Will You Be Getting $1,200 From The Feds In New Stimulus Plan?

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are moving along with negotiations for another stimulus package that will deliver money to millions of Americans hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday released the Republican version for a second round of stimulus, calling it the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act. The Senate version comes in with a price tag of $1 trillion — $2 trillion less than the House’s stimulus bill, the HEROES Act.

While the Senate bill would trim money for unemployed Americans, it mirrors the stimulus bill passed March, which gave millions of Americans $1,200.

Under that bill, individuals were eligible for payments of up to $1,200, but that amount declined for those with an adjusted gross income higher than $75,000 a year, based on their 2018 tax filings. The $1,200 payment dropped by 5% of every dollar above $75,000, or $50 for every $1,000.

The benefit didn’t apply for individuals with incomes over $99,000.

Married couples with combined incomes of up to $150,000 received $2,400, subject to the same phaseout that applied to individuals. The payments were phased out entirely for couples making $198,000 or more. Families also got $500 per dependent child under the age of 16. About 120 million U.S. taxpayers qualified for direct payments from the federal government under the bill.

A vast majority of Americans will not be required to take any action in order to receive the money. The Internal Revenue Service will use their 2019 tax return if filed or their 2018 return as an alternative.  The House is scheduled to start its recess by Aug. 3, and the Senate is expected to follow on Aug. 7, so action on aid to Americans is expected before then.

A plan to lower the cap to $40,000 for individuals was ditched.

The package includes $70 billion for schools, $30 billion for colleges and universities, and $5 billion for governors to spend at their discretion. It will also call for $16 billion in new funding for testing, plus $9 billion that was approved in March, but not spent.

But the bill reduces unemployment benefits for many, capping them to $200 a week from the $600 a week level that the unemployed received under the March CARES Act. Under the legislation, benefit would switch to providing 70% of wages prior to losing one’s job at the end of September.