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5 keys to the new financial aid package

5 keys to the new financial aid package

The bipartisan plan includes pandemic funding, support for schools, among others. Funds for businesses, direct aid to families, unemployment insurance bonus, funding for schools and childcare facilities, aid for food programs, among other benefits includes the economic stimulus plan signed by President Donald Trump.

The president’s decision occurred a few hours before the end of the aid programs for the coronavirus pandemic, such as the bonus for the unemployed, but he left on the table his demand to increase direct aid to Americans to $2,000, which will only be – for now – $600 per person, plus $600 per child.

The $900 billion plan falls far short of the two $3.4 billion and $2.2 billion bills passed by Democrats in the House, but it is the largest package since the CARES Act, signed into law last March.

The negotiations took more than six months, stopped shortly before the November 3 elections and were resumed with the bipartisan project. The big losers are the state and local governments, to whom no resources will be sent.

The good news is that nearly two million Americans married to undocumented immigrants will be able to receive the aid, plus an amendment to the CARES Act will allow them to claim in 2021 the $1,200 they were not granted this year.

The law provides funding for several programs:

1. Resources

The law provides $20 billion for the purchase of vaccines and $8 billion for their distribution. Democrats pushed for additional resources for more testing and case tracking, as well as resources for hospitals and medical providers.

This will provide states with $20 billion for testing, in addition to $3 billion in an existing fund – estimated at $175 billion – for hospitals and medical providers.

2. Aid per person

The law will allow for the sending of a check or card or direct deposit of $600 to each person. The amount is double for each couple filing jointly.

Eligible families will receive an additional $600 per child, which is $100 more than the CARES Act.

Individuals with incomes under $75,000 per year will receive the full amount, but the amount will decrease as income increases. Those earning more than $99,000 a year will not receive funds.

Those who filed their 2019 tax returns or sent their updated bank account information to the IRS will automatically receive the money.

3. Unemployment Bonus

Negotiations in Congress resulted in a $300 bonus for workers who apply for unemployment insurance. This is $300 less than the CARES Act. Beneficiaries will be able to receive the aid weekly until March 14, 2021, but the bad news is that the unemployed will receive 10 weeks of aid, not 11, because President Trump was late in signing the bill.

Other aid to the unemployed includes self-employed and independent contractors for up to 39 weeks, in addition to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. The plan includes $100 per week federally funded for those who do not qualify for unemployment assistance.

The United States has more than 14 million people who have temporarily lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

4. Supporting small businesses

The new law allows small businesses to reapply to the Paycheck Protection Program, i.e., funds earmarked for payroll.

Second loans will be limited to companies with fewer than 300 employees that face declines in revenue of at least 25% of their income during the first, second or third quarter of 2020.

The loan amount is lower, now $2 million, but will give companies more flexibility on how to use the funds.

Local newspapers and civil organizations will also be able to apply for a $12 billion fund.

5. Schools, rent and food

The plan contains $82 billion for schools and colleges, plus $10 billion for child care providers.

Protection from eviction extends through January 31, with a grant of up to $25 billion for those who have lost their jobs and need to pay rent or housing. This program is in addition to the state’s.

People who apply for food stamps will receive an additional 15 percent of the resources, plus the Pandemic-EBT program is extended to families with children under 6 who receive food stamps.

The funds also provide $400 million to food banks through the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

Although President Trump signed this bill, the House was expected to pass the extension to $2,000 in direct per capita financial assistance on Monday, a proposal that must have consensus in the Senate.

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