Assistance For American Families And Workers
The COVID-19 public health crisis and resulting economic crisis have created a variety of challenges for families across the country, and changed the way we all live and work. The Treasury Department is providing critical assistance to individuals and their families, ensuring people have the opportunity to keep their families safe and thriving, at work and at home.
Covid Relief Bill Could Cut Us Poverty In Half For Now
The $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill awaiting final passage in the House of Representatives would bring the United States in line with many other advanced democracies around the world by providing regular, unrestricted federal payments to families with children that would cut the rate of child poverty in half.
In all, 13.1 million children and adults would be lifted out of poverty, including 5.7 million under the age of 18, according to one analysis. It would be an historic byproduct of President Joe Biden’s massive economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Democrats’ pent-up demands for addressing income inequality in the U.S. through direct government action.
What remains to be seen is whether the change is temporary or signals a permanent adjustment to U.S. social policy.
An analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center found that the bill would increase the after-tax income of the poorest quintile of Americans by 20.1% and the second-lowest quintile by 9.3%.
An analysis by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University found that the bill would cut the overall poverty rate in the United States from 12.3% to 8.2%. The impact on children under 18 would be even more dramatic, dropping their poverty rate from 13.5% to 5.7%.
Supporters of more generous government benefits for low-income Americans struggled to find a parallel in U.S. history.
Details of legislation
Permanent or temporary?
Student Grants Student Loans And Work
- Creates a 14-billion-dollar higher education emergency relief fund to provide cash grants to college students for costs such as course materials, technology, food, housing, and child care. Each college will determine which of its students receive cash grants. This was divided into three pieces: $12.5 billion in formula funds, at least half of which must be given directly to students, $1 billion for institutions serving minorities, and $350 million in supplemental funds for small institutions with unmet needs. Though the Department of Education issued guidance that international and undocumented students are ineligible for these funds, this was challenged in a lawsuit.
- Payments of student loan principal and interest of by an employer to either an employee or a lender is not taxable to the employee if paid between March 27, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The maximum amount that is tax-free is $5,250 per employee.
- For college students in a federal work-study program, allows a school to continue to pay a student if the student is unable to fulfill their work-study obligation due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Gives students and colleges flexibility regarding the requirements for federal student financial aid during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Suspends payments and accrual of interest on federal student loans through September 30, 2020. Suspends garnishments and tax refund interception related to federal student loans through September 30, 2020.
Also Check: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs
State And Town Fiscal Relief
The HEROES operate appropriated $540 billion for states, territories, and tribal governments, and $375 billion for metropolitan areas, areas, also municipality devices. Overall, these resources comprise becoming allocated per people in line with the 2010 Census and are also needed to be used to mitigate unforeseen outlay or shed revenues because of the epidemic or perhaps the economic harm containing lead. State and local government agencies might have already been eligible to receive funds under lots of the various lower applications financed of the work.
Mental Health And Substance Use Disorders
The bill would allocate $3.5 billion for block grants addressing mental health and substance use disorders. Several million more would be allocated for grants addressing behavioral health disorders in the health care workforce, community-driven overdose prevention and harm reduction and other behavioral health needs, and $100 million for behavioral health workforce education and training. In addition, the bill would create a new optional Medicaid covered service. For the five years following enactment, states can cover mobile crisis intervention services for individuals experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis. The bill would provide $15 million for planning grant funds for states to develop a mobile crisis service program, and provide enhanced FMAP for states that implement such a program. The bill also would direct $80 million to pediatric mental health services.
Also Check: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs
Borrowing From Retirement Plans
The plan, which included guidance from the IRS, allowed people to take special disbursements and loans from tax-advantaged retirement funds of up to $100,000 without facing a tax penalty. It waived the required minimum distribution rules for 401 plans and individual retirement accounts and the 10% penalty on early 401 withdrawals up to $100,000. Account-holders would be able to repay the distributions over the next three years and be allowed to make extra contributions for this purpose.
These measures applied to anyone directly affected by the disease itself or who faced economic hardship as a result of the pandemic. IRS guidance also expanded the list of eligible participants who were able to make these withdrawals to include anyone who had a job offer rescinded or delayed as well as the spouses of those individuals, even if they were still working.
What Else Is In The Relief Bill
- Sends $350 billion to state and local governments whose revenues have declined because of COVID-19.
- Allocates $130 billion to help fully reopen schools and colleges.
- Allots $30 billion to help renters and landlords weather economic losses.
