What COVID-19 Grants Are In Store for Americans During 2020?
There's no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the American economy, as well as economies around the world. As businesses were required to shut down by their governments, some businesses have had trouble getting all the way back on their feet even after measures like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) were enacted.
While politicians and news outlets seem to never stop talking about grants for businesses and private enterprise, they seem to leave out what many people are wondering: will Americans receive further COVID-19 aid?
Let's go over the aid that Americans have received so far, as well as the likelihood of further aid.
The CARES Act
This was the main (and only major) COVID-19 aid bill, passed by both the House and Senate in March and April. After a federal state of emergency was declared, this bipartisan bill gave the majority of working adults in America a $1,200 stimulus check that is technically an advance on a refundable tax credit.
For unemployed Americans, the CARES Act added $600 to their state unemployment benefits and even expanded unemployment benefits to freelancers for the first time in American history. The $600 provision expired on July 31, 2020, pushing everyone receiving unemployment aid back to whatever their state has offered traditionally.
Many states had their own grants for people struggling, and states that have been traditionally stricter on who gets government grants generally lightened up a bit, with a few exceptions.
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)
President Donald Trump signed an executive order that retroactively enhanced unemployed Americans' compensation by a further $300 after Congress failed to act and allowed the CARES Act to expire. This tapped a FEMA fund, and states had to apply to receive a grant that they then distributed to recipients. Notably, every state applied for and received this except for South Dakota. The governor of the state said that it wasn't necessary because the state never shut down and was (and still is) the only state that didn't ever hit an unemployment rate high enough to trigger the "Extended Benefits" portion of the CARES Act.
In the end, there was only enough for six weeks' worth, or $1,800 per recipient. However, especially for those in states with lower costs of living, this made a decent impact and paid out more than a second stimulus check would have, even after taxes.
What About the Future?
Ever since the CARES Act fully expired, there have been many talks about a second round of stimulus for the American people. Oddly, the House, Senate, and President all agree that another stimulus check is in order; there are simply disagreements on whether a "skinny" bill that solely sends a stimulus is enough aid for the American people.
The general consensus is that if such a "skinny bill" is passed, Americans can expect similar rules for a second stimulus that would be given during the 2020 calendar year, including the amount of money. However, it's likely that there would be more beef in a bill if it were passed.
Some members of Congress were not pleased with the President's LWA, saying it undermined their efforts. However, Congress has not yet come to any agreement on further aid for Americans. If they do, it's very likely that there will be retroactive unemployment enhancement once again. Conservatives have generally given a ballpark of $400 per week, while Democrats generally have stuck to the $600 per week that the original CARES Act afforded.
Many different bills have been proposed, but none have been taken up. This is already proving to be a pain for members of both parties who are getting ready to go back home to campaign after failing to help Americans after the end of July. It will likely be a cold reception at best, and it will likely cost some incumbents their seats if there is no deal passed.
Stock market analysts are "betting" on a deal being passed, so we can hope that our leaders can come together and form a bill that helps Americans out once again who are struggling due to no fault of their own.
Unfortunately, all that Americans can do now is either continue working if they are employed, or continue filing for unemployment aid at their state rate. Remember, every state besides South Dakota has changed its benefit year to offer 1.5 times the standard benefit year offered. The standard is 26 weeks, so that means that recipients in most states can get up to 39 weeks in total of compensation.
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