Next stimulus plan: the benefits of the HEALS Act go beyond another payment

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Proposals under consideration in Washington could provide financial support during the pandemic. Angela Lang / CNET

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For many, a new stimulus payment of up to $ 1200 is the star of the next economic bailout currently being debated in Washington. But there are many more provisions in the bill, besides one more check, that will directly and indirectly affect millions of Americans.

Lawmakers do not appear to be coming close to a deal, with the state increased unemployment assistance the main point of friction. the HEALS Law of the Senate suggests reducing the weekly benefit from $ 600 to $ 200 per week first, then adjusting it to a percentage based on your previous salary. Democrats consider that number dangerously low to keep Americans through the recession continues.

Here are the main benefits that could be part of a final bill, and their likelihood of adoption under current circumstances. This story is updated frequently.

Stimulus Test Two: Designed to Boost Spending

What it is: A payment sent to eligible persons and families, depending on annual income, age, number of dependents and other factors. the first stimulus checks authorized under the CARES Act have been sent to more than 160 million Americans – in the form of checks, prepaid credit cards or direct deposit. But not without a hitch and after three months some are still waiting for their stimulus payment.

How could it help you: The payment is not taxable and you can use it however you like to pay for food, accommodation, clothing, etc. The idea is that spending the checks will help the economy recover faster.

Why we think a second check will pass: The CARES Act allowed payments of up to $ 1,200 per eligible adult, as did the HEALS Act. The House of Representatives’ HEROES Act, meanwhile, called for $ 1,200 stimulus checks, but for more people. The White House is also backing another round of checks, which likely makes it part of the final bill.

The HEALS Act proposes to give eligible Americans the stimulus check of the same size as the one issued in March.

James Martin / CNET

More unemployment benefits for unemployed Americans

What it is: A additional weekly check for people who applied for unemployment for the first time or who were already receiving unemployment. The program initially granted by the CARES Act provided for an additional $ 600 per week and expired Saturday, but lawmakers are now considering another surge in unemployment.

How it might help you: An extra weekly payment on top of regular unemployment benefit gives individuals and families a head start and cutting or reducing it could be devastating both for the unemployed and for the economy.

Why we think this might happen: Republicans support the extension, but at a reduced rate, saying $ 600 a week is too generous. “We learned what we knew at the time,” Senator Chuck Grassley said Monday, “that when you pay people more not to work than they would work, what do you expect? People will not work. And what this country needs. it’s more workers. ”

Democrats support an extension at the current rate of $ 600 and balk at the Senate proposal, which would extend benefits based on 70% to 75% of lost wages, starting at $ 200 per week and over time increasing to $ 500 per week, with state aid. In the absence of an agreement on a second larger package and expiring benefits, both parties can decide on a short term extension of the benefits while clarifying the details of the invoice.

Payroll Protection Program to Help Businesses Retain Employees

What it is: Designed to help you keep your job, the Paycheck Protection Program offers small business forgivable loans to keep employees on the payroll.

How it might help you: The program is designed to fund employed workers who would otherwise have lost their jobs during the pandemic. The program got off to a rocky start and it is uncertain whether the PPP achieved the goals set by Congress.

“Overall, PPP didn’t keep many paychecks,” wrote Joshua Gotbaum, visiting scholar in economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “An in-depth study found that small businesses eligible for PPP lay people off just as quickly as other businesses,” he said.

Why we think this might be extended: The Republican proposal will target the hardest-hit small businesses, Senator Susan Collins of Maine said during the bill’s rollout, including those with revenue losses of 50% or more from last year.

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A tax credit would help you pay.

Angela Lang / CNET

Employee retention tax credit would help pay workers

What it is: Under this program, an employer can receive refundable tax credits for wages paid to an employee during the pandemic. The employer can then use the credits to subtract – and even receive a refund – from the taxes they owe.

How it might help you: Again, this is not a direct payment for you, but the program encourages companies to keep workers on the payroll.

Why we think this might happen: Grassley said the HEALS Act includes additional tax relief for companies that hire and rehire workers and that the Democrat-backed HEROES Act also builds on tax credits that were part of the original CARES Act. And there is additional bipartisan support as well.


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Back to work payment up to $ 450 per week

What it is: A temporary weekly bonus for unemployed people who get a new job or are rehired, in addition to their salary. As proposed by Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, the bonus would be $ 450 per week.

How it might help you: Under Portman’s plan, the weekly bonus would go to laid-off workers who return to work.

Why we think this may not happen: The White House in May expressed interest in the bonus and Portman continues to support the idea, but that is not part of the proposal that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans tabled on Monday.

Rental aid to help keep people in their homes

What it is: This plan would help tenants pay rent and help landlords spend with less rent, especially as the United States faces potential ” tsunami d’expulsions.  »

How it might help you: The Rental Assistance Program would temporarily help you pay rent if you qualify, stay evictions for a year, and cover costs for rental property owners due to insufficient rental payments. Current protections have lapsed.

Why we think this might happen: House Democrats have included a moratorium on evictions in their HEROES bill. It was not part of the Senate proposal, but President Donald Trump said this week that eviction safeguards will be part of the package.

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The payroll tax cuts may not make the cut in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill, currently known as the CARES 2 law.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Lower payroll taxes to give you more take-home pay

What it is: Trump pushed for months to include temporary payroll tax cuts in the next stimulus package. The proposal could include a reduction in both employer and employee payroll taxes.

How it might help you: If you have a job, reducing payroll taxes would allow you to keep more of your income with every check. The plan would not help those who are unemployed and do not receive a paycheck. As of July 4, the approximately 32 million people who applied for unemployment insurance would not benefit.

Why we don’t think this will happen: Neither the HEROES Act nor the current Senate plan provides for a reduction in payroll taxes. Even the president seems to have abandoned the plan.

Until we know for sure what the finalized stimulus bill will bring, there are resources to help you get through the financial crisis, including coronavirus hardship loans and unemployment insurance; what you can do if you’ve lost your job; what to know about evictions and late car payments; comment take control of your budget; and if you could receive two IRS rebate checks.

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