Unemployment Benefits Slashed for Millions of Americans
What can people who became unemployed during the pandemic look forward to?
Much to the dismay of millions of Americans, the enhanced federal unemployment insurance benefits of $300 per week came to a screeching halt over Labor Day weekend.
Approximately ten million Americans on unemployment lost those enhanced weekly benefits, according to a study conducted by the People’s Policy Project, citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.
But with many still on the employment sidelines due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some of the most cash-starved individuals now have to be on the lookout for other sources of government-issued direct cash payments and tax credits or eviction moratoriums. Here’s what some unemployed Americans can look forward to.
State Eviction Protection
The Supreme Court struck down the most recent extension to the federal eviction ban, but renters in a few select states may still be protected by local eviction moratoriums. California, Illinois, New Mexico, and New York have eviction bans in place currently. Moreover, some states like Minnesota, Nevada, and Washington are offering rental assistance to those who apply.
Child Tax Credit
The expanded child tax credits, a major part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, began rolling out in mid-July and will continue through the end of the year. Parents who are eligible for this program are able to collect as much as $3,600 per year for a child under the age of six and up to $3,000 for children between ages six and seventeen. This means that a $250 or a $300 payment for each child will be directly deposited each month.
Pause on Student Loan Payments
Last month, the U.S. Department of Education decided to extend the moratorium through January 31 for payments and interest of federal student loans. What this means is that more than forty million borrowers saddled with sizeable student debt will not have to make payments on most federal loans until next February.
Child Care Tax Credits
Another important part of Biden’s stimulus bill, parents who pay out of pocket for child care services are now eligible to recoup those related expenses in the form of tax credits of $8,000 for one child and up to $16,000 for two or more children. In order to qualify for the full amounts, a family’s adjusted gross income must not exceed $125,000. If the income earned eclipses that figure though, then the credits will phase out at a 50 percent clip. The rate phases down again to 20 percent for those earning $183,000 and will stay at that level until income hits $400,000. The credits will completely phase out for those individuals earning $438,000 or more.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.