What’s in the second coronavirus stimulus package of 2020?

Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing.Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty ImagesImage: Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing.

In a Nutshell

The second coronavirus stimulus package of 2020 has arrived — and not a moment too soon. The $900 billion relief package includes stimulus checks of up to $600 per person, jobless aid, rental assistance and PPP loans to small businesses.
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After months of legislative gridlock, President Donald Trump has signed a second coronavirus stimulus package that will impact households and small businesses suffering from the pandemic.

The roughly $900 billion coronavirus relief package includes direct payments to many Americans, rental assistance, enhanced federal unemployment benefits and funding for an updated Paycheck Protection Program.

The new COVID-19 relief package is attached to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill intended to fund the government through September 2021.

Read on to learn more about some key provisions of this second coronavirus spending package, including what to expect as benefits roll out in the coming weeks.

Direct stimulus payments

The new coronavirus relief package includes a second round of stimulus payments to many Americans.

Individuals with an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 in 2019 will receive $600, as will heads of household with incomes up to $112,500. Married couples filing jointly earning up to $150,000 will get $1,200.

The measure also includes a $600 payment for each child dependent under 17. So, for example, a family of four could receive as much as $2,400, if it meets the income threshold.

The payments, which are structured as tax rebates, decrease by $5 for every $100 of additional income above those thresholds. Payments phase out entirely for individuals earning more than $87,000, heads of household earning over $124,500, and married couples earning over $174,000.

When will I receive my stimulus check?

If you didn’t have a refund directly deposited by the IRS into your bank account in the past two tax years, you’ll likely get a paper check mailed to you. The IRS will send it to the last address it has on file for you, so it’s important to update your address with the IRS if you’ve moved since the last time you filed a tax return.

If for some reason the IRS issues a payment that exceeds what you’re supposed to receive, the government says you don’t have to pay back the excess amount.

How does this stimulus check differ from the previous one?

There are a number of differences between this measure and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which was signed into law in March 2020.

For example, mixed citizen status households will get payments based on the number of eligible people in the household. Married taxpayers filing jointly where only one spouse has a Social Security number — a group that wasn’t eligible for a stimulus check under the CARES act — are now eligible for a payment of $600, in addition to $600 per eligible child.

Enhanced unemployment benefits

The law extends the amount of time that people can collect unemployment benefits by 11 weeks.

How much unemployment insurance am I eligible for?

Everyone who qualifies for unemployment insurance can collect up to $300 a week in supplemental federal unemployment benefits for as many as 11 weeks.

What if I’m self-employed, part-time employed or a gig worker?

The federal extension also pays for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for self-employed, contract and gig workers, who typically haven’t qualified for unemployment insurance.  

Where can I learn more about unemployment relief?

To find out about unemployment relief in your state, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop.

Relief for renters

The measure includes $25 billion in emergency assistance to people who are struggling to remain in a rented home. It also extends a moratorium on renter evictions through Jan. 31, 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously enacted a ban on evictions that was to expire Dec. 31.

Who is eligible for rent relief?

Eligible households are renter households that meet the following criteria:

  • Household income can’t exceed more than 80% of the area’s medium income
  • At least one member of the household must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability
  • One or more household members must qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship — either directly or indirectly — because of the pandemic

Households with lower incomes and with family members who have been unemployed for three months or more will be prioritized for assistance.

How can I apply for and receive rent relief?

To search for emergency rental assistance programs in your area, reach out to your city and county governments. You can also check with your state to see what’s available. Contact information for your state government can be found at usa.gov. To see if you qualify for federal assistance, you can contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency in your state.

Other organizations, like the National Low Income Housing Coalition, offer links to detailed information on rental assistance programs to support individuals and their families.

Relief for small businesses

The bill also includes more than $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal loan program for small businesses created under the CARES Act.

Here are a few of the highlights.

  • The law allows for a second PPP loan of up to $2 million for qualifying borrowers with 300 or fewer employees that had a 25% drop gross receipts from a year earlier in at least one of the first three quarters of 2020.
  • It expands eligibility for local newspapers and radio and TV broadcasters, and allocates $15 billion for qualifying live venues, movie theaters and certain cultural institutions affected by coronavirus restrictions.
  • Businesses that received PPP loans and had them forgiven will also be allowed to deduct the deductible costs covered by those loans on their federal tax returns.

What’s next?

With this second round of pandemic aid, the stimulus deal will bring some measure of relief to millions of Americans. Stimulus checks, enhanced federal unemployment benefits and money for small businesses will provide a needed boost to many.

For more information about government benefits and other types of aid, visit Credit Karma’s coronavirus resource hub.

About the author: Brad Hanson is a senior editor at Credit Karma. His 30 years of experience in print and digital media includes work for the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, Trucks.com and Polyvore. Most recently before… Read more.