- Devotes $50 billion for small-business assistance.
- Dedicates $160 billion for vaccine development, distribution and related needs.
- Expands the child tax credit up to $3,600 per child.
Read Also: Cvs Covid Test Cost
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
The bill would allocate not less than $100 million for OSHA, of which $10 million is for Susan Harwood training grants and not less than $5 million is for enforcement activities related to COVID-19 at high-risk workplaces, including health care, meat and poultry processing facilities, agricultural work places and correctional facilities.
Syra Madad Belfer Center Fellow Senior Director System
The American Rescue Plan is more than just a boost to an economy hit hard by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is a comprehensive people-focused relief bill for average Americans providing provisions in health insurance subsidies, stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, child tax credits and funding for schools and education programs. As a healthcare worker and working mom of three, reopening of schools safely and providing financial assistance are essential to our road to recovery. As we continue to battle COVID-19, the bill will fund ramp up of vaccination distribution to enable more vaccines in arms, increased testing capacity, contact tracing and personal protective equipment all essential elements in our fight against the contagion and to help us on our path to recovery.
When Will Stimulus Money Be Deposited
White House officials say that direct payments, the third payments of the pandemic, will begin before the end of March.
Previous cheques were sent out by tax officials within one to two weeks of the bills’ passage.
Individuals earning up to $75,000 will receive a $1,400 payment.
Tax officials at the Internal Revenue Service use tax statements to determine the exact size of each person’s payment. For that reason they have urged Americans to quickly file their tax returns, which are due 15 April.
Stimulus cheques sent out by Mr Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, included the former president’s personal signature.
But Mrs Psaki said Mr Biden’s signature will not be on these payments.
Physicians Call To Stop Pay Cuts
The pandemic has caused global economic disruption that has not spared physician practices. An AMA survey conducted last year on the financial impact of COVID-19 on physician practices found physicians averaged a 32% drop in revenue between February and August 2020.
And a recent analysis of Medicare claims data found that Medicare Physician Fee Schedule spending dropped as much as 57% below expected pre-pandemic levels in April 2020. MPFS spending fell an estimated $9.4 billion during the first half of 2020, or 19% lower than expected.
This economic disruption could be exacerbated with an additional 6% in Medicare payment cuts unless Congress takes action. The AMA Physicians Grassroots Network is calling on physicians to take action now and to tell Congress to support H.R. 315, the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act, which would postpone the 2% reduction until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Recommended Reading: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results
Coverage Of Vaccines For Medicaid And Chip Beneficiaries
The bill would require Medicaid and CHIP coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment without beneficiary cost sharing. Vaccines and vaccine administration costs would be matched at a 100% FMAP until one year after the end of the PHE. States also would have the option to provide coverage to the uninsured for COVID-19 vaccines and treatment without cost sharing at 100% FMAP.
Assistance For American Industry
The COVID-19 public health crisis and resulting economic crisis have put many sectors of the American economy under unprecedented strain. The Treasury Department is offering financial support to American industry so they can better support American workers and play a pivotal part in driving the national recovery effort.
Recommended Reading: Did Hank Aaron Get Covid Vaccine
Obamacare And Cobra Money
With surprisingly little fanfare, the legislation includes some of the biggest changes to the Affordable Care Act since President Barack Obama signed it in 2010.
The bill boosts subsidies for customers who buy insurance through the ACA, lowering premiums across the board and outright eliminating them on benchmark plans for people making under 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
For the first time, people making over 400 percent of the federal poverty level can qualify for federal help, as well, with their premiums capped at 8.5 percent of income. The new subsidies are for only two years Democrats are likely to try to extend them.
The federal government would also cover a larger share of Medicaid expenses if states that haven’t expanded the program through the ACA choose to do so now. Twelve states have opted out of Medicaid expansion. It’s unclear whether their governors and legislatures will take up the offer.
Outside of the ACA changes, people who have left jobs during the pandemic and want to maintain their existing employer insurance can get 100 percent of their premiums subsidized through COBRA, the law that allows workers to carry over their work plans.
State And Local Government Relief Fund
State and local governments received up to $150 billion in assistance through the new Coronavirus Relief Fund. Three billion dollars was reserved for federally administered territories and $8 billion was reserved for tribal governments. Payments to states and local governments were divided proportionally according to population. These were large, open-ended block grants that were directed toward costs associated with controlling the pandemic and mitigating its economic damage.
