Congress has agreed on a stimulus package, which we expect to pass today (December 21, 2020). Several items could directly affect you, so I want to highlight them here.
As we have seen with this legislation: changes happen. So the exact details will likely take a few days to settle. This email outlines what we expect in five big areas.
- Direct stimulus payments
- Extended unemployment insurance
- Small business loans
- Rental Assistance
- Vaccine Funding
I go through each of these below.
Direct Stimulus Payments
The new law will provide a second direct payment. The amount will be $600 for any individual who earned less than $75,000 in 2019, or $150,000 as a married couple. ]Eligible families will also receive $600 per child.
In the first stimulus, the payment phased to zero as income increased, which resulted in partial payments. We don’t know yet if the IRS will use the same phasing out of benefits or how this will work.
Payments should come automatically as they did last time, and there is a strong push to get the payments out quickly. If you do not receive a payment you are entitled to, you will be able to claim the amount in your annual tax filings.
There is no action for you to take to receive these payments.
Extended Unemployment Insurance
Unemployed individuals will receive a $300 weekly federal bump to their benefits for 11 weeks, from the end of December through mid-March. This is half of what was in the CARES package but is otherwise the same.
Also, the law extends the pandemic unemployment programs that the CARES act created. Therefore, the benefits will continue to apply to “gig” workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals. The federal 13-week extension of payments to those who exhaust state benefits will continue through March/April.
We expect this to be made available through state unemployment offices, just like earlier this year. If you qualify, apply for unemployment through your state office.
Small Business Loans
The bill reopens the paycheck protection program and provides $284 billion in funding for businesses to apply for a first or second PPP loan.
However, different from the first loan, this round will require that you show a decrease in business due to COVID.
We expect the cutoff to be a 30% decrease in revenue in one 2020 quarter compared to the same quarter in 2019.
Eligibility will expand to include nonprofit organizations, local newspapers, broadcasters, and $15 billion for performance venues, independent movie theaters, and other cultural institutions.
We believe that the applications will go through your bank. If you plan to apply, then review your books for a 30% decline in revenue.
The bill extends the eviction protection program. This was set to expire at the end of the year, and the bill extends it to January 31. It also provides $25 billion in rental assistance to those who lost their income source during the pandemic.
Though there is little to do here, I thought this fits into the “good to know category,” just given the importance of vaccines. The bill provides $20 billion for the vaccines for those who need it, $8 billion for vaccine distribution, and $20 billion in funding for tests.