9 Important Things To Know About The New Coronavirus Stimulus
More checks are on the way, but not everyone will qualify.
Yesterday, President Joe Biden
signed the American Rescue Plan into law, which means that more stimulus money is on the way.
Mandel Ngan / Getty Images
There's a LOT of stuff in this $1.9 trillion bill, so I talked to
Lisa Rowan of Forbes Advisor to get the skinny on the biggest things to look out for in this new stimulus package.
Here's what's in the bill and what it might mean for you:
Another round of
stimulus checks is on the way.
NBC / Via
People with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for married couples who file jointly will be eligible for the full $1,400 stimulus payment. People earning more than those amounts may qualify for reduced payments, but single people making $80,000, heads of household making $120,000 and married couples at $160,000 will not receive a stimulus.
Income levels will be based on your latest tax filing, so if you had changes in your 2020 income it's a good idea to file your taxes sooner rather than later.
FYI: If you're still waiting for a stimulus payment you're owed from 2020, file your taxes ASAP! Even if you usually don't file because of your income level, you'll be able to get your past stimulus payments as a tax credit.
Dependents of all ages may be eligible for a stimulus, depending on the income of the taxpayer who claims them.
NBC / Via
For earlier payments, only dependents under 17 qualified for stimulus money, but this time around, dependents of any age can qualify. However, your eligibility for this payment hinges on the person who claims you as a dependent. Lisa Rowan says that dependents qualify for whatever payment amount their claimant does, and, "if you are a dependent of someone else who files taxes, you don't have to do anything to get your payment."
But it's important to note that
if you're a dependent, your stimulus will go to the person who claims you. "Say you're my dependent," Rowan explained, "I'm going to get a direct deposit that has $1,400 for me and $1,400 for you." So, if someone claims you, you'll need to work out a plan with them to get that stimulus cash into your pockets.
The new stimulus payments could be on their way later this month.
NBC / Via
Biden has said that the new stimulus payments should start to go out later this month. Like last year's payments, if the IRS has your direct deposit info on file you'll likely get your stimmy sooner, possibly even next week. But if you're waiting for the IRS to mail you a check, then you might not see it until April.
As with earlier payments, you can check on the status of your stimulus via the
IRS Get My Payment site.
Unemployment benefits will continue to get a $300 a week boost through Sept. 6.
Lifetime / Via
for the 2020 tax year, the first $10,200 worth of unemployment payments If you got unemployment benefits last year, Rowan says, "it might be good to wait maybe about a week to file until we get more guidance on this tax break." If you've already paid taxes on your unemployment benefits, keep an eye out for more information from the IRS coming soon about potentially adjusting your 2020 return. will not be taxed for individuals whose annual incomes are less than $150,000.
The stimulus package is also set to extend pandemic unemployment benefits for people who are self-employed, gig workers, or work part-time through Sept. 6.
The bill includes
$41.5 billion in housing assistance funds.
Fox / Via
With the Census recently estimating that
30 to 40 million people are at risk of eviction in the coming months, the American Rescue Plan has earmarked $21.5 billion for state and local governments to offer rent assistance to low-income households. Another $10 billion has been set aside to help homeowners pay their mortgages and property taxes. Finally, $5 billion will be spent on helping people at risk of homelessness and the bill calls for another $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers for people who are currently experiencing homelessness.
previous rental assistance programs during the pandemic, Rowan says that it's most likely that this money will be sent from the federal government to local and state government programs that will be responsible for distributing it. To get access to this aid, Rowan suggests calling the 211 hotline to get connected to a program that serves your area.
Changes to the Affordable Care Act could mean lower premiums or bigger tax credits through 2022.
NBC / Via
Okay, this one is kinda confusing (because health insurance) but stay with me. When you sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), depending on your income you might qualify for a discount in the form of a credit which lowers your annual tax bill or as a premium subsidy which lowers your monthly insurance bill.
For 2021 and 2022, income caps on premium subsidies have been eliminated, which means that more people will be eligible for reduced premium payments when getting a health insurance plan through the ACA exchange. OR you can choose to pay the full premium amount but take a larger tax credit. Under either option, this plan is intended to limit the amount you pay for health insurance on the exchange to 8.5% of your income.
FYI: Unrelated to the bill, there is currently a special open enrollment period running through May 31 on
healthcare.gov, so anyone who's lost health coverage due to the pandemic can enroll in a new plan.
The bill also includes temporary changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.
NBC / Via
For the 2021 tax year, the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers will be raised from $543 to $1502, so qualifying tax payers might see a lower tax bill or larger refund when they file next year.
Also in 2021, the
Child Tax Credit is getting a boost from $2,000 up to $3,000 per child between the ages of 6 and 17, and up to $3,600 per child under 6. Plus, instead of having to wait until they file to feel the benefits of this credit, parents might be able to get part of this tax credit in the form of cash payments starting this summer.
And here's what's NOT in the bill:
A $15 minimum wage
NBC / Via
earlier version of this bill would have gradually raised the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, or about $31K a year for someone working full-time. As it stands, the federal minimum wage hasn't gone up since 2009. It's currently $7.25 an hour, which works out to only $15K a year for a full-time job.
Student loan forgiveness
Fox / Via
There's been a lot of talk recently about
student loan forgiveness, including calls from some Democrats to cancel up to $50K in student debt for all federal borrowers. This bill doesn't do that, but it could set the stage for future forgiveness. Here's how: This bill includes a provision that says any student loan forgiveness that's passed between now and 2026 will be totally tax-free.
If you're hoping for your debt to be wiped away, this is actually somewhat good news. Usually, debt forgiveness counts as taxable income, so while this provision won't wipe out your loans right away, it will def come in handy if any student loan forgiveness passes in the next few years.
What do you think about the new stimulus plan? Share your opinion in the comments below!
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