On Sunday, President Trump signed the $900 billion COVID-19 Stimulus Package. Hallelujah!
But what does any of this really mean? Let's talk about what's in the bill for you as an individual, a landlord, and a business owner.
- Checks! Checks! Checks!
Every American gets a $600 stimulus check if you claimed under $75,000 adjusted gross income (AGI) on your personal tax return. That amount is reduced $5 for every $100 you make on top of the $75,000 capping out at $87,000. That’s less than last time, but still a good amount of dough.
**The House just voted to increase these checks to $2,000, but we still need Senate support and a President’s signature.**
For couples filing jointly, you’ll receive $1,200 for couples up to $150,000 AGI, and again graduated after that.
- Kids are worth more cash!
The cool thing is that kiddos are not worth $500, they are worth $600! If you have kids 16 and under, you're going to be getting a $600 check for each one. Dependents who are 17 and older are not getting $$ though. So that's a little bit different than the March stimulus bill.
**If you're divorced or share custody of children, the person who claimed them on the 2019 tax return with get the check. You two can fight it out for the benefits, or consult your family lawyer or accountant.**
- More Americans will qualify for $$, including those married to those who are not citizens or green card holders!
Under the Cares Act passed in March, if you were married to someone who was not a citizen or green card holder or didn't have some sort of legal status with the social security number, you wouldn't be getting a check at all. The December stimulus package allows those married to an undocumented individual or somebody who doesn't have citizenship or a green card to qualify for the $600 check and for the children’s checks.
- 11 More Weeks of Unemployment Benefits and an Extra $300.
Many of you have been applying for unemployment. Most states give 26 weeks of unemployment. The Cares Act in March extended that another 13 weeks. So, your benefits would last 39 weeks. This stimulus bill extends unemployment another 11 weeks on top of that!
If your unemployment benefits have run out, you get another 11 weeks!
If you're in the middle of receiving unemployment benefits, you get another 11 weeks!
If you're a Texas resident, you’ll need to visit the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) website to apply or get your benefits extended.
You can find that website here:
The feds will pay you an extra $300 of benefits on top of the state funds. Cool, huh?
WARNING: Another thing that's been happening to some of my clients is they've been overpaid by TWC. Extra income sounds great in theory, but if you've been overpaid unemployment, you're going to be liable or responsible for giving that money back to the government, whether that be during tax time or otherwise.
NOTE: the programs also apply to those who are self-employed, gig workers/free lancers, part-timers or contract workers!
- No Student Loan Payments & Deferred Interest Until January 31st
Not part of the bill . . . but good to know. If you have Department of Education (DOE) loans, you’re in the clear for another month.
President elect Biden is also talking about student loan forgiveness of at least $10,000. Let’s see if that happens!
- Still No Evictions or Foreclosures!
Can’t pay your rent? The moratorium on evictions is extended until January 31, 2021 as well.
Can’t make your mortgage payment? Ask for forbearance up to 180 days.
Forbearance means you don't have to pay that mortgage for 180 days, but that doesn't mean the payments are forgiven. At some point, you're going to have to pay that money back.
For FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans (i.e., government-backed mortgages), the foreclosure ban is extended until February 28th.
- Round 2 of Paycheck Protection Program Loans!
Your business can get a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans if you've already applied for one. There’s also set-asides for music venues, theaters, museums and other similar businesses who are struggling due to COVID-19 closures.
- Relief for Landlords!
Finally we are getting some relief for landlords (and more for tenants). The bill has a $25 billion set aside to help landlords and tenants. If you’re a landlord, your tenants can apply for the money to get help for their rent. Also, landlords and utility companies can apply for funds on behalf of their tenants! Tenants do have to sign off on the application, though, but that money will be paid directly to landlords to offset some of the loss.