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Here’s What You’ll Get from the $900 Billion Stimulus Package
Congress has finally passed a second stimulus package to combat the massive COVID-19 economic impact. The $900 billion package covers stimulus checks, unemployment boost, small business aid, school and public health funds, rental and nutrition assistance and a ban on surprise medical bills. Many Americans feel the proposed measures are not enough. Here’s what made the cut:
$600 for each adult per household
Based on 2019 income, single people with an income up to $75,000 will receive $600. Married couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $1,200. While immigrants without Social Security numbers are not eligible, the rest of their household can qualify if they meet the other eligibility requirements and hold an SSN.
$600 for dependent children
Each eligible household will receive $600 per dependent child. Only dependents under the age of 17 qualify — leaving out older high school children and college-aged dependents.
$300 a week in unemployment aid
The stimulus bill includes an extra $300 per week as part of federal unemployment benefits. This boost for jobless workers will only run for 11 weeks, through March 14. The bill will also extend the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which will offer benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers for 11 weeks. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) will also be extended and cover additional weeks of jobless aid to people who have run out of their state unemployment benefits.
$325 billion for small businesses
As part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $284 billion in aid will go to forgivable loans and allow businesses with fewer than 500 employees to cover essential expenses, including rent, payroll and utilities. A total of $15 billion allocated for the Save Our Stages Act will go to movie theaters, live venues and cultural institutions.
Minority small business and businesses in low-income communities
Some of that funding will also assist even smaller businesses through lenders like the Minority Depository Institutions after the first round of PPP loans faced backlash for overlooking minority-owned businesses. Twenty billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans will be set aside for business in low-income communities.
[ Read: Best Small Business Loans for 2020 ]
$82 billion for schools and child care
Child care providers, K-12 schools and colleges may be granted aid from this portion of the fund. Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund will receive $54.3 billion and the Higher Education Emergency relief Fund will get $22.7 billion. Money allocated to these funds from the CARES Act was mostly dedicated to technology for remote learning, supporting nutritional services and given to students through emergency financial aid grants.
$69 billion for public-health measures
Vaccine distribution, testing assistance and tracing measures will also receive funding. This portion of the bill is also for hospitals and healthcare providers to receive reimbursement for healthcare-related expenses and lost revenue related to the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will also receive $9 billion for vaccination efforts.
$45 billion for transportation
Airline payroll support will receive $15 billion; state highways get $10 billion, airports and related businesses receive $2 billion and Amtrak is allocated $1 billion in funding. MTA is designated $4 billion as well. The funding is intended to support transportation jobs and COVID-19 financial impacts.
$ 25 billion in rental assistance
The bill will offer $25 billion in rental assistance and an extension of eviction moratoriums until January 31, 2021. The rental relief can be used for future rent and utility payments or any back owed rent.
$13 billion in nutrition assistance
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be raised by 15% for six months. This program supplies food stamps to labile families. $175 million will go to nutrition services for seniors like Meals on Wheels and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. The bill will also provide $400 million for food banks and pantries through the Emergency Food Assistance Program.
A ban on surprise medical bills
Surprise billing for out-of-network emergency care, most out-of-network care at in-network facilities and air ambulance services has been banned. Patients will instead be asked to pay in-network obligations. The goal is to protect insured patients who inadvertently received out-of-network care and a big bill.
What’s not included in the bill
Although the package is half the size of what was provided last Spring, a few key components were skipped out on this time around.
- Liability protection from COVID-related lawsuits for universities, health care centers and businesses has not been extended.
- State and local governments will not receive any direct aid in this stimulus package. This includes funding for Medicare, teachers and first responders.
- The pause on student loan payments was not extended in this stimulus package. Beginning next month, students will be expected to resume monthly payments on their federal student loans.
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