Relief checks from the most recent federal coronavirus aid bill are finally starting to appear in families’ bank accounts and mailboxes.
Just before the end of the year and the scheduled end of unemployment benefits for millions of workers who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government passed a long-overdue relief package. Millions of people across the country, including ParentsTogether members, pushed hard for months to demand Congress act to help those in need. While many legislators, advocates, and families agree that the stimulus package does not go far enough, there are several key benefits for families in the new relief bill.
- Direct stimulus payments: If your family filed a tax return in 2019, or used the non-filer tool to receive your first stimulus payment, you will receive a direct deposit or check from the IRS. The amount is determined by a sliding scale based on your 2019 filing status. The maximum payment for each person (including kids) is $600, which means a family of four could receive as much as $2,400. If you had a new baby in 2020, you could also be entitled to as much as $1,100 on behalf of that child. If you didn’t file taxes or use the non-filer tool during the first round of payments, you’ll receive this additional deposit when you file your 2020 taxes. You can check on the status of your payment here.
- Unemployment benefits: Folks already receiving unemployment benefits will receive an additional $300 per week through March 14, 2021. In order to file for unemployment, follow this link and enter your state to be directed to your local unemployment office website.
- Housing relief and protections: State and local governments will receive $25 billion to make available to low-income or unemployed community members for assistance with their rent, mortgage, or utilities. The eviction moratorium is also extended through January 31, 2021. For rental assistance, visit here and see what programs are available in your area. For help with other home expenses, check out your local 211.
- Support for small businesses: Eligible businesses and independent contractors will be allowed to take out an additional loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is extended through March 31, 2021. The relief bill also streamlines the loan forgiveness process for PPP loans under $150,000. To apply for a PPP loan, go to this website.
As so many families across the country struggle to make ends meet, the incoming Biden Administration has described the stimulus package as a ‘down payment’ with more relief to come.
For families in need of more immediate assistance, check out this article to see what other options you may have for assistance.