The COVID-19 relief bill awaiting President Biden’s signature is aimed at defeating the raging pandemic and jump-starting the American economy. A slew of measures has been put forth over and above the stimulus check. The legislation will send much more than the $1,400 stimulus checks to most American households. It will extend unemployment insurance, support small businesses and schools and allocate billions of dollars towards fighting the coronavirus.
Measures Other Than The Direct Stimulus Check
The unemployed will be guaranteed $300 through September 6. This is above the benefits already enjoyed through the state unemployment insurance scheme. The initial $10,200 in benefits that have accrued in the previous year would not be taxed for households whose income is below $150,000.
Further, there are provisions of total subsidy under the Consolidated Budget Reconciliation Act. This health insurance program allows eligible employees and their dependents continued benefits even when they lose their job totally or partially. This is applicable till the end of September.
The Third Stimulus Check: The Main Provision Of The COVID-19 Relief Bill
The primary provision is the disbursement of $1,400 to individuals that double married couples and an additional $1,400 for every dependent. This payout would be subject to the individual earning less than $75,000 and married couples below $150,000. A complete phase-out has been done at $80,000 and $160,000. The amount to be paid will shrink for every dollar above the cut-off incomes.
Most individuals and families will get the total amount, as the median income in 2019 was a modest $68,703 as per government records. The president has assured Americans that payments will be sent out by the end of this month.
Amount Set Aside For Local And State Governments
$350 Billion has been set aside for local, tribal, and state governments to manage costs that they have incurred up to 2024. The COVID-19 Relief Bill also guarantees small states the amount that they received as part of virus legislation passed by Congress in March 2020.
The COVID-19 Relief Bill Provides Relief For School
The bill has earmarked around $130 billion as additional aid to K-12schools through the 12th grade. This amount will help decrease the size of schools and change the classrooms to help students and teachers maintain social distance. Better ventilation will be ensured, and personal protective equipment purchased. The money will further be spent to hire nurses, janitors, and counselors. The money will also be provided to run a summer school.
Around $40 billion will be set aside for colleges. The money will go towards the expenses related to the pandemic. It will also cover emergency expenses for students providing them food, housing, and help in the purchase of computer equipment.
An additional $39 billion is for child support. A crisis fund set up for this purpose will help to pay for supplies, staffing, and rent. A block grant program will also help subsidize the expenses of child-care faced by families with low-income.
The COVID-19 Relief Bill has also set aside $1.25 billion for summer enrichment, the same amount for after-school programs, and around $3 billion for acquiring education technology.
The COVID-19 Relief Bill And What It Means For Small Businesses
Small businesses are set to get relief as part of this fund. Bars and restaurants on the verge of closure as a result of the pandemic are set to receive around $28.6 billion. Each deserving company may receive $10 million in grants limited to $5 million to each location. This grant will be utilized to pay for utilities, rent, salary and wages, and miscellaneous operating costs. The bill extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit for start-ups and other businesses severely affected by the pandemic.
A further $7.25 B has been allocated towards the Paycheck Protection Program. More nonprofits can now go for loans to help them pay their salaries and cover their operation costs. This grant may be waived.
Health Care Under The COVID-19 Relief Bill
Health care has been a longstanding democratic area of focus. One area has been increasing the coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act that started under Obama. This COVID-19 Relief Bill addresses health care costs and insurance coverage, and also preventive care. Additional financial assistance would be provided for ACA premiums.
Even a relatively well-off middle class would come under its ambit. Though the measures are temporary and set to end by end 2022, it promises to drag down health insurance costs and bring more people under the scope of universal health coverage. The measures are also set to entice the southern state that has not yet opted for the Medicaid scheme. How effective it is in wearing down Republican resistance to the scheme is not clear.
$3 billion has also been allocated for mental health issues and drug abuse. The department of Veterans Affairs will get a grant of $14 billion.
COVID-19 Relief Bill To Provide Tax-Breaks For Households Of All Age Groups.
The tax break provided to reduce the federal income tax expenses was $2,000. It has now been increased substantially to $3,600 for children aged 6 and below. For children above 7 till the age of 17, the figure is slightly lower at $3,000. The legislation has also specified that the payments be made monthly and not at a go. If paying out monthly is not feasible, the frequency of the payment is to be increased.
Irrespective of how much money families earn yearly, they are set to get full credit. This is in addition to the stimulus check and a host of other supportive measures initiated by the government. The Center on Poverty and Social Policy, Columbia University, has said that the measures if properly implemented, would be of assistance for children living below the poverty line.
The earned income tax credit has also been expanded to include people with no children. It could be worth $543 for low-income adults and $1,502 for adults with moderate-income.
COVID-19 Relief Bill To Support Homeowner And Pay Rentals
A total of $510 million has been provided for FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program. This amount will help support the providers of homeless services for night shelters, meals, utility payment, and rent and mortgage assistance. The COVID-19 relief bill will provide $30 billion for households with low-income and struggling to pay their rentals.
The fund would also be utilized to lend a hand to the homeless. The states and the tribes would get an additional $10 billion to help out homeowners who are finding it difficult to pay their mortgage payment and additional housing expenses as a result of the raging pandemic.