On Sunday, December 29, President Trump signed the most recent stimulus package, the $900 billion Covid-19 Relief Bill, into law. This means the 5,593 document will now start to be put in action. As you can imagine, there’s a lot in those pages. Most of it has nothing to do with the stimulus package, so we sorted through it to help put together the things that matter most to all of us. If you would like to take the time to read through the document on your own, you can find the entire documenthere.
Direct Payments - How Much Will I Get?
The piece of this bill most applicable to all of us is the $600 direct payment for each adult in your household, and $600 for each dependent. This means a household of two parents, with two minor children, should expect to receive a one time payment of $2,400. The $600 payment amount will decrease with those earning above $75,000 as an individual, or $150,000 for married couples. If you earned more than $87,000 individually or $174,000 jointly, in 2019, you won’t get a check this time around.
As of the writing of this article, President Trump has pushed back on our lawmakers to increase the direct payment amount to $2,000 per adult, or $4,000 per household. While this would be welcome to most Americans, it’s unlikely congress will be able to get together and make that happen. So don’t make plans to spend all that cash before you get it.
When Will I Get My Direct Payment?
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin outlined a plan that would start direct payments to those registered for electronic payments as early as seven days from the date the bill became law. This means that if you got your first stimulus check via direct deposit, your next payment will likely hit your account as early as January 4, 2021.
If you received a paper check, you can expect your payment to take longer. Mnuchin did say “it will be within three weeks. We are determined to get money in people’s pockets immediately. So that will be within three weeks.” That’s good news for all those that had to wait much longer the first time around to see that money in their pocket.
Unfortunately there’s still about 10.7 million Americans out of work. COVID related shutdowns, illness, layoffs, and furloughs have continued to keep many from returning to work. The COVID Relief Bill will add an additional $300 per week payment to those collecting unemployment. This won’t apply to those who are gig workers (uber, lyft, etc…), or others who wouldn’t usually qualify for unemployment. This additional payment is available through March 14. Contact your local unemployment office for more information.
If you are on unemployment, the bill also extends the amount of time you may claim benefits from the typical 26 weeks, to 50 weeks if needed.
A new part of COVID relief this time around includes $25 billion to assist tenants that are behind on their rent, and pushes the federal eviction prohibition back to January 2021. If you are behind on your rent, work with your landlord to figure out how to get this money. Your landlord can apply for you. There are some requirements. You have to make less than 80% of the median income in your area, have to show someone in your household has lost a job, and demonstrate you are at risk of losing your home.
Help for Schools
We all know how hard COVID has hit our schools. Many of us have young children still attending school in some way. Teachers are overwhelmed. Students aren’t getting the attention they need. It all seems to be an under-spoken tragedy of the pandemic. In an effort to help where money can, this COVID Relief Bill provides $82 billion for public and private K-12 schools, and some colleges. The bulk of that will go to public schools to assist in budget shortfalls taking place across the country. This is a very welcome part of the bill at a time when schools could really use the additional money.
Small Business Help - PPP Round Two
You’re likely very familiar with what’s been called the PPP program. It’s hard to miss the stories of all the people who took government money thorough this program the first time around that probably shouldn’t have, including endless stories of fraud. Congress was conscious of that this time around and put a number of additional requirements in place to try and help those that really need it.
Out of the $900 billion bill, $325 of that is allocated to help small businesses. This includes a second round of PPP loans to companies that can show their gross sales have decreased at least 25% in 2020, compared to 2019. The formula for calculating your PPP loan amount is the same as the first time around, unless you’re in the accommodation or food services industries. Other general guidelines provide that a company must have fewer than 300 employees, and loans are capped to $2 million. Check outthis article on WSJ.com for more information.
There’s a lot of other things in this bill. Just like every other legislation passed, there’s a lot of things that have nothing to do with COVID at all. We don’t sponsor, or encourage one way or another, any of the items in the bill. Other than the parts above, there’s not much else that likely makes a difference to most Americans. We don’t intend this list to be an exhaustive resource for everything that is in the bill either. We encourage you to look at the bill for yourself, which you can findhere. If you have any questions, feel free to ask below and we’ll do our best to help!