On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed a bipartisan $2 trillion economic relief plan in response to the uncertainty and financial panic caused by the coronavirus. The plan, unprecedented in its scope and size, provides assistance to tens of millions of American households most heavily impacted by the pandemic.
With components ranging from stimulus payments, student loan adjustments, and expanded unemployment coverage, it’s important to understand what exactly the stimulus package means for you and your family. Here’s what you need to know.
Who Gets Payments, and How Much Are They?
All single adults with Social Security numbers and an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less receive a stimulus payment of $1,200. This means that married couples earning $150,000 or less receive a total of $2,400. For every child age 16 or under, the payment received increases by $500.
However, above the income levels of $75,000 for a single adult, $150,000 for a married couple, or $112,500 for a head of household, stimulus payments decrease. This means that if you’re a single adult earning $99,000 or more a year, or a married couple with no children earning $198,000 or more a year, you’re not eligible to receive a stimulus check.
The numbers get tricky with children involved, but according to the Senate Finance Committee, a family with two children will not receive a stimulus check with income more than $218,000 a year.
People receiving Social Security retirement, those on Social Security disability, Veterans, U.S. citizens living abroad, and unemployed people are all eligible to receive a stimulus check based on these income and tax filing guidelines.
How and When Will Stimulus Payments Be Sent?
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expects most people to receive payments within the first three weeks of April. You don’t need to apply or sign up to receive a payment; assuming you file your taxes every year, the IRS already has your bank account information on file and will transfer your money using your most recent income tax figures.
If you haven’t filed tax returns recently, this may impact your ability to receive a payment. If possible, file a return immediately, at least for 2018. According to the IRS website, “Those without 2018 tax filings on record could potentially affect mailings of stimulus checks.”
What Unemployment Benefits Are Included in the Stimulus Package?
President Trump’s stimulus package expands the unemployment program to help more people qualify. Any citizen who is unemployed, partly unemployed, or cannot work based on coronavirus-related reasons may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
This includes gig workers, freelancers, independent contractors, self-employed, and part-time workers. The only workers not included in this unemployment package are workers who are able to work from home, those receiving paid sick leave or paid family leave, and young adults who recently entered the workforce and can’t find a job.
The plan aims to give eligible workers 40 to 45 percent of weekly wages, plus an extra $600 per week for a total of 39 weeks – 13 weeks longer than normal.
What About Student Loans?
Even before this bill passed, the federal government had already waived two months of payments and interest for many federal student loan borrowers. Trump’s stimulus bill also suspended all payments for any student loan held by the federal government until September 30th.