It’s not a secret, things are hard for many Americans right now. Since the COVID-19 virus hit US soil and American homes, the unemployment rate has more than doubled. With more people than ever struggling to pay their bills, two House Democrats have introduced new legislation: the Emergency Money for the People Act.
If this new bill is passed, each qualifying individual would receive $2,000 a month. Rep Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), the sponsors of the bill, think the initial $1,200 Americans are just now starting to see in their mailboxes and bank accounts, is not sufficient.
Ryan recently stated in a press release, “The economic impact of this virus is unprecedented for our country. As millions of Americans file for unemployment week over week, we have to work quickly to patch the dam—and that means putting cash in the hands of the hard-working families.”
Rep Khanna agreed. “A one-time, twelve-hundred dollar check isn’t going to cut it. Americans need sustained cash infusions for the duration of this crisis in order to come out on the other side alive, healthy and ready to get back to work.”
So who qualifies for this stimulus money and how long will this aid continue? The proposed bill states, “until employment returns to pre-COVID levels.” As far as who qualifies, this is what we know right now from Ryan’s press release:
- Every American adult age 16 and older making less than $130,000 annually, would receive at least $2,000 a month.
- Married couples earning less than $260,000, would receive at least $4,000 a month.
- Qualifying families with children would receive $500 per child—up to three children. ie: if you have a married couple making under $260,000 a year with 3 kids their monthly payment would be $5,500.
- Those who were unemployed or are currently unemployed would also be eligible.
- Those who are not eligible in 2018 or 2019 but would be in 2020, would be able to submit proof of at least two consecutive months of paychecks to verify income eligibility.
- The EMP Act also includes the millions of Americans who were not included in the CARES cash rebates. Others included would be college students and adults with disabilities who are still being claimed as dependents. These individuals would also receive payment and their parent/guardian would receive dependent credit.
If you still haven’t received your stimulus money hold on tight. If you filed your taxes last year and received your refund through the mail, or you owed, your stimulus check will arrive in the mail. However, it could take longer to arrive, as there are some 5 million checks being mailed over the next 20 weeks. If you filed your taxes and received your refund by direct deposit, it may have already hit your bank account or soon should.
If you are one of the blessed few who are working and could qualify for the EMP Act as well, here are some ways to put it to good use:
- Pay down some debt (ie: car loan, student loan, mortgage, credit card, etc)
- Buy groceries for someone in need
- Start a savings account or add to it
- Support local businesses who are struggling during this crisis
- Start a college fund for your kid(s)
- If you don’t know who to give to, look for a cause that’s helping during this time and donate
No matter what you choose to do with this gift, be wise, generous and thankful. And remember, this too shall pass.