President Biden, VP Harris, their spouses and others will soon be embarking on a cross-country tour to speak directly to Americans, informing us of how the American Rescue Plan can and will help to change our lives for the better, and how we can all expect to receive the various benefits. (Sure, he’s promoting it as well, but can you imagine Trump doing something helpful like this? He refused to even stay overnight in most American states!)
In the meantime, here are a few details about the direct financial assistance the Plan provides to Americans that you may not be aware of:
1) The $1,400 payments are expected to start this weekend! Now THAT is efficient government. (Of course, it likely helped that Biden did not insist his name be on the payments like Trump did.) They will use your last tax return to determine eligibility, so if your income was drastically reduced last year, you should file your return ASAP if you haven’t already. Use this stimulus check calculator to see if you qualify and learn exactly how much you will receive.
2) 100% of COBRA insurance premiums through September and other healthcare benefits including Affordable Care Act subsidies and Employer Tax Credits. More info here.
3) $300/week in enhanced unemployment benefits through Sept. 6, and additional unemployment insurance programs.
4) $21.55 billion in emergency rental assistance, provided to the states ($25 billion total including utility assistance). Learn more about the program here.
5) $10 billion in direct homeowner assistance to prevent foreclosure (including help to catch up payments, pay taxes and insurance, and even utilities). You will most likely have to apply for this assistance through your state or local government. (You may be able to apply for the mortgage assistance through your mortgage servicer, but if you contact them about it, be clear you are inquiring about American Rescue Plan help.) The mortgage forbearance program has also been extended.
6) additional help for small businesses includes $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, $15 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, $28.6 billion to establish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, and an extension of the CARES Act contractors’ reimbursement program for certain paid leave provided.
7) various additional or extended tax credits and deductions for children (so if you have already filed your return, you may need to amend it — check with your tax preparer).
Of course there is a lot more to it, but this is a few of the highlights. I’m sure President Biden’s administration will have a website set up soon where we can easily get all our questions answered.