What the new recovery law changes
With all the recent talk of the new year-end coronavirus relief package, you’d be forgiven for losing sight of what was at stake if the legislation hadn’t become law.
Key points to remember
- On December 31, 2020, several key coronavirus programs were set to expire.
- However, President Biden’s US bailout has extended or expanded many Covid-19 relief programs.
- If you are unemployed or in danger of eviction, this applies to you.
- If you are unable to pay student loans, Covid-19 emergency relief flexibilities have been extended until at least September 30, 2021.
- Legislation addressing most of these expiries – as well as funding for additional programs – was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021.
As of December 31, 2020, programs that provide the following COVID-related relief were scheduled to end:
- The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Benefit program, which provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits to people who exhaust their state benefits
- The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits to gig workers, freelancers, self-employed
- A national eviction moratorium for tenants and landlords
- Forbearance on Federal Student Loans
- Penalty-free early withdrawals from 401(k)s, IRAs, and other eligible retirement amounts (up to $100,000 and with valid reason)
However, legislation addressing most of those expiries — as well as funding for additional programs — was signed into law by former President Trump on Dec. 27. Then, on March 11, 2021, President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the US Bailout. The U.S. bailout has provided many Americans with another round of stimulus checks, extended improved unemployment benefits, increased some tax credits, and dramatically increased health care subsidies, especially for low-income Americans. and middle class. The US bailout expands and expands on many of the original Covid relief measures. Here is an abbreviated list of some of these measures:
- Stimulus payments of $1,400 for a single person or $2,800 for a married couple filing jointly. (Individuals earning up to $75,000 receive full payments, as do married couples with incomes up to $150,000.)
- The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which provides relief to self-employed, temporary and gig workers, is extended through September 6, 2021.
- The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond the typical 26 weeks states provide to unemployed workers, is extended through September 6, 2021.
- The package also includes a temporary increase to the child tax credit for 2021. (The credit would start phasing out for those earning more than $75,000 a year, or $150,000 for those who are married and filing jointly. )
- In February, the president extended the ban on foreclosures until June and allowed homeowners to enroll in mortgage forbearance programs until then.
- Additionally, in January, the Department of Education extended the pause on federal student loan payments and collections until the end of September 2021.
What’s at stake
Here is a brief description of the programs that were set to expire and the new measures, passed by President Biden, that extended and/or expanded the original relief programs.
Extended weeks of unemployment benefits
The CARES Act extended the number of weeks of unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks, in most cases.Inasmuch asInasmuch as
BLS statistics also indicate that about 3.9 million of the 10.7 million unemployed in the United States are long-term unemployed, having been out of work for 27 weeks or more.Inasmuch asInasmuch as
The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond the typical 26 weeks states provide to unemployed workers, has been extended through September 6, 2021.Inasmuch asInasmuch as
Unemployment benefits for the self-employed
Another CARES Act initiative called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) The program offered unemployment benefits to categories of workers not normally eligible, namely gig workers, the self-employed and contractors.Inasmuch asInasmuch as
According to the BLS, in November 2019 the unemployment rate for the self-employed was just 2.1%. In November 2020, the rate is 5.9%.Inasmuch asInasmuch as
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which provides relief to self-employed, temporary and gig workers, is extended through September 6, 2021.Inasmuch asInasmuch as
Moratorium on evictions
Previous legislation under the CARES Act provided limited protection against evictions from homes secured by federal mortgages, those receiving some type of federal funding, and renters from homes secured by federal mortgages.Inasmuch asInasmuch as
the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) expanded those protections to cover virtually all renters, in September.Inasmuch asInasmuch as
On March 29, 2021, the CDC extended the federal moratorium until June 2021.Inasmuch asThe $1.9 trillion US bailout that was signed into law in early March did not include an extension of the eviction moratorium.
30 to 40 million
The number of people at risk of being deported to the United States if protections were to expire on December 31, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).
Student Loan Deferral
Finally, the CARES Act provided a reprieve for students repaying federal student loans by deferring payments on those loans until September 2020, suspending all interest owed on those loans, and allowing loan defaults to begin. like payments for certain programs that require it. .Inasmuch asInasmuch as
In August, President Trump extended the adjournment until December 31, 2020. On December 4, 2020, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced an extension of the withholding until January 31, 2021. Then, in January , the Department of Education has extended the pause on federal student loan payments and collections until the end of September 2021.Inasmuch asInasmuch asInasmuch asInasmuch asInasmuch asInasmuch as