communities still unspent.

Help to reopen schools

The bill provides approximately $ 130 billion in additional assistance to schools for kindergarten to grade 12 students. The money would be used to reduce class sizes and modify classrooms to improve social distancing, install ventilation systems and purchase personal protective equipment. The money could also be used to hire more nurses, counselors and janitors and to offer summer courses.

Spending for colleges and universities would be increased by around $ 40 billion, with money used to cover an institution’s pandemic-related expenses and to provide emergency assistance to students to cover expenses such as food , housing and computer equipment.

There is also about $ 39 billion in child care through an emergency fund to help child care providers pay for staff, rent and supplies, and through a block grants program that subsidizes child care costs for low-income families.

Business assistance

A new program for restaurants and bars affected by the pandemic would receive $ 28.6 billion. Grants provide up to $ 10 million per business with a limit of $ 5 million per physical location. Grants can be used to cover payroll, rent, utilities, and other operational expenses.

The bill also provides $ 7.25 billion for the paycheck protection program, a tiny fraction of what was allocated in previous legislation. The bill also allows more nonprofits to apply for loans designed to help borrowers meet their payroll and operating costs and which may eventually be waived.

COVID-19 vaccines and tests

The bill provides around $ 50 billion to expand testing for COVID-19 and improve contract tracing capabilities with new investments to expand lab capacity and set up mobile testing units. It also contains more than $ 15 billion to accelerate the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines across the country. Another billion dollars would be used to build confidence in vaccines. And $ 10 billion would be used to increase the supply of medical devices and equipment to fight the virus under the Defense Production Act.

Obamacare financial aid

Parts of the legislation advance long-standing democratic priorities, such as increasing coverage under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. Financial assistance for ACA premiums would become considerably more generous and more strong middle-class households would qualify. While the softened grants only last until the end of 2022, they will lower the cost of coverage and are expected to increase the number of people enrolled.

The measure also puts more money ahead of a dozen states, mostly in the South, that have yet to resume the expansion of Medicaid that is available under the ACA to cover more low-income adults. returned. It’s unclear whether such a sweetener would be enough to begin to exhaust long-standing Republican opposition to the expansion of Medicaid.

The bill would also provide about $ 3 billion to states to help tackle mental health and substance abuse disorders, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Over $ 14 billion is spent on increased support for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

How much for the child tax credit?

Under current law, most taxpayers can reduce their federal income tax bill by up to $ 2,000 per child. In a significant change, the bill would increase tax relief to $ 3,000 for every child aged 6 to 17 and to $ 3,600 for every child under age 6.

The law also requires that payments be made monthly rather than as a lump sum. If the Secretary of the Treasury judges this to be impractical, payments should be made as often as possible.

Families would get all the credit no matter how little they earn in a year, which has led to criticism that the changes have a chilling effect on work. Add the $ 1,400 checks and other items to the proposal, and the legislation would more than halve the number of children living in poverty, according to Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy.

The bill also significantly expands the earned income tax credit for 2021 by making it accessible to people without children. The credit for low- and moderate-income adults would be worth $ 543 to $ 1,502, depending on income and deposit status.

Owner and rental assistance

The bill provides more than $ 30 billion to help low-income households pay their rent and to help the homeless. States and tribes would receive an additional $ 10 billion for homeowners who are struggling with mortgage payments and other housing costs due to the pandemic.

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