This past weekend marked the end of some major benefits created to ease the financial strain on Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. Below is a breakdown of the benefits we bid farewell to – along with what’s being proposed to replace them as Congress announces a new stimulus package today.
Enhanced Unemployment Benefits Ends
This weekend saw the end of the extra $600 in unemployment for out of work Americans.
It’s rumored that $400 per month in extra unemployment relief would possibly go into effect through December. However, disagreements on how to cut the emergency unemployment assistance is delaying proceedings for the next bill.
Throughout the pandemic, the $600 weekly boost to unemployment benefits was a financial lifeline for out of work Americans. However, many business owners, finding it hard to hire employees since, blame the generous $600 for incentivizing many to stay out of work.
“We’re not going to continue [enhanced unemployment] in its current form because we’re not going to pay people more money to stay at home than work,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “But we want to make sure that the people that are out there that can’t find jobs do get a reasonable wage replacement.”
No More Tax Extensions for 2020
The original deadline to file your taxes was April 15, but due to coronavirus, it was extended to July 15. Now, while there were discussions of a possible second extension, it was never passed. If you didn’t file your taxes or an extension by July 15 and you owe money, you’ll be charged interest, along with a $300 penalty.
Federal Evictions End July 25
This protected Americans who were unable to pay their rent from being evicted from their homes for 120 days.
These protections ended on July 25. On this date, landlords can begin sending eviction notices. Now, landlords are required to give the residents a 30-day notice to vacate prior to eviction. There’s concern that people who won’t be able to pay their rent and are evicted could contribute to a rise in the number of homeless families across the country.
Next Stimulus Bill: Benefits You Can Expect
An extra direct deposit or check in the mail isn’t the only benefit you may see as part of the new stimulus package. Here now, are other leading proposals being considered in Washington. Time will tell if they get passed but for now, here’s what’s on the table.
Payroll Protection Program
Intended to help you keep your job, the Paycheck Protection Program provides forgivable loans to small businesses as an incentive to keep employees on the payroll. Not a stimulus check, the program is designed to keep workers employed who would otherwise have lost their jobs during the pandemic. The program got off to a rocky start, and it’s not clear it met the goals Congress set for it.
Employee Retention Tax Credit
Under the program, an employer can receive refundable tax credits for wages paid to an employee during the pandemic. The employer can then use the credits to subtract from — and even receive a refund over — taxes they owe.
$450 a Week – Return-to-Work Bonus
As a way to get people off unemployment, a temporary weekly bonus for unemployed workers who secure a job (or regain their previous one), is this return to work bonus. As proposed by Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, the bonus would be $450 a week. Under Portman’s plan, the weekly bonus would serve as an incentive for laid-off workers to go back to work. The White House in May expressed interest in the bonus. While it hasn’t been on the short list of proposals being mentioned in current negotiations, it has been rumored to be part of the CARES 2 proposal.
About 5% of renters for April, May, and June haven’t paid their full rent, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council. This plan would help renters pay rent and assist landlords with expenses with less rent money coming in, especially as the US faces a potential “tsunami of evictions.”
Payroll Tax Cut
President Trump has long pushed the idea of including temporary payroll tax cuts in the next stimulus package. The proposal could include cutting both the employer and employee a share of payroll taxes. If you have a job, a payroll tax cut would let you keep more of your earnings per check. The plan would not help those who are unemployed and don’t receive a paycheck. As of July 4, nearly 32 million people claiming unemployment insurance won’t benefit.
It’s unlikely the Senate will pass a new rescue package by the end of this month, but rather in August – just before the Senate goes on yet, another month-long recess. So, all we can do now is hurry up and wait.