Congress has passed a $900 billion stimulus bill to provide a second round of relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a look at what the package includes and how your family could benefit.
Unemployment insurance: Provides $300 weekly for 11 weeks – through March 14 – instead of the $600 per week benefit that expired in July. Extends special pandemic benefits for “gig” workers and extends the maximum period for state-paid jobless benefits to 50 weeks.
Direct payments: Provides $600 direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 per year and couples making up to $150,000 per year — with payments phased out for higher incomes — with $600 additional payments per dependent child.
Child care: Provides $10 billion to the Child Care Development Block Grant to help families with child care costs and help providers cover increased operating costs.
Schools and universities: Delivers $54 billion to public K-12 schools affected by the pandemic and $23 billion for colleges and universities; $4 billion would be awarded to a Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund; nearly $1 billion for Native American schools.
Rental assistance: Provides money for a first-ever federal rental assistance program. The funds are to be distributed by state and local governments to help people who have fallen behind on their rent and may be facing eviction.
Education: Includes a bipartisan agreement to forgive about $1.3 billion in federal loans to historically Black colleges and universities and simplify college financial aid forms. Boosts the maximum Pell Grant for low-income college students by $150 to $6,495. Offers “second chance” Pell Grants to incarcerated prisoners.
Food aid: Increases stamp benefits by 15% for six months and provides funding to food banks, Meals on Wheels and other food aid. Excludes Pandemic Unemployment Compensation from being counted as income for SNAP.
Broadband access and technology: Allocates $3.2 billion to establish an emergency broadband benefit program at the FCC where eligible households will receive a discount on internet service and subsidies for inter-connected devices. It also includes specialized funding for increasing broadband access in minority communities, rural areas and tribal lands.