Without congressional agreement on new stimulus support, programs will disappear on the last day of the year. The programs created by the CARES Act signed in March that included a $1,200 stimulus check and the $600 unemployment bonus will expire on December 31 unless another stimulus bill is passed by Congress.
While some states continue the vote count, the numbers give the advantage to Joe Biden, who will become the 46th president of the United States. One of the first challenges that the new federal administration will face will be getting more money to boost the U.S. economy.
The CARES Act established a number of programs that helped Americans affected by the pandemic. In August, President Donald Trump added more resources by signing four executive actions after the provisions of the CARES Act were exhausted. These programs will expire on December 31.
Both policymakers and economic experts agree that more aid programs are needed to overcome the crisis, yet policymakers have different approaches that have prevented the creation of a new aid plan.
Until the new aid arrives, now that the Senate is in session, these are the key programs that are about to end at the end of the year:
1. Eviction protection for tenants and landlords
The CARES Act provided limited eviction protection, focusing only on homes backed by a federal mortgage loan or homes receiving some form of federal funding.
The protections were expanded in September by the Centers for Disease Control, which called for a halt to evictions for nonpayment of rent. This agency order covered more than 43 million households but also has an expiration date of December 31.
2. Deferments of federal student loans
Students who are repaying federal student loans also received a deferment under the CARES Act that gave them the option to defer their loan payments by putting a break in interest accrual until the end of September 2020.
In August, Trump extended the deferment until December 31. On January 1, loan servicers will be able to charge interest on these loans again and students will have to repay them unless servicers offer deferment options.
3. Increased Unemployment Benefits
States are responsible for receiving applications for unemployment insurance and determining whether a person is eligible, how much money they will receive, and how long they can receive the assistance.
The CARES Act extended the duration of benefits from 26 to 39 weeks. As of January 1, 2021, those additional 13 weeks provided by the federal government will disappear. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has reported that several states have ended their benefits.
4. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, also known as PUA, provided economic relief to those who would not normally qualify for unemployment such as the self-employed, contractors and entertainment industry workers.
The PUA is scheduled to end on December 31. If the federal government does not extend it, it will be up to the states to determine whether it continues.
5. $300 weekly unemployment check
The average weekly unemployment benefit is usually between $300 and $600. To help fill the gap, the CARES Act added a weekly bonus of $600.
When that bonus expired on July 31, Trump signed an executive memorandum that paved the way for a smaller weekly bonus of $300 over a six-week period with the expectation that Congress would pass another aid package.
Most states have exhausted the six weeks of support. The $300 bonus provision will end on December 27.