The $900 Billion Pandemic Relief Package

In December 2020 Congress finally passed a $900 Billion Pandemic Relief Package to support businesses and families experiencing financial hardship due to the Coronavirus. In this bill, some of the benefits and rules have changed from those of the CARES Act passed in March 2020. The following are some of the changes that may impact your finances.

Deadline

The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and United States Treasury have until January 15, 2021 to send out your stimulus payment.

Are You Entitled to Receive a Stimulus Check?

Unlike the first stimulus payment, some of the rules pertaining to the second stimulus have changed. Under this second stimulus, you need to have filed at least your IRS 2019 tax returns to qualify. The IRS will not use your 2018 tax return to make payments. If you are incarcerated, you are eligible to receive stimulus payments. Further, unless you have a valid social security number, you will be ineligible to receive this second stimulus payment. In the first stimulus package individuals with ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) were eligible to receive payments. Finally, those owing past due child support aka “arrears” are eligible to receive payment under this second stimulus package.

Do I Meet the Income Requirements to Receive the Second Stimulus Check?

The new stimulus is worth $600 for individuals earning up to $75,000 per year, or $1,200 for couples earning up to $150,000 per year. Parents with dependents will also receive $600 for each child under age 17. The stimulus payment amounts will begin to phase out above these income thresholds.

How Will I Receive Payment?

Payments will be made through direct deposits, EIP (Debit Cards) or checks. If in the first stimulus package you received your payment by check you may receive payment this time by debit card. The IRS may not use the same method to provide your second stimulus payment except for those who received payment through direct deposit initially.

What Happens If I Do Not Receive My Stimulus Payment?

If you do not receive your stimulus payment of $1,200.00, or $600.00 or only received a partial or incorrect amount, then you will have to apply for a Recovery Rebate Tax Credit when you file your IRS 2020 tax return.

How Does the Recovery Rebate Tax Credit Work?

Essentially, if based upon your tax filing for the year 2020 you are entitled to a refund the rebate tax credit will be applied to your return by your tax preparer and your refund will be increased by the stimulus amount to which you are entitled. On the other hand, if when your taxes are prepared it shows that you have a tax liability the rebate will be applied to reduce your liability. The IRS has provided a rebate credit worksheet to assist in the preparation of IRS Form 1040.

What About Unemployment Relief?

Workers who are currently receiving unemployment benefits will receive an additional $300 per week through March 14, 2021.  You can claim unemployment benefits through your state program, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and/or Pandemic Emergency Compensation (PEUC) for up to 50 weeks.

What About Unemployment Relief for Self-Employed Individuals

The $300-per-week of additional unemployment also applies to people who are self-employed and gig workers. People who normally earn income from both self-employment and wages can receive an extra $100 of unemployment per week to help make up for lost self-employment income.

Extension of the CDC Eviction Moratorium

The relief package extends the CDC Eviction moratorium for one month, to January 31, 2021. No other changes were made to the eviction moratorium.

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