The House is expected to vote later this week to finalize the latest round of COVID-19 relief, sending a significant amount of money in personal stimulus checks to most American families. As part of the $1.9 trillion relief package, the administration of President Joe Biden is also hopeful that the educational system will be provided the resources needed to open more schools and continue to increase vaccination efforts.
Personal Stimulus Forefront of Relief Package: While the massive rescue package provides financial assistance to a wide array of programs, it is the personal stimulus checks that most families are looking forward to. Approximately 90% of families will receive some amount of stimulus. The money is expected to reach bank accounts later this month.Read More »
Eligibility Rules: Individuals earning less than $75,000 of adjusted gross income will receive the full amount of the stimulus. For heads of households, this threshold is less than $112,500. Married couples filing jointly and earning less than $150,000 will also receive the full amount.
After those ceilings, the payments will begin to phase out with only portions paid out. The payments will stop completely for individuals earning more than $80,000 per year of adjusted gross income. This amount is $120,000 for heads of households and $160,000 for married couples. If you make over these amounts, you will not receive any money, regardless of how many children you claim.
Other Details of the Personal Stimulus Check: Once the package is approved, Americans can expect to begin to see their checks within a few weeks. Those with a bank account on file with the IRS will likely see the money the fastest because it will be sent via direct deposit. The income rules are based on the last tax return filed with the IRS. If you have already filed your 2020 tax return, you can expect the money to be based on this income threshold. Others may see the money based on the 2019 return.
Final Vote on the Relief Package: The latest timeline has the bill reaching the House floor by Wednesday morning for a final vote. Over the weekend, the package passed the Senate by a vote of 50-49 with one Republican Senator not able to make the session. All Democrats voted in favor of the legislation with no Republicans voting in the affirmative. The bill is expected to pass the House easily.
Money Earmarked for Schools: A significant part of the sweeping relief package is the money earmarked for schools. This funding is intended to speed along the reopening process for many school districts that are still engaged in hybrid learning. When first taking office, Biden said that one of his goals during the first 100 days in office was to return most students back to the classroom.
Approximately $170 billion in funding will be delivered to schools as part of the legislation. This new money is in addition to the $82 billion schools received from Congress in December and the first $31 billion provided by the initial CARES Act last March during the beginning of the pandemic.
Of that money, $128 billion will be sent to K-12 schools to use toward the reopening process. This money will be used for personal protective equipment for teachers, increased sanitation needs, retrofitting for ventilations systems, additional teacher and staff funding, and more. Additionally, Congress will send almost $40 billion to colleges and universities to make up for shortfalls experienced as a result of the pandemic.
Vaccine Efforts Ramping Up: The Biden administration also recognized the need to continue to plow full speed ahead with the mass vaccination efforts. As such, $7.5 billion was directed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the COVID-19 relief legislation. This money will be used to track and distribute the vaccine. It is the goal of the Biden administration to provide enough shots to vaccinate every eligible adult American by this summer.
There has been a significant ramp up in vaccine distribution over the last few weeks. The country set a record over the weekend with nearly three million doses administered in one day. This is far greater than the original goal of one million doses per day set by the Biden administration when they first took office.
Additional Relief Money for COVID-19 Tracking: In addition to the funding earmarked for the vaccine production and distribution, the legislation provides $46 billion to be used for COVID-19 testing and tracing. An extra $2 billion is set aside for the purchase of testing supplies and personal protective equipment.
Other Elements of Relief Package: The funding for schools and COVID-19 vaccinations and testing is just the tip of the iceberg. Other elements of the relief package include an expansion of unemployment benefits, a temporary increase in the child tax credit, help for small businesses in the form of the paycheck protection program, support for low-income families, and rental assistance.
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