Less federal aid comes as Americans enter third year of pandemic
Congress passed three major Covid-19 relief programs in 2020 and 2021, authorizing approximately $ 5.7 trillion in federal spending. Most of that money has already been spent.
Federal aid already expired
Stimulation controls: Low- and middle-income households have received an estimated $ 817 billion in federal stimulus payments sent directly to their homes or to their bank accounts since March 2020. The money has come in three rounds, the last of which was sent in the spring. 2021.
Each round had slightly different qualifying parameters, but lawmakers purposely did not impose too many limitations on checks in order to withdraw the money as quickly as possible. Americans with the lowest incomes got the full amount, and the value gradually faded for those who earned more.
The first round of payments was worth up to $ 1,200 per person, the second round was worth up to $ 600 per person, and the third round of payments has been valued up to $ 1,400.
In addition to providing additional weekly payments, Congress had extended unemployment benefits to concert workers, freelancers, independent contractors, self-employed workers and some people affected by the coronavirus. It also extended the duration of payments for those who had exhausted their regular state benefits.
Monthly payments of the enhanced child tax credit: Qualifying families received a total of nearly $ 93 billion in monthly payments this year under the enhanced child tax credit. But the last payments were distributed on December 15.
The extension, which is only effective for 2021, was part of the American Rescue Plan Act. Biden and lawmakers were hoping to extend it for a year in the Build Back Better package.
Parents received up to $ 300 for each child up to age 6 and $ 250 for each age 6 to 17 on a monthly basis between July and December, which was half of the improved credit. Families will receive the other half when they file their 2021 tax returns next season.
In total, the extended credit offers up to $ 3,600 for each younger child and up to $ 3,000 for each older child.
Additionally, more low-income parents have become eligible for the full amount because lawmakers have made it fully refundable. It had only been partially repayable, leaving more than 26 million children unable to obtain full credit because their families’ incomes were too low, according to Treasury Department estimates.
Money for small businesses: Three major federal small business assistance programs are no longer accepting new applications. The Paycheck Protection Program, which provided nearly $ 800 billion in forgivable loans, ran out of money in May.
Distressed small businesses can apply for loans through the Small Business Administration’s Economic Disaster Loan program until December 31.
Federal assistance always available
Student loan relief: Those with federal student loans have not had to make any payments since March 2020. Meanwhile, interest has stopped accumulating and collections on overdue debts have been suspended. Borrowers’ balances were effectively frozen if they chose not to continue making payments.
The break on payments has been extended several times. Payments are now expected to resume on May 1.
Rental assistance: Congress has authorized $ 47 billion for emergency rental assistance over the past year, and more than half of those funds remain available.
Households are eligible for the cash if they have experienced financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, have incomes equal to or less than 80% of their region’s median income, can demonstrate a risk of homelessness, or are already eligible unemployment benefits.
A federal moratorium on evictions expired in August after being in place for almost a year. Evictions have increased since then, but remain well below the historic average before the pandemic, according to The Eviction Lab at Princeton University.
Health care subsidies: Americans can still access generous federal grants to purchase Affordable Care Act policies for 2022.
The stepped up grants, which are only in place for this year and next, aim to address long-standing complaints that Obamacare plans are not affordable for many people, especially the middle class.
Enrollers pay no more than 8.5% of their income for coverage, compared to almost 10%. And low-income policyholders and the unemployed receive subsidies that essentially eliminate their premiums.
In addition, those earning more than 400% of the federal poverty line are now eligible for the first time.