coronavirus

What the New Coronavirus Relief Bill Means for You

Two bills went into law March 6 and March 18, and a third bill passed March 27

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed the third coronavirus relief package after days of negotiation between Republicans and Democrats.

President Trump has signed two relief bills already, one March 6 and one March 18. The third bill, the CARES Act, failed a procedural vote twice before Congress finally reached an agreement.

Here's what the $2 trillion deal could mean for you:

Q: Am I getting a check? I hear we're all getting checks.
A: Potentially. The third relief bill provides a tax credit of $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per couple filing jointly, plus $500 per child.

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.

Everyone is wondering how much they will get from the federal government when the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill is complete. Here's a basic guideline of what you can expect using items we found while stuck home with our kids.

"Most of these will be direct deposits … it'll be within three weeks. We are determined to get money in people's pockets immediately," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on CNBC Thursday.

Q: Is there anything else that might help me?
A: There is an expanded unemployment insurance platform that would give people an extra $600 a week for up to four months, and it includes specific provisions for "gig" workers like rideshare drivers. There's also a fund to help small businesses meet payroll and avoid laying off employees.

Q: What else is, or what is not, in the new agreement?
A
: An outline some of the changes is below:

  • 4 months of more unemployment insurance instead of 3 months.
  • $55 billion increase in the Marshall Plan for our Health Care System.
  • $150 billion for a state, tribal, and local Coronavirus Relief fund.
  • $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.
  • $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
  • $30 billion in emergency education funding and $25 billion in emergency transit funding.
  • $30 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as private nonprofits providing critical and essential services.
  • More than $10 billion for the Indian Health Services, and other tribal programs.
  • Prohibit businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs.
  • Make rent, mortgage and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
  • Ban stock buybacks for the term of the government assistance plus 1 year on any company receiving a government loan from the bill.
  • Establish robust worker protections attached to all federal loans for businesses.
  • Create real-time public reporting of Treasury transactions under the Act, including terms of loans, investments or other assistance to corporations.
  • Create of Treasury Department Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to provide oversight of Treasury loans and a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to protect taxpayer dollars.
  • Add a retention tax credit for employers to encourage businesses to keep workers on payroll during the crisis.
  • Provide income tax exclusion for individuals who are receiving student loan repayment assistance from their employer.
  • Eliminated $3 billion bailout for big oil.
  • Eliminated “secret bailout” provision that would have allowed bailouts to corporations to be concealed for 6 months.
  • Saved hundreds of thousands of airline industry jobs and prohibited airlines from stock buybacks and CEO bonuses.

Q: That's the third bill, but what exactly did the second bill offer?
A:
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
How one person self-isolating can save lives. Chris Glorioso reports.

Q: So when do I get my money?
A:
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 and see here for more general advice on getting state aid.

Q: What about the first bill? What do I get from that?
A:
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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