On Monday afternoon, the Senate Republicans unveiled the Health, Economic, Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act, the second stimulus package meant to offset the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what we know so far about the potential terms of the second stimulus package based on the HEALS Act:
Second round of stimulus checks: Like the CARES Act, the HEALS Act should send payments to qualifying individuals and families. The payment amount was up to $1,200 per person in the CARES Act, and the HEALS Act will likely follow the same payment model. What is undecided are the eligibility guidelines. However, it seems like the negotiation is between keeping the eligibility guidelines the same or allowing more people to receive the payment. Therefore, people who were eligible for the CARES Act stimulus checks will likely be eligible to receive a second payment. The goal is for people to receive checks in the beginning of August.
Unemployment benefits: People who applied for unemployment for the first time due to COVID or were already collecting unemployment will receive a weekly payment on top of the ordinary unemployment benefits. People who were unemployed received $600 a week from the CARES Act. However, the HEALS Act would reduce the extra payment to $200 a week and over time increasing to $500 a week.
Payroll Protection Program (PPP): The PPP program provides forgivable loans to small business to cover payroll (and other costs) as an incentive to keep employees on the payroll. The HEALS Act is expected to target the hardest-hit small businesses with PPP loans.
Employee retention tax credit: This tax credit program was introduced in the CARES Act. Companies receive tax credits for wages paid to their employees during the pandemic as another incentive to keep employees on the payroll. The HEALS Act proposes to include additional tax relief for companies who hire and rehire workers.
Return-to-work bonus: If an unemployed person gets a new job and begins working at a previous job again, they will receive a bonus of up to $450 a week on top of their wages.
Renter assistance: The renter assistance programs proposed would help tenants pay their rent, help landlords pay expenses and put another hold on evictions for up to a year.
The next step is for the House to negotiate the terms of the act to finalize the bill. Hopefully, Congress comes to an agreement by next Friday, August 7th, which is the last Senate session before a month-long recess.
We will keep you posted on any developments regarding the next stimulus package.
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