Another dose of relief is finally on the way for the millions of Americans who have faced financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, congressmen from both parties announced an agreement to give most Americans a round of $ 600 stimulus payments and partially restore the improved federal unemployment benefits by offering $ 300 for 11 weeks.
The legislative package has not yet been finalized, but along with a few other relief efforts, it will provide welcome, if temporary, aid to many. And how quickly the money gets into your pocket depends on several factors.
Here’s a closer look at what the latest legislative package will mean for you.
Do I get another incentive payment?
Single adults making up to $ 75,000 per year would receive a payment of $ 600, and a couple making up to $ 150,000 per year would receive double that amount. If they have dependent children, they will also receive $ 600 for each child.
When could it arrive?
The first payments earlier this year came in via direct deposit about two weeks after the laws were passed. However, it took some people months to get the money.
Will it be deposited directly like last time?
What if I haven’t received my previous stimulus payment or have only received part of it?
When filing your tax return for 2020, you can apply for a so-called “refund credit”. The Internal Revenue Service has a page on their website that explains the details.
What about older children I claim to be dependent?
If they are 17 years or older, they are not eligible for any payment and you cannot collect one on their behalf.
What does the agreement do?
The leaders of Congress agreed to extend the length of time people can receive unemployment benefits.
It would also restart an additional federal benefit that is on top of the usual state benefits. But instead of $ 600 a week it would be $ 300. That would take until March 14th.
How does the extension work?
Anyone who is entitled to unemployment benefits will receive an additional 11 weeks. This includes people receiving government benefits, as well as people receiving checks under what is known as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which covers the self-employed, gig workers, part-time workers, and others who are normally not eligible for regular unemployment benefits . The pandemic unemployment controls were due to expire on December 26th.
This is how the extension would work in practice: most states pay benefits for 26 weeks, but some offer less. After that, the CARES law extended the benefits by 13 weeks. The latest package would include an additional 11 weeks and extend the total extension to 24 weeks – for anyone receiving either government benefits or pandemic unemployment benefits.
(During periods of high unemployment, your state may also offer its own extended benefit program. Extended benefits usually last half the normal state benefit duration, but can be longer in some places.)
Will unemployment benefits be more generous?
Everyone who qualifies for unemployment checks will receive an additional $ 300 weekly payment. The so-called compensation for unemployment benefits in the event of a pandemic is paid for 11 weeks from the end of December to March 14th.
That’s less generous than the first package, which gives all workers who qualify for government or equivalent benefits an additional $ 600 per week. That additional payment expired in July, despite President Trump later issuing a memo saying an additional $ 300 was available for about five weeks.
Will anything else change?
The bill also provides an additional federal benefit of $ 100 per week for those who have earned at least $ 5,000 per year in self-employment income but are excluded from receiving a more generous Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Benefit because they are eligible state unemployment benefits have a senate assistant.
Economy & Economy
Apr. 18, 2020 at 12:25 am ET
This extra money will be added to the additional weekly benefit of $ 300 and will also end on March 14th. The benefit only starts after your state has reached an agreement with the Department of Labor.
This will help people in the film industry, for example. Suppose a person earned most of their income from major freelance jobs in movies, but in between took low-paying jobs in restaurants. These workers would be entitled to lower state-level benefits based on restaurant work. The extra money will help people in such situations.
How long do I have to wait for benefits?
If your benefits have already been used up, experts should check your state’s website for further instructions on whether there is anything you need to do to get the additional 11 weeks of assistance. States will likely reinstate them automatically, but expect to wait at least a few weeks.
“You may have to wait part of January to access benefits that were discontinued in late December,” said Michele Evermore, senior social security policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project. “When Congress grants relief, it has been historically structured so that your benefits will be restored from the Effective Date. So in this case, there shouldn’t be a loophole in your eligibility, just a loophole when you get paid. “
Student Loans and Higher Education
Are there any changes in interest rate policy?
Yes. The federal government makes interest payments for students who qualify for subsidized loans while in school, but cuts them off if it takes too long to finish. Now there would be no time limit.
What about changes to the Free State Student Aid Application (FAFSA)?
It should be a lot easier soon.
Senator Lamar Alexander, a retiring Republican from Tennessee, has long sought to reduce the number of questions about the notoriously complicated form that students have to fill out to qualify for a grant, including federal loans and Pell Grants for low-income students.
The new FAFSA, which is filled out by up to 20 million people each year, would lose two-thirds of its questions, increasing from 108 to no more than 36.
Have Pell Grants Got More Generous?
Yes. After years of efforts by interest groups and some senators, prisoners would again be eligible to use them for higher education.
The general eligibility rules are also getting simpler, meaning more people would qualify – and qualify for the maximum grant.
Other forms of help
I am behind on my rent or expect to be soon. Do I get relief?
Recent legislation extended a moratorium on eviction from tenants until January 31st.
The Trump administration had already extended an earlier eviction ban until the end of the year by order of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency said the moratorium was necessary to prevent renters from ending up in shelters or other crowded living conditions, which would put them at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.
The new legislation simply extends that order. To be eligible, tenants must have experienced a “significant” loss of household income, layoff, or “exceptional” medical expenses, among other things – and they cannot expect to earn more than $ 99,000 in 2020 (or $ 198,000 for married ones People who file their tax returns together).
Renters can use a form from the CDC website to confirm their eligibility. Further information on eligibility can be found here.
What if i can’t pay my mortgage?
If you’re struggling to make your payments, you can qualify for an indulgence, which allows homeowners to temporarily pause or cut payments for up to 180 days (after which homeowners can request an additional 180 days). These rules, which apply to government-secured mortgages, continue to apply as part of the CARES Act relief package passed in March.
But the rules vary a little depending on the type of mortgage you have.
If your loan is secured by Fannie Mae or Freddie Freddie Mac, there is no precise end date on the policy – regulators will wind it up when they see fit.
However, homeowners on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration must contact their servicer by December 31st and apply for a Covid-19 First Forbearance. “We continue to examine options in connection with this deadline,” said a spokeswoman for the agency.
Skipped payments will not be awarded and may need to be paid back. However, if borrowers cannot make the additional payments right away, they may be able to push back their debt until the home is sold, refinanced, or the loan expires.
The situation is bleaker for borrowers with private mortgages. You are not covered by the same protection, although some providers have given similar reliefs.
I am a homeowner on the verge of foreclosure. Am i at risk?
Single-family homeowners on loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac would be protected from foreclosure until at least January 31, 2021, regulators overseeing federal-funded mortgages said this month. The moratorium was due to expire at the end of December.
People living in properties that either Fannie or Freddie took over because the owner couldn’t pay the mortgage are also protected – the moratorium on evictions has also been extended.
The Federal Housing Administration, which frequently insures loans to borrowers who are depositing less money, has a foreclosure and eviction moratorium through December 31st. A spokeswoman for the agency said she was considering the next steps.
This article will be updated as more details of the measure become available.