(RightWing.org) – Just before midnight on Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed a historic economic stimulus package to help American workers, businesses, and the health care system affected by COVID-19. The $2 trillion economic package was passed by a vote of 96-0. On Twitter, President Trump congratulated America:
96-0 in the United States Senate. Congratulations AMERICA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2020
Leading up to the vote, there was a lot of information — and misinformation — about the proposed deal as the White House, Republicans, and Democrats negotiated the terms. Some of the suggestions came to be while other pieces dropped off, leading to confusion as to what’s really included in the deal. We’re hoping this clears it up for you.
For days, there were stories about student loan forgiveness, mortgage payment deferments, and other stimulus moves that could help Americans. At the last minute, four Republican Senators expressed concerns about additional payments to laid-off workers. The worry is that they’d receive more money not working than they did while employed and choose to stay home.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any help if you were hoping for student loan forgiveness or mortgage payment deferments.
So what’s really in this bill that affects you?
Direct Cash Payments:
- A one-time direct payment of up to $1,200 for individuals. Payments start to phase out with income levels above $75,000. If you made more than $99,000 you will not get a stimulus check.
- A one-time direct payment of up to $2,400 for married couples, who made under $150,000 combined. Payments start to phase out above the $150,000 combined income mark.
- A one-time direct payment of $500 for every dependent child if you meet income thresholds.
- A one-time direct payment of $1,200 if you file your taxes as a head of household. In addition, you’ll get $500 for every dependent child. The main difference here is that instead of a $99,000 income threshold, it increases to $112,000.
- If you filed your 2019 tax return, it’ll be used to determine eligibility. If not, 2018 tax returns will be used.
- If you have not filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return, the IRS will coordinate with the Social Security Administration for those on social security, or other federal agencies you may have had previous contact with such as the Veterans Administration, etc.
- Payments will be made by direct deposit if your information is available to the IRS from previous tax refunds or payments. If not, a check will be mailed, but it will take longer for you to get.
- Payments are authorized to go out immediately but no later than December 31, 2020. The target is about three weeks.
- Unemployment benefits are extended from 26 weeks to 39 weeks.
- $600 per week will be given in addition to regular unemployment payments for up to four months.
Small Business Owners:
- Unemployment benefits were extended to self-employed people and independent contractors.
- $350 billion in loans were created. However, if used on rent, payroll and utilities, the loans used toward those expenses become a grant that does not have to be paid back.
- Small business loans max out at $10 million.
- Student loan payments will be suspended through September 30th. There’s no need to apply for a forbearance or deferment, this suspension is automatic.
The bill now heads to the House where Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has appeared open to its contents. However, she said the package will not be fast-tracked through the House using unanimous consent. Once it’s available, she’s calling for a 24-hour period for House members to review and debate it on the floor.
If the House makes amendments to the bill, it may be sometime next week before negotiations begin with the Senate, which is headed out of town on recess until April 20th unless they’re called back on a 24-hour notice.
Stay tuned… it’s not done until it’s done.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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