As COVID-19 runs its course, Americans worry about how to pay their bills
By: Sabrina Benet
As our lives continue to drastically change daily, it is common to worry about getting by both health-wise and financially. While stimulus checks are rolling out to those who qualify, the government is thinking of a more widespread plan to send cash to Americans.
Our country’s situation will vary from day to day as COVID-19 continues to run its course, causing Americans to worry about what will happen after this one-time payment.
The coronavirus is leaving citizens unsure of whether they will be able to afford rent, bills, or even groceries. So, one thing that was introduced by Democratic reps is the Emergency Money for the People Act.
This bill by Tim Ryan and Ro Khanna proposes that if you are an American citizen aged sixteen or over and make less than 130,000 dollars a year, you will qualify for government payments for up to a minimum of six months. Cash payments will continue until our unemployment level falls to where it was before the virus.
The Emergency Money for the People Act will be issued to all married couples with incomes under $260,000 a year, allowing them to receive a monthly check of $4000. In addition to the $2000, an additional $500 will be issued per child with a limit of three children per family. The bill states that this money will not affect unemployment issued and will not be taxed by the state.
Throughout the pandemic thus far, unemployment has hit an all-time high, breaking the record set during the recession in 1982. Specifically, the New York department of labor has updated its policies to fit our state’s current situation. As of March 27th, 2020, President Trump signed a law that helps provide additional assistance for people claiming unemployment due to the impacts of COVID-19.
This law, also known as the CARES Act is a 2.2 trillion dollar bill holding the title of the largest economic relief package. The bill was adjusted to our current situation, adding three new unemployment programs: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
This ensures that anyone who has lost their job, is placed on a temporary furlough or is unable to find work due to our society’s current state due to COVID-19 is eligible for the benefits offered.
The PUA provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to those who are qualified. Setting it apart from regular unemployment, workers who are typically uneligible such as the self-employed can also receive benefits.
One of its major benefits includes a weekly $600 raise that is scheduled to end on July 31st, 2020. Concerns have been raised thus far about if the virus exceeded the 39-week deadline provided to those who applied.
Another raised concern is the conditions the economy will be in after this, depending on if companies will stay in business or close their doors for good. During these trying times, it is important to take advantage of the opportunities the government is providing us.