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These 5 benefits will disappear at the end of 2020 without more incentive money



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Utilities for COVID-19 are running out fast.

Sarah Tew / CNET

President elect Joe Biden is ready to take office in January. But now that both the House and Senate are back at work, Washington has time to address a problem that cannot wait until next year, with the aid programs coming with CARES Act in March.

The extension of unemployment benefits and the $ 300 weekly bonus expire on December 31, unless Congress can agree on someone else incentive account that can take a second economic incentive check for $ 1,200.

The CARES Act has established programs to help U.S. individuals and small businesses financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump added more aid in August when he signed four executive actions after the CARES Act provisions disappeared. The latter programs expire on December 31. Lawmakers and leading economists agree that more help is needed.

“We will have a stronger recovery if we can at least get a little more fiscal support,” said Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, on Nov. 5, acknowledging that Congress has the power to approve stimulus funding. However, legislators have competing approaches.

read more: Anyone who has until November 21 to claim their first stimulus check

The size of another stimulus package and how quickly it could pass are fought fiercely along party lines. Congressional Democrats, led by house speaker Nancy Pelosi, prefer a larger package with more programs. Republicans, led by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, want a smaller bill with less funding. It is not clear whether a future proposal from the Senate would include this a second stimulus check for individuals and families or more unemployment assistance.

Until somehow more incentive aid arrives, here are the major programs that will end.


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Renewal of Federal Unemployment Benefits

Individual states handle unemployment insurance claims and determine whether a person qualifies, 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

The Pandemic Un Employment Assistance Program

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 will end on December 31. If the federal government doesn’t renew it, it’s up to the states to determine whether to intervene on January 1.

Weekly $ 300 additional unemployment check

Average weekly unemployment benefit does not always equal an employee’s income and typically ranges 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 that paved the way for a smaller $ 300 weekly bonus (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 Dec. 27, according to the president’s memo, and is expected to go unused.

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

Sarah Tew / CNET

Eviction moratorium for tenants and homeowners

The CARES Act 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 off again unless the servicers offer deferral 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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