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third simulus

President Joe Biden has signed American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package to help offset the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on the economy and left many Americans struggling to pay their bills and support their families. The House and Senate have both passed their own versions of the bill; once they are reconciled, the bill will go to the White House for Biden’s signature. This new bill is in addition to the two bills passed since the pandemic spread widely in early 2020. If you want help making sure you are able to protect your finances during the pandemic and beyond, consider working with a financial advisor.

Third Stimulus Plan Benefits for Individuals

The biggest benefit in the new stimulus plan is direct stimulus payments of $1,400 to most Americans. Combined with the $600 check that most Americans got in December, that would bring recent payment totals to $2,000, in addition to the $1,200 many Americans received last summer. The plan will give the full stimulus checks to individuals earning up to $75,000 and married couples earning up to $150,000. Those earning up to $80,000 ($160,000 for married couples) will be eligible for some financial relief.

The plan also extends the federal unemployment booster of $300 a week through September 6. This is aimed at helping those who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic stay afloat while they search for a new job or wait for their company to reopen, if it is temporarily closed.

Though some Democrats (including Biden) wanted to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour as part of this package, that failed to get support in the Senate.

Finally, this plan makes Child Tax Credit fully refundable for this year and increases the credit to $3,000 ($3,600 for a child under 6). Families eligible for this credit will get payments of $300 per month per child starting in July until the end of the year.

Third Stimulus Benefits Plan for Society

This bill isn’t focused on small businesses the way the past two have been, possibly because there is still Paycheck Protection Plan stimulus money available to small businesses from the last bill. Still, there are a number of factors that are focused on helping society at large, including an additional $7.25 billion in PPP loans.

The bill also provides $37 billion to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for seniors with low-income, $1.4 billion for the Older Americans Act and $4.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help with paying for heating and cooling in homes of low-income families.

More than $128 billion is available in grants to state educational agencies and $39 billion for institutions of higher learning. A total of $30 billion is in the bill for housing issues, plus $30 billion for transit. Food service and restaurants are getting $25 billion.

More than $50 billion is assigned directly to the fight against COVID-19, including $7.5 billion for vaccines and $45 billion for diagnosing and tracking infections.

The Bottom Line

Though it hasn’t been quite as smooth as some might have hoped, another COVID-19 relief bill is coming. The start of the bill is an additional $1,400 in direct aid to most families, but there are numerous other programs for small businesses and to help fight the virus.

Tips for Surviving the Economic Downturn

  • A financial advisor can help you make the most of the good times and survive the bad times. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool connects you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors, get started now.
  • When times get tough, it might be time to tighten your belt. Consider starting a budget and sticking to it to make sure all of your needs are met.

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Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
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