Will I Get Money from the Stimulus Bill? (COVID-19)

Well, I finally received the results of my
coronavirus test, and they were negative. Yes! That’s a relief!Hooray, now we can finally isolate as a family!We’re very fortunate that we can keep doing
this show from our private office, but a lotof people aren’t so lucky. As the coronavirus forces many businesses
to shut down, people everywhere are losingtheir jobs or seeing their hours dramatically
scaled back. As of March 21st, 3. 3 million Americans filed
for unemployment, the largest number in historyby a wide margin. The previous record was set in 1982 at 695,000. And this might just be the beginning. Some economists predict that by this summer,
over 14 million Americans will have lost theirjobs. It’s a unique situation. In past unemployment crises, the government
usually tries to encourage businesses to increasehiring, but this time, we actually want people
to stay home to slow the spread of disease. So Congress recently passed a $2 trillion
dollar stimulus package that includes a massiveexpansion of unemployment insurance to help
keep Americans afloat while we wait out thestorm. Even if you still have your job, this bill
will most likely affect you, so you shouldknow what’s in it. First… free money!If you are a United States resident with a
social security number, not claimed as a dependent,and made less than $75,000 last year, you
will receive a $1,200 check from Uncle Sam,plus $500 for each child you have under 16. The more you made over $75,000, the smaller
the check gets and is totally phased out forpeople with incomes greater than $99,000. But, married filers earning less than $150,000
together get the full amount. So if Dan makes $105K and Marsha makes $40K,
they still both get $1200 each, plus $1500for their three kids. You do not have to apply or sign up or do
anything at all to get that money. It’s a one time payment based on your 2019
gross income, and should be arriving in about3 weeks or so by mail or direct deposit, if
you already have that set up with the IRS. If you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes yet,
they can use your gross income from your 2018tax return…But if you still haven’t filed that either,
you should ASAP, or risk not getting yourcheck. And if you happened to make over $100,000
in 2019 but expect to lose that income thisyear…well, unfortunately you won’t qualify. Sorry. Next, the bill provides a dramatic increase
in unemployment insurance. Traditionally, unemployment insurance is only
available to people who lose full-time W2jobs through no fault of their own. It usually lasts about 26 weeks, and pays
around 45% of lost wages. But this bill expands pretty much all of that. Freelancers, part-timers, gig-economy workers,
and even people who still have jobs but hadtheir hours cut can all now apply for unemployment
insurance. You’re also eligible if you were about to
start a new job, or are too new to a job tonormally qualify for benefits. If the closure of a school or nursing home
means you have to quit your job and stay hometo take care of someone, you are eligible
for unemployment insurance. Basically, if the coronavirus pandemic has
severely hampered your ability to make money,you probably qualify for some kind of benefit. How much and for how long depends on your
state and your previous income level, butthe federal government is increasing the duration
across the board by 13 weeks, and the benefitamount by $600 a week. Here in Texas, weekly unemployment benefits
are calculated by taking your highest-earningquarter of the last year and dividing by 25,
up to a maximum of $454. So Timothy, who was making about $30K a year
waiting tables before his restaurant shuttered,would normally be eligible for $300 a week
for 26 weeks. Now, thanks to this bill, he’ll be getting
$900 a week and his benefits will last for39 weeks. You might be thinking… wait, that’s more
than he was making before!And while that’s true, there is a catch. That extra $600 a week is only available for
four months, ending July 31st. So unless Congress extends it, he’s only
getting $900 for the first 16 weeks. Since most experts doubt that either this
medical or financial crisis will be over bythen, Timothy is hardly on easy street. This bill isn’t a magic wand that will keep
us all afloat in perpetuity. It’s a temporary life raft to buy Americans
some time, and a way to keep money flowingthrough the economy in the short term. There’s a lot more in it we haven’t discussed:
student loan suspensions, funds for healthcare,an expansion of loans available to small businesses,
and of course, a $500 billion loan packagefor large businesses and municipalities. We’ll be talking about those things in the
weeks to come, but for now, if your incomehas been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,
grab yourself a seat on Uncle Sam’s liferaft while there’s still room. It will give you the breathing space to take
a fresh look at your finances and plan forwhat comes next. And that’s our two cents!


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