What the Coronavirus Relief Bill Means for Working Parents

The US Senate unanimously passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief stimulus bill on Wednesday, March 25. It is likely to be approved by the House of Representatives without any changes Friday, and President Trump is expected to sign shortly thereafter. Here’s everything working parents need to know about the bill.

How much money will I receive?

Most adults will receive $1,200, but it all depends on your income and the number of children you have.

Married couples with no kids who make $150,000 or less will get a total of $2,400. An adult filing as head of household will receive the full payment if he or she earns $112,500 or less. Single adults with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less should receive the full $1,200. For individuals and families making more than those income figures, the payments decrease until it stops entirely for single people making $99,000 or married couples earning $198,000, The New York Times reports.

Married couples with children earn a separate amount per child (see below). Everyone in the family must have a valid Social Security number, with an exception for members of the military.

Your adjusted gross income is on line 8b of your 2019 1040 federal tax return. For specifics on how much you will receive, check out Kiplinger’s Stimulus Check Calculator.

How much extra do you get per kid?

For each child age 16 or under in the household, the payment will increase by an additional $500.

How do you get the money?

No sign-up is needed for the stimulus package, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you’ve received your tax refund via direct deposit in the last two years, that’s where they’ll send the funds directly. If not, the IRS will mail a check to your “last known address,” NBC reports. The IRS has 15 days to notify you of the method and amount of the payment, and will send a phone number and appropriate contact for you to reach out to if you don’t receive it.

What if I don’t qualify?

For those who make too much money to qualify but recent income might have dropped, this specific benefit doesn’t apply, but there are other provisions in the stimulus package that are meant to help. You might be able to file for unemployment or for a loan for small business owners or sole proprietors.

When do you get the money?

According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, most people should expect to get their payments within three weeks.

How is it being paid for?

The $2 trillion comes from what’s essentially a months-long bridge loan from the federal government, CNN reports.

Are there restrictions on what you can use the money on?

Nope.

If you’ve lost your job or been furloughed, does receiving this money interfere with getting unemployment?

No. If you’re unemployed, partially unemployed or unable to work because your employer closed your place of business, you’re covered under the unemployment expansion and you’re able to receive benefits from the stimulus package.

What if it’s not enough to cover your bills?

Different states are enacting different policies to help those in need financially, such as New York and California pushing back all mortgage payments for 90 days for eligible homeowners, plus allowing for the suspension of foreclosures and evictions. For more information on what your state is doing to help in the face of the crisis, visit your state’s government site.

How much can I earn in unemployment benefits?

The amount you can earn is dependent on your state, and some states are more generous than others. The expanded unemployment benefits grant eligible workers an extra $600 per week for 13 weeks on top of their state benefit, which is between 20 and 50 percent of what the average employee makes, the Guardian reports.

Self-employed people, including gig workers and freelancers, are newly eligible for unemployment benefits. People who are able to work from home and those who receive paid sick leave or family leave are ineligible for unemployment benefits. Individuals just entering the workforce who can’t find jobs are also ineligible.

If I lose my job, can I keep my insurance or is some other insurance available to me?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law that allows you to keep your job-based coverage for up to 18 months, but you have to pay as much as the total amount of your premium, meaning what you would normally pay and what your employer was contributing.

If your income is near zero, you likely qualify for Medicaid, which you can learn more about at your own state’s Medicaid agency’s website.

If your income is near zero but someone else in your family continues to make an income, you can qualify for a special enrollment for buying insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. Check out the options in your state at Healthcare.gov.

Can I get paid leave?

Earlier this week, separate legislation was passed concerning paid leave. The answer: It depends on your employer. If you’re self-employed or you work for the government or at a company with 500 or fewer US employees, congrats, you’re covered. Read more about the new legislation here.

Is this a one-time check?

Yes, it’s a one-time payment, unless Congress passes another stimulus package in the future.