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Stimulus deal: time is running out on these 5 benefits



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COVID-19 utilities are about to poof.

CNET staff

December 31st is just weeks away, and with it comes the end of programs created to provide financial aid during the pandemic. The only way to keep these benefits going is with a new incentive account. Lawmakers will have to negotiate quickly to pass a package of any kind before Congress ends his term.

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers announced them proposal for an aid package at a cost of $ 908 billion and would renew it soon to expire improved unemployment benefits for four months. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell quickly dismissed the plan the same day, saying he would not entertain it. Instead, he proposed a “target aid package” that contained much less help for unemployed workers. A group of senators led by Chuck Schumer, leader of minorities in the Senate, proposed their own relief package, the American Worker Holiday Relief Act, which will keep the increased unemployment rate going until October 2021.

Biden, Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are also backing the $ 908 billion bipartisan bill.

Until then, here are the programs that will disappear on January 1, 2021 without new stimulus packages.

read more: Sorry, you could get less money in a second stimulus check


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$ 300 Weekly Unemployment Bonus

Average weekly unemployment benefits do not always equal an employee’s income and typically range between $ 300 and $ 600. To help fill the gap, the CARES Act added one weekly unemployment benefit of $ 600. When that bonus expired on July 31, Trump signed an executive memo paving the way for a smaller weekly bonus of $ 300 (for a six-week period), with the expectation that Congress would soon approve another aid package. That did not happen, and most states have used up the six weeks of additional funding. The $ 300 bonus will end on December 27, according to the president’s memo, and is expected to go unused.

Extra months of unemployment benefit

Individual states handle unemployment insurance claims and determine whether a person is eligible, how much they receive, and for how long they can collect. While it varies from state to state, the CARES Act extended the duration of benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks. Beginning January 1, those additional 13 weeks provided by the federal government are over.

Some states have already filled the void themselves, including extending their disbursement period to 59 weeks, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Others, including Alabama, Arkansas and Utah, have taken no action against it, which could leave unemployed workers in those states unaided when the new year begins.

read more: Coronavirus Unemployment: Who Is Covered, How To Apply, And How Much It Pays

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Can Congress put these programs back together before more damage is done? It’s a waiting game.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Money for handymen

Another initiative of the CARES Act, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, also known as PUA, offered economic relief to those who would not normally qualify for unemployment: the self-employed, contractors and handymen. The PUA ends on December 31. If the federal government doesn’t renew it, it’s up to the states to determine whether to step in on January 1.

Expulsion moratorium

The CARES Act provided limited protection in evictions by focusing only on homes with a federal mortgage loan or households that received some form of federal funding. The the protections were then expanded in September by the Centers for Disease Control, calling for an end to evictions for non-payment of rent. This agency order covered more households, including tenants in 43 million households, but it also has a December 31st expiration date.

Federal Student Loan Deferral

Students who pay off federal student loans were also given a reprieve under the CARES Act, allowing them to defer their loan payments (and halt interest accrual) until the end of September 2020. In August Trump extended the delay to December 31. On January 1, borrower servicers may again charge interest on these loans and students may have to pay them back unless the servicers offer deferment options.

For more information, here the most recent status of stimulus negotiations, and here it is everything we know about the next lump sum payment.




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