WASHINGTON — President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package is expected to pass in the Democratic-controlled House this week. This is unlikely to be the final version of the legislation; the evenly split Senate still has to act. But here’s a look at where things stand.
Will I get a relief check?
It depends on how much money you make. Individuals earning under $75,000 per year and married couples earning less than $150,000 would receive the maximum available, which is $1,400 per household member. The amount phases out the more money you make, and no individual earning more than $100,000 or couple earning more than $200,000 would receive money. The Senate may lower those income thresholds, to reduce the package’s cost by making fewer people eligible.
There are tweaks to previous eligibility requirements. Previously, only children listed as dependents on a federal tax return could receive a payment. Now all adult dependents, such as college students, can be counted as a household member and receive money.
What happened to the $2,000 checks we were promised?
Congress approved $600 payments in December, so the $1,400 proposal is intended to bring the total to $2,000 per person.
I lost my job. What’s in this legislation for me?
The federal government would boost weekly unemployment compensation by $400, up from the current $300 but lower than the $600 increase that was available at the beginning of the pandemic.
Unemployed people would also be able to receive financial support for a longer time. Freelancers and gig workers could get help from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for 74 weeks, while other out-of-work individuals who participate in traditional state unemployment programs could get 48 weeks of payments. The increased benefits would be available until Aug. 29.
My family needs more help than that. What else would the government do?