Congress set to pass new Coronavirus relief package; don’t spend your $600 all in one place

With so many Americans struggling with job loss and the ability to put food on their table and keep a roof over their head because of the deadly and devastating Coronavirus, Congress has finally agreed on a relief package that includes direct cash payments of $600 to those who qualify.

So, what’s in the bill?

  • Direct payments of $600, half the amount of  what the first round of checks that went out in the spring included.
  • People below a certain income level, yet to be determined, will receive their stimulus checks first.
  • Eligible families with children will receive an additional $600 per child, a $100 more than the original round of stimulus contained.
  • Enhanced unemployment benefits of an additional $300 a week will continue for another eleven weeks. This amount is also half of what the original stimulus package contained.
  • Jobless benefits will continue for gig workers, freelancers, independent contractors, the self-employed and certain people affected by the coronavirus. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program provides an additional 13 weeks of payments to those who exhaust their regular state benefits.
  • Both programs will close to new applicants in mid-March and then phase out in early April for existing claimants unless Congress can reach another deal.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program will reopen and will set aside $12 billion for minority-owned and very small businesses.
  • The bill contains $15 billion for live venues, independent movie theaters, cultural institutions, nonprofits, and local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters.
  • $82 billion in aid for K-12 schools and colleges as well as $10 billion in aid to support child care providers.
  • Moratoriums on evictions will continue until January 31. (Whoopy!)
  • SNAP benefits will increase by 15% for six months but eligibility requirements will not expand.
  • $400 million will go to food banks and food pantries through The Emergency Food Assistance Program.
  • $175 million will go for nutrition services for seniors, such as Meals on Wheels, and $13 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which serves more than 700,000 older Americans monthly.
  • $20 billion for the purchase of vaccines to be administered at no charge for individuals who qualify and $8 billion for vaccine distribution.
  • $20 billion to states for testing.

What’s not in the bill?

  • Aid for states and local governments.
  • However, the bill provides emergency resources for schools and $27 billion for state highways, struggling transit agencies, Amtrak and airports, and $22 billion for health-related expenses of state, local, tribal and territorial government.
  • $2 billion to support intercity buses.

Both Chambers of Congress will vote on the package today and send it Trump for his signature.


Who qualifies for this whopping $600 in Trumpchange?

Americans who earned less than $75,000 in 2019 will qualify for the $600 check. The benefit amount is reduced for those who earned more than $75,000 in 2019, while people who earned more than $99,000 in 2019 will not qualify.

Children are also eligible for the $600 stimulus check, which is more than the $500 they received earlier this year, meaning a family of four could receive $2,400, for example. However, adult dependents are not expected to qualify for the stimulus checks.

Additionally, there is no limit on the amount of money that a single household could receive.

Families that include a parent who is not a U.S. citizen would qualify, though undocumented immigrants themselves would not.

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