Americans from all over the nation wonder when a new stimulus bill will be approved, as there are five unemployment programs set to expire at the end of this year. Now that former Vice President Joe Biden is projected to be the winner of the 2020 presidential election, many are refocusing on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the financial challenges it has brought. The first stimulus bill, the CARES ACT, provided direct stimulus payments and unemployment support for a period of time. Still, most of the assistance has either already run out or is going to run out.
In May, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives wrote and passed the HEROES act, which the Republican-controlled Senate was averse to due to its price tag. The Senate then drafted its own bill, the HEALS Act, which Democrat leaders felt did not provide enough financial support to American citizens. The White House engaged in negotiations as well, but again, no resolution was reached. Now, with the likelihood of a Biden administration coming in January, concerns are rising about unemployment benefits that will expire on Dec. 31. Scroll down to read more about the programs, as first reported by CNET.
Enhanced Unemployment Benefits (13 Weeks)
Each state is responsible for managing its own unemployment insurance claims, which includes determining if a person is eligible for benefits, as well as how much they can receive and how long they are eligible to collect. Even though the timeframe varies from state to state, the CARES Act provided an extension of those benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks. That additional 13 weeks of benefits are up on Jan 1. Notably, some states have chosen to increase the length on their own, but others — such as Alabama, Arkansas and Utah — have taken no action, which may lead to unemployed citizens with no assistance.prevnext
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, also known as PUA, is another initiative that was organized through the CARES Act. The PUA has provided financial-related assistance to individuals who normally might not qualify for unemployment. This includes self-employed workers, contractors and gig workers. The PUA is currently set to end Dec. 31.prevnext
$300 Unemployment Benefits
The CARES Act provided an extra $600 worth of unemployment money per week, but when that expired on July 31 President Trump signed an executive order to have the federally provided benefit continue. However, the amount decreased to $300. The hope, at the time, was that Congress would soon approve and pass a new bill. This has not yet happened, and now the additional funding is set to end on Dec. 27.prevnext
Another important element of the CARES Act is protections from evictions for renters and homes backed by federal mortgage loans. These protections were previously extended, in September, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The department called for a halt on evictions for failure to pay rent, so as to help better contain the spread of COVID-19. This provision will expire at the end of December and affects 43 million households.prevnext
Student Loan Deferrals
Finally, the last stimulus program that will end come Jan. 1 is student loan deferrals. The CARES Act provided an option for recipients of student loans to pause their payments without them accruing any interest. That ended in September, but Trump extended it until the end of the year. Beginning Jan. 1, loan servicers will be allowed to start charging interest again.prevnext
When Will A New Stimulus Bill Be Approved?
At this time, there is no word in when a new stimulus bill might happen. Negotiations from August through October never ended in an agreement, and with the election now being contested by the Trump campaign — on the basis of unfounded voter fraud claims — there is no word on how high a stimulus bill is for the outgoing administration. Ultimately, both the House and Congress will have to approve the bill by vote, before it could go to the President to sign.prevnext
Biden's Stimulus Proposal
While there is no way of knowing what may happen before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20, the incoming administration does have a stimulus plan mostly laid out. At this time, we know that it will include another round of stimulus checks, though there is no word on what the amount may be. It is also reported that unemployment benefits will be reinstated, and student loan debt forgiveness may happen.prev