What the New Coronavirus Relief Bills Means for You

Two stimulus bills went into law March 6 and March 18, but more is coming

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President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law Wednesday night, the second bill passed this month designed to blunt the pandemic's impact. A third bill, the CARES Act, was introduced Thursday night.

On Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the IRS will move the national income tax filing day ahead to July 15, giving Americans an extra three months to file as they grapple with the coronavirus crisis, CNBC reports. It's the latest federal measure meant to mitigate the crippling financial impact.

But what does all of it mean for you?

Q: Am I getting a check? I hear we're all getting checks.
A: Potentially, but not yet. That's being discussed for the third relief bill, which is being negotiated starting Friday. As introduced, the bill provides a tax credit of $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per couple filing jointly, plus $500 per child.

Married couples who file their taxes jointly would have to make less than $150,000 to qualify for their payment, which would be $2,400.

From there, according to McConnell's proposal, the payments would decrease, NBC News reports. For individuals, the sum of the payment would fall by $5 for each $100 earned over $75,000.

BUT -- and it's a big but -- there are income limits on the credit that would reduce the size of the checks, starting at $75,000 for individual filers and $150,000 for joint filers. Anyone who makes more than $99,000, or joint filers making more than $198,000, would not get anything at all.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in a Fox Business interview Thursday, said if Congress passes the bill quickly, checks could go out in three weeks. But it's not clear if that'll happen or not.

Q: So in the meantime, while the third bill is being negotiated, what exactly does the second bill offer?
These are some of the notable provisions that might benefit you:

  • $500 million in additional funding for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program
  • $400 million in additional funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program
  • $82 million in additional funding for the Defense Health Program
  • $250 million in additional funding for food programs, including home delivery food programs, for the elderly and disabled
  • Waivers to some requirements for school lunch programs
  • Waivers to work requirements to be eligible for SNAP food programs
  • New, temporary requirements that employers with more than 20 employees offer some paid sick leave time to their employees
  • Extensions to, and additional funds for, unemployment benefits
  • Free COVID-19 testing without co-pays or deductibles

Q: So when do I get my money?
Many of these benefits are simply extra funds for existing state programs, so as usual, you'll need to apply through your state. See here for questions about unemployment.

Q: What about the first bill? What do I get from that?
The first relief bill, signed March 6, was largely dedicated to funding healthcare preparation to fight the virus, as well as vaccine research. There was some money in there for "telehealth," or remote doctor visits, but it was mostly not a bill for consumers.

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