What Made the Cut in the New COVID Stimulus Bill?

After months of debate, the next COVID-19 stimulus bill has been finalized. President Biden signed the bill into law on Thursday.

One very conspicuous absence is the measure to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour. Democrats attempted to include this measure through a process called Budget Reconciliation, but the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the provision did not qualify for that process. The measure was ultimately left out of the final bill.

Here are the most important features of the new COVID-19 Stimulus Bill:

Funding for Directly Incurred COVID-19 Costs:

  • More funding to expand COVID testing at the state, local and federal level.
  • Additional funding to support COVID vaccine administration and distribution.
  • $350 billion to state and local governments to help cover COVID-related costs through the end of 2024.
  • $130 billion for schools to help reduce class sizes, modify buildings and classrooms for COVID-19 safety, and to purchase PPE.

Round Three of Stimulus Checks / Direct Payments to Individuals

  • $1,400 per single filer, or $2,800 per joint filers. Additional $1,400 per dependent.
  • To qualify for the full amount individuals must earn less than $75,000 per year, or less than $150,000 per year for joint filers.
  • Payment amounts will rapidly decrease for individual and joint filers earning over the limit for a full payment, with payments stopping completely for individual filers who earn over $80,000 per year and joint filers earning over $160,000 per year.

Tax Relief:

  • Filers with children can receive a credit of $3,000 for each child from 6 to 17 years old, and $