Congress passed a $900 billion economic relief package Monday night that would give $600 stimulus checks to American adults to help them cope with the Covid-19 pandemic; the checks are half of the $1,200 that most adults received during the initial stimulus package at the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government has not provided any further financial assistance to its citizens until now.
President Donald Trump, however, tweets on Tuesday night that he would not be signing the economic relief package, and then a video in which he urged Congress to increase the stimulus checks.
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 dollars to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple.”
The $600 is obviously not going to be enough for most American households that have been struggling to cope with unemployment, monthly bills, and a lack of security. 6 in 10 Americans have claimed to be financially impacted by the pandemic. The checks will likely begin hitting individuals accounts as early as next week.
Dependent children will now be receiving the same $600 checks that adults receive as well; which is an increase from the $500 checks that children received in the initial relief package. So who is eligible for the package in general?
Single individuals earning up to $75,000 will receive a check for $600 while married couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $1,200; overall this package is half of what Americans received during the first round of stimulus payments. According to the House Appropriations committee, the amount of stimulus payment will decrease by $5 for every $100 of income that is earned above those thresholds.
As previously mentioned an additional $600 will be directed towards every dependent child under the age of 17. Adult dependants, such as older high school students or college students, won’t qualify for checks as it’s expected that they rely on their parents for financial security. A family with two parents and two child dependents could receive up to $2,400.
Couples that include an immigrant without a Green Card will also qualify for the checks, a move that will be important for many families because the first round of stimulus checks didn’t provide payments for households unless all members held legal citizenship. This issue was taken to court, where it was found that denying checks to US citizens based on their spousal or parental relationships to someone who may not have a Green Card, is unconstitutional.
Individuals receiving Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or Veteran benefits will also be receiving the $600 checks; these groups of people were also denied payments during the initial round of stimulus payments.
The stimulus bill also includes an extra $300 a week for individuals on unemployment. This means current jobless Americans will receive their regular state unemployment payments as well as an additional $300 until March 14th, 2021. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program will also be extended; the program covers gig workers and self-employed individuals.
The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will also be extended into March; this program provides additional weeks of jobless aid to individuals who have already utilized all of their regular state unemployment benefits. The Paycheck Protection Program is also being extended by another $282 billion of forgivable loans. Some of that funding is being set aside for small businesses, nonprofits, and local newspaper, TV, and Radio broadcasters.
Another $20 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans is being set aside for businesses in low-income communities, after the government received a ton of backlash for bailing out multi-million dollar corporations in the beginning of the pandemic, and continuing to leave smaller businesses in the dust.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.