Coronavirus help appears on its way and could start arriving in Americans’ bank accounts before the end of the year.
Congress is expected to pass, and President Donald Trump sign, a $900 billion coronavirus relief package Monday. The deal between congressional Republicans, Democrats and the White House — which includes a second round of stimulus checks and additional unemployment relief — comes after months of stalled negotiations and disagreements over the size and scope of pandemic relief.
The nearly trillion-dollar coronavirus package will be added to the $1.4 trillion omnibus government funding bill which keeps the government open through the end of the fiscal year, which ends Sept 30.
Here is what is included in the coronavirus relief and how it will help Americans, according to news accounts:
Americans will receive $600 stimulus checks based on their 2019 adjusted gross income that was reported the IRS.
Individual adults who made up to $75,000 last year will receive the full $600 as will “heads of household making up to $112,500, while couples (or someone whose spouse died in 2020) earning up to $150,000 a year would get twice that amount,” according to The New York Times.
Persons who made more than $75,000 last year, or couples who made more than $174,000, will receive smaller checks on a sliding scale. For every $100 of annual income over $75,000, the stimulus payment drops $5 — meaning individuals who earned more than $87,000 last year won’t receive a stimulus check, according to the Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Parents or guardians would also receive an additional $600 for each dependent child that is younger than 17 years old, The Wall Street Journal reported. This is $100 more per child than what was paid for dependents under the CARES Act emergency aid passed last spring.
Americans without a Social Security number — like unauthorized immigrants — are not eligible for a direct payment, the Journal reported, but “mixed-status households can get payments this time based on the number of eligible people in the household — in contrast to the spring round, when they couldn’t get any money.”
Households that would qualify for a higher stimulus check because they are making less money this year than last are able to claim the difference from what they did receive and what they should have received as a credit on their 2020 tax returns, according to the Journal.
Those who have direct deposit arrangements with the IRS will receive their stimulus checks quicker than those who opt to receive a check in the mail.
“The good news is this is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy. Let me emphasize: People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on CNBC Monday.
"We're definitely in a much better position and there's no question the first bill — the CARES Act — is the reason why we're here today and the economy has continued to rebound," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says Americans will get stimulus checks as soon as next week. pic.twitter.com/5rDteHCWPv— CNBC (@CNBC) December 21, 2020
According to The Wall Street Journal, the new legislation states the IRS needs to issue the payments, including paper checks for those without direct deposit, before Jan. 15.
Congress agreed to a $300 weekly federal unemployment assistance, Politico reported, which will last through March 14.
The new stimulus also extends unemployment aid to “self-employed individuals, gig workers and those who’ve exhausted their state benefits,” according to Politico.
“Everyone eligible for unemployment benefits would receive an extra 11 weeks. That includes people receiving state-level benefits as well as individuals receiving checks through the so-called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which covers the self-employed, gig workers, part-timers and others who are typically ineligible for regular unemployment benefits,” the Times wrote.
Experts told the Times that individuals whose unemployment benefits have already run out this year should check with their state unemployment offices for additional details and that states will likely automatically reinstate the aid, “but expect to wait at least a few weeks.”
Small business support
The popular CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program was revived with $284 billion from the stimulus package, The Associated Press reported.
The paycheck program, known informally as “PPP,” provides money to small business to “maintain their payroll, hire back employees who may have been laid off, and cover applicable overhead,” according to the Treasury Department.
The aid package also provided $20 billion to low-income communities and $15 million for “struggling live venues, movie theaters and museums,” Politico reported.
Homes, schools and child care
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the package also included the following, the AP reported:
- $25 billion in rental assistance.
- $82 billion for local schools, colleges and universities.
- $10 billion for child care.
The new legislation also “extended a moratorium on renter evictions through Jan. 31,” which would have expired at the end of the year, according to the Times.
Congressional Democrats have reached an agreement with Republicans and the White House on an emergency coronavirus relief and omnibus package that delivers urgently needed funds to save the lives and livelihoods of the American people. https://t.co/z9uVKPk9TP— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 21, 2020
Like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has urged, Mnuchin said on CNBC that the package is “much more targeted.”
“It’s needed in a short period of time, and I think this will take us through the recovery,” Mnuchin said.
But Pelosi said Sunday night she considered the bipartisan agreement a “first step” and that “more needs to be done,” which would happen during President-elect Biden’s administration.
The yearlong pandemic has killed more than 317,000 Americans, according to a Johns Hopkins tally.