On Friday, March 27, President Donald Trump signed into law the $2 trillion dollar relief bill passed by Congress this week in response to the current coronavirus pandemic and economic recession.
The bill is the largest of its kind in American history. It will provide hundreds of billions of dollars for hospitals, state and local governments, and small businesses. It will also provide a historic $500 billion in financial support for large corporations, with a portion of that set aside specifically for the currently struggling airline industry.
The bill will also provide a single, one-time payment to some U.S. citizens who have a Social Security number and who live in the United States. Those who meet these requirements and individually made $75,000 or less in 2019 are potentially eligible for $1,200 in direct relief from the government. The more an individual made over $75,000 last year the smaller the relief they recieve will be, with those who made over $99,000 dollars not receiving anything. Married couples who made $150,000 dollars or less will be eligible to receive $2,400 in relief with an additional $500 per dependent child they claimed on taxes.
If you are a college student and your parents claimed you as a dependent in 2019 you will not be eligible to receive any money directly, and if you did not file taxes in 2018 or 2019 you may experience difficulty and delays in receiving the money.
The bill also massively increased unemployment insurance benefits. It will temporarily increase weekly unemployment checks by $600 for up to four months (this is in addition to the weekly amount an individual’s state would normally provide) and it extended the length of time an individual is eligible to receive normal unemployment checks by 13 weeks. These additions to state unemployment insurance will all be federally funded.
Eligibility to receive unemployment insurance was also extended to include more workers like freelancers, gig workers, and independent contractors. This is after a record number of Americans, over 3 million, have recently filed for unemployment insurance due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic recession.
Individuals in Michigan who have recently lost their job and are eligible for unemployment insurance can file for it online at michigan.gov.
The bill passed with bipartisan support but only after intense arguing from both sides of the political aisle. Several Democrats attacked the decision to give large corporations billions of dollars in relief. Several Republicans have attacked the increase in unemployment benefits, at one point even trying, and failing, to amend the bill to exclude the additional benefits. Both parties vocally disagree with parts of the bill but compromised and passed it in its entirety in order to get what they wanted passed.
The 880-page bill included many other smaller measures, including a temporary delay on financed-based foreclosures for federally backed mortgages and some financial support that could potentially benefit students. You can read the entirety of the bill at congress.gov or, if you have trouble loading the page, you can view a pdf version of the bill here, courtesy of National Public Radio (NPR).