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What Does The COVID-19 Stimulus Package Mean for You?

What Does The COVID-19 Stimulus Package Mean for You?

Find out whether you qualify for a direct payment and how much it could be

Updated on March 27, 2020 at 11:00 PM EDT

President Trump has signed a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package intended to boost the economy and offer assistance to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most eagerly anticipated benefits in the bill include direct payments to taxpayers, expanded unemployment benefits and expedited small business loans. The economic relief plan also provides grants to airlines, tax cuts for corporations, funding for a variety of medical and healthcare initiatives and money earmarked for local and state governments.

What does the package mean for you? Read on to find out if you qualify for any of the benefits outlined in the bill.

How much money will I receive?
Individuals making $75,000 or less will receive a one-time payment of $1,200 from the government. The payment amount decreases by $50 for every extra $1,000 earned. Anyone making over $99,000 will not qualify.

Married couples can expect to receive $2,400 if they have a combined income of less than $150,000 per year. Similar to individuals, payments decrease for those earning more, topping out at an income level of $198,000. Families will also receive $500 for each child under 16 years of age.

Income will be based on 2019 tax returns. If you haven’t filed yet, your adjusted fixed income will be taken from your 2018 return.

Who won’t receive a check?
Besides those who don’t qualify based on income, there are some people who will not receive payment. College students who are counted as dependents do not qualify. Anyone who owes child support payments will see their amount reduced. For the most part, however, taxpayers with a social security number who meet income qualifications should receive a benefit.

Some folks who have recently lost a job or seen income decrease due to the COVID-19 crisis will not qualify for a payment if their 2019 income does not entitle them to one. Though people in this category may not receive a direct payment, they may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

When will I get my check and how will it be sent?
There is no firm date set, but Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin has said that relief checks should be distributed within the month of April. If you have received a tax refund by direct deposit, your check will be automatically sent to your bank account. If not, it will be sent via mail, so it’s important to ensure your correct address is on file with the IRS. You will not need to sign up or otherwise register to receive the payment.

What are the new unemployment benefits?
Under the bill, people receiving unemployment benefits from their state will also get an extra $600 per week from the federal government for up to four months. Unemployment benefits are also extended an extra 13 weeks beyond what your state typically provides.

Anyone who is currently receiving unemployment automatically qualifies. While freelancers, gig workers (such as Uber drivers) and those who are self-employed typically don’t qualify for state unemployment, they are all eligible for benefits under this bill.

Also eligible for unemployment coverage are those whose ability to work has been impacted by the virus, including:

  • People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Anyone who has been asked to quarantine
  • Those caring for someone with COVID-19
  • Parents caring for children whose schools or childcare have closed due to COVID-19

Do I have to make payments on my student loans?
There is a reprieve on student loans, as long as they are held by the government. There will be no payments due until October. During that time, no interest can accrued as well.

What about rent, credit card or mortgage payments?
The bill puts a four month ban on evictions by landlords who have mortgages backed or owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other federal entities. These landlords also can’t penalize or charge extra fees to tenants who do not pay during this time. That said, there is no rent, mortgage or credit card forgiveness provided under the bill.

Renters will need to work directly with their landlord or management company in order to seek a reduction or deferral of payment. The same is true for mortgage holders—call your bank or mortgage lender if you are worried that you are unable to make a payment. Many lenders are offering forbearance options, meaning your monthly payment can be reduced or suspended for a short period of time, but will still eventually need to be repaid.

Many credit card companies are offering assistance or allowing cardholders to defer payments. Contact your credit card company or bank to see if you qualify.

Does it help my small business?
It may. If your business or nonprofit has fewer than 500 employees, you can apply for a loan that can be partially forgiven from the Small Business Administration. The forgiven portion covers eight weeks of employee pay and benefits, as well as rent or mortgage payments and utilities. The government, meanwhile, is working with approved banks to speed up the loan process.

Sources:
Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram, Laurie Kellman and Darlene Superville. “Trump signs $2.2T stimulus after swift congressional votes.” Apnews.com. March 27, 2020.
“Factbox: What's in the $2.2 trillion U.S. coronavirus rescue package.” Reuters.com. March 27, 2020.
Tara Siegel Bernard and Ron Leiber. “F.A.Q. on Stimulus Checks, Unemployment and the Coronavirus Plan.” NYTimes.com. March 27, 2020.
Kevin Breuniger. “Coronavirus stimulus checks will come within three weeks, Mnuchin says.” CNBC.com. March 26, 2020.
Josh Lederman and Sahil Kapur. “Coronavirus checks, direct deposits are coming. Here's everything you need to know.” NBCNews.com. March 27, 2020.
Karin Price Mueller. “What happens if I can’t pay my mortgage because of coronavirus?” NJ.com. March 25, 2020.
Amanda Dixon. “List of banks offering help to customers impacted by the coronavirus.” Bankrate.com. March 26, 2020.
Tami Luhby, Katie Lobosco and Jeanne Sahadi. “When will you see money and benefits from the stimulus bill?” CNN.com. March 27, 2020.

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