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Five Key Areas Where the Latest Covid-19 Stimulus Bill Will Help with Financial Wellness

After months of negotiations, Congress is on the brink of passing the next Covid-19 stimulus bill.  Like the Cares Act passed in March, there are key provisions that will help American households with their financial wellness needs.  Here are five areas to look for:

Stimulus Checks:

Direct checks are expected to be $600 per adult and $600 per child, with the amounts decreasing for individuals with more than $75,000 in income and $150,000 for couples.  Only dependents under the age of 17 would qualify. Households will not get payments for those who are college students or disabled adults.

We could see stimulus checks being sent out as early as January, according to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, since the mechanism for direct deposits is already in place.

Unemployment Benefits:

The legislation will add $300 weekly to state unemployment payments through March 14th.  CARES Act previously paid $600 per week. This ran out in late July.  The bill will also extend two other unemployment programs until they begin phasing out in mid-March and end in early April. These two programs extend the duration of unemployment benefits and expand the pool of eligible workers.

Rental & Nutrition Assistance:

The deal will also extend a moratorium on evictions until January 31st and includes $25 billion in rental assistance.  In addition, it adds $13 billion in funds for food-stamp and child-nutrition benefits.

Surprise Medical Bill Prevention:

The legislation will protect patients from getting medical bills that could cost thousands of dollars for common situations such as going to the emergency room or getting care from a doctor who happened to not be covered by the patient’s insurance plan.

The measure uses a process known as arbitration to determine how much the insurer will pay the doctor.

Student Loan Assistance:

Separate from the latest stimulus bill, on Dec. 4th the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos extended federal student loan relief provisions by another month.  The 0% student loan interest rate and suspension of payments on federal student loans owned by the Department of Education that were set to expire at the end of the year will continue through Jan. 31, 2021.

Please schedule a one on one meeting with your Mentoro financial wellness educator if you have questions, or need help with your planning.

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