A stimulus package worth $ 1.9 trillion has just been passed. How to use the aid money
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Many people’s budgets look very different during Covid.
Unemployment benefits and direct payments have replaced the paychecks in the income book.
For many, this aid is still insufficient, and food and rent support and eviction protection were also necessary to keep families afloat.
Fortunately, more of that relief is on the way now. President Joe Biden signed a $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package on Thursday.
Here is the help to expect shortly, and how experts recommend that you use it best.
1. Unemployment benefit
Unemployment benefits will be extended through September 6, with a federal increase of $ 300 in addition to state benefits. The average weekly state check is $ 324.
Between the state benefit and the boom, the average laid-off worker has around 75% of their wages replaced when they were working.
Experts recommend that you create a budget with your new amount of income. You may need to cut costs to make sure you can keep paying your bills.
If you have any money left over once your basics are covered, move it to a savings account, said Kimberly Palmer, personal finance expert at NerdWallet.
“Many Americans used up their emergency funds during the pandemic and can now consider replenishing them,” Palmer said.
You are grateful for having done this if you are still unemployed at the end of the benefits or if unexpected costs arise.
Keep your money in a high yield savings account for the best possible return on your money. Also, make sure the account is FDIC insured, which means up to $ 250,000 of your deposit is protected from loss.
Once you have a savings pad, use extra cash (if you have one) to pay off high-yield credit card debt, said Kristen Holt, president and CEO of Greenpath Financial Wellness. You don’t want to lose your money on interest payments when your budget is already tight.
As daunting as credit card debt may be, make sure you don’t have any savings on repaying it.
“We wouldn’t recommend using cash you need to cover medication and groceries and opting for credit card payments, especially if many lenders continue to provide pandemic relief,” Holt said. “Contact your bank [or] Credit union to determine what support is still available and to make sure the terms are appropriate. “
Experts also say that relying on your credit cards in an emergency is risky as banks can reduce your limit at any time.
2. Stimulus tests
Full payments of $ 1,400 will be made to individuals with gross adjusted income of up to $ 75,000 for individuals, $ 112,500 for heads of household, and $ 150,000 for married couples filing together.
As with previous stimulus checks, payments will be reduced for those with incomes above these thresholds and completely suspended for those with incomes of $ 80,000, heads of household at $ 120,000, and married couples at $ 160,000.
“Stimulus funds are a one-time infusion of money,” said Holt.
For this reason, she recommends directing this money to any essential needs that have been pushed into the background, including medication, groceries, or a car repair. Some people may see the payments as early as this weekend.
3. Rent Assistance
Rent Assistance Funds already existed in many areas, and it is through one of these funds that you apply for the new assistance. In other cases, new programs are created to withdraw the money.
Renters should contact local housing assemblies or their agents, or call their local 211/311 line, to identify programs and how to apply, said Emily Benfer, visiting law professor at Wake Forest University.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition also has a database of rental assistance programs.
4. Mortgage assistance
The latest stimulus package also includes a $ 10 billion pot for homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgages during the pandemic.
Some of the things the money can be used for: your mortgage, utilities, homeowner insurance, or homeowners association fees.
“The legislation also includes a provision that allows the finance department to determine other acceptable uses,” said Bob Broeksmit, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The Treasury Department is required to distribute funds to state governments within 45 days. “Each state will then determine its procedure for applying for borrowers and distributing funds,” Broeksmit said.
As with rental assistance, you should contact the local housing association or their representatives, or dial your local 211/311 administration, to identify programs and learn how to apply for the money.
5. Food benefits
The benefits of SNAP or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can help with your grocery bills and allow you to use other stimulus aids for other urgent expenses.
The benefits were increased by 15% for all recipients by September 30th.
Under the new rules, a person could get up to $ 234 a month. A family of four could earn as much as $ 782 through September. In some states, the maximum benefit is even higher. For example, a family of four in Hawaii may receive a monthly benefit of $ 1,440.
The money is sent to you every month on an EBT card which acts like a debit card. People typically get the money in less than 30 days, but those with little to no income could get their benefits in a week.
Eligibility requirements can be shaky, but it doesn’t hurt to apply.
Many people miss the edge because they mistakenly assume they are ineligible or worry about the stigma, Carrie R. Welton, director of politics at advocacy The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, told CNBC last year Year.
“People are going to bring their own shame to this, but that’s tax resources,” Welton said. “This pandemic is not everyone’s fault.”
Have you recently applied for rental assistance? When you’re ready to discuss your experience for a story, please email me at [email protected]