What the New COVID Relief Package May Mean for Your Money
NEW ORLEANS – A second wave of federal coronavirus relief totaling $900 billion could begin flowing to millions of Americans as soon as the year’s end, nearly nine months after Congress passed the original pandemic relief package known as the CARES Act.
Here’s what the COVID relief package — part of a $2.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress and now awaiting the president’s signature — could mean for you, your family, your home or your business.
IF YOU EARN UP TO $75,000 PER YEAR
You’re eligible to receive a $600 one-time payment if your 2019 reported income was $75,000 or less. Couples who reported an adjusted gross income up to $150,000 will receive $1,200 (the income limit per couple is $112,500 for the highest earner or the head of the household). Those eligible for relief who have dependent children will also get $600 per child. That means a family of four (a couple and two children) meeting the income threshold would see $2,400.
You would still receive partial payments dropping by $5 for every $100 above the income limits. An individual who earned $86,900, for example, would get $5.
Only minor dependent children are eligible for this payment; adult dependents such as college students don’t qualify, which is the same as with the previous relief.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said these new payments will be distributed the same way the earlier relief was sent — as direct deposits and checks.
IF YOU’RE OUT OF WORK
Weekly $300 supplemental unemployment insurance known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation will be added on top of other unemployment benefits for 11 weeks, through March 14. (The CARES Act provided $600 in supplemental unemployment compensation, which expired July 31.)
This benefit also extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which was created by the CARES Act, for those who wouldn’t traditionally be eligible for regular unemployment, such as freelancers, gig and part-time workers, as well as those who are self-employed. These checks were originally set to end Dec. 26 but will continue through March 14. If you have not hit your maximum by March 14, the legislation says pandemic unemployment assistance will continue until April 5, 2021.
IF YOU RENT
The eviction moratorium is extended to Jan. 31; it was set to expire Dec. 31. Rent payments are still due.
Rental assistance is available for households earning less than 80% of the local median income, with priority given to households below 50% of median income or where one or more people have been unemployed for 90 or more days.
The rental assistance money can be used for past-due and future rent payments. The payments may go directly to landlords (or utilities) if renters co-sign the application for assistance. Rental assistance is available through Dec. 31, 2021.
IF YOU OWN YOUR OWN HOME
The Federal Housing Administration extended the deadline to request an initial COVID-19 forbearance to Feb. 28, 2021. The new deadline applies to single-family mortgages insured by the FHA. The moratorium on foreclosures and evictions is extended through Feb. 28 for single-family FHA-insured loans.
IF YOU’RE A SMALL-BUSINESS OWNER
Small businesses, which have been hard hit by pandemic shutdowns, will see more than $284 billion for first and second forgivable coronavirus relief loans. The deal provides additional funding for business owners who didn’t receive Paycheck Protection Program loans during the first round in the spring.
The agreement also expands eligibility for the PPP to more businesses and other industries, such as newspapers and TV stations. In addition, the package provides grants through the U.S. Small Business Administration for eligible entertainment venues that can demonstrate a 25% reduction in revenue.
IF YOU’RE IN COLLEGE
Colleges are receiving additional emergency relief funds and must use some of the money to provide financial aid grants to students that can be used for a student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs due to the coronavirus.
IF YOU HAVE STUDENT LOANS
Noticeably absent from the relief bill is another extension of the interest-free payment pause for federal student loan borrowers, which is set to expire Jan. 31, 2021. The first coronavirus relief package launched the pause, known as forbearance, and it was extended twice by President Donald Trump. This means it will be up to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration to extend the pause; otherwise, payments will restart Feb. 1, 2021.
IF YOU USE BROADBAND FOR SCHOOL OR JOB HUNTING
The measure authorizes a discount off normal broadband rates of up to $50 per month for households with at least one person receiving reduced or free school lunch benefits, unemployment benefits or a Pell Grant.
IF YOU FACE SURPRISE MEDICAL BILLS
Providers and insurers must negotiate acceptable payment for out-of-network doctor, hospital and air ambulance bills incurred during emergency care. Patients will owe only their typical in-network costs. In the past, surprise bills could greatly exceed an insurance company’s reimbursement levels, leaving consumers on the hook for the difference.
IF YOU RELY ON NUTRITION PROGRAMS
The bill includes $13 billion to increase the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits families receive through June 30, 2021.
IF YOU NEED CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE
The bill provides a $10 billion injection into Child Care and Development Block Grants, which can be used to help families with copayments and tuition for child care and to ensure child care providers can remain open despite decreased enrollment.
This article originally appeared on the personal finance website NerdWallet. Anna Helhoski, a writer at NerdWallet, contributed to this report. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @AnnaHelhoski.