Also Check: How Long Does It Take For Cvs Covid Test Results
Donald Trump Signs Covid
Move comes after Republicans voiced anger over the delay, which resulted in millions of Americans losing unemployment aid
Donald Trump has abruptly signed a $900 billion Covid-19 relief and spending bill, ending days of drama over his refusal to accept the bipartisan deal that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and avert a federal government shutdown.
Without the legislation, the government would have shut down on Tuesday and millions of Americans would have lost eviction protections and unemployment benefits. His delay in signing the bill has already allowed crucial unemployment aid programs to lapse.
Trump blindsided members of both parties and upended months of negotiations when he demanded last week that the package already passed by the House and Senate by large margins and believed to have Trumps support be revised to include larger relief checks and scaled-back spending.
But on Sunday night, while vacationing in Florida, Trump released a statement saying he had signed the bill, and it was his responsibility to protect the people of our country from the economic devastation and hardship caused by the coronavirus.
Trump had received the bill last Thursday and his decision to delay signing it allowed unemployment benefits for millions of Americans to expire. The lapsed benefits will not restart until the first week of January.
Expanded Tax Credits For Families
The bill raises the child tax credit for most families in the coming year by $1,000, to $3,000 per child. Its even more for families with young children: many can receive a credit of $3,600 for each child under age six. All of these credits are fully refundable, and some researchers say these measures could potentially help cut child poverty in half.
Also Check: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Under the expansion of this existing Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance program , small businesses affected by COVID-19 were able to apply for an EIDL of $10,000 that did not have to be repaid. For EIDL loans, those eligible were able to borrow up to $200,000 without a personal guarantee.
Here’s What’s In The American Rescue Plan As It Heads Toward Final Passage
Ahead of the vote on Wednesday, Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., reiterated Republican opposition to provisions they consider “unrelated” to the pandemic.
“It’s the wrong plan at the wrong time. If this bill was about direct payments to people and putting shots in the arms and vaccines, you would have strong bipartisan support across this Congress, across this country,” he told NPR.
A better plan, he argued, would include “targeted and timely” direct payments.
Democrats counter that a broader approach to the economic crisis, with sweeping plans to address poverty, is in fact what the country needs and what they say their constituents want.
Pelosi insisted Wednesday on the House floor that the package is “coronavirus-centric.” Furthermore, referring to the projected impact of the expanded child tax credit, she said, “How do you say no to lifting 50% of impoverished children in America out of poverty?”
The White House and congressional Democrats point to public opinion polls showing overwhelming support for the legislation, including the backing from a majority of Republicans in some surveys. While no GOP lawmakers in Congress voted for it, Democrats point out that some Republican state and local government officials are pressing for the aid.
Biden is expected to sign the bill swiftly the current enhanced federal unemployment benefits expire Sunday. He’ll also deliver the first prime-time address of his term Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of the pandemic.
You May Like: How Long Does Cvs Take For Covid Results
Heroes Work Struggles Amid Senate Resistance
Previous chairman Donald Trump and former Senate bulk frontrunner Mitch McConnell shown opposition to so much investing. Any best version of an additional expenses plan will definitely require some controversial negotiation and assistance between President Joe Biden plus the Senate. The HEROES Act, which was written completely by quarters Democrats and passed away largely along party outlines, would not move ahead when you look at the Senate.
The HEROES operate emerged just like the jobless rate inside the U.S. got near 15percent, with 20.5 million web jobs shed in April. The commercial problems from the extensive companies shutdowns and stay-at-home commands has carried on to install. Governmental pressure has grown at state and regional levels to re-open the economic climate and fickle public presentations need happened as at least many market expands progressively suspicious that the public healthy benefits of shutdowns provide more benefits than the economic costs.
Characteristics Of The Undocumented Workforce
There are multiple estimates of the undocumented population, but a recent estimate based on data derived from the 2018 American Community Survey puts it at around 10.6 million. A similar estimate drawing upon the 2017 ACS identified 7.6 million undocumented workers in the countrys labor force. To put this figure into perspective, the undocumented working population is roughly the same size as the combined total of the working populations in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi, or about 4.6 percent of the entire American working population. Undocumented immigrants live in every state, and 22 states have undocumented populations of more than 100,000.
The important role that undocumented immigrants play in the U.S. workforce is being driven home by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced hundreds of millions of Americans to remain at home while tens of millions more continue to report to work to keep the country running. To help policymakers make decisions at this time, the U.S. Department of Homeland Securitys Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency developed a list of essential critical infrastructure workers that describes the types of positions in the workforce that are critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.
You May Like: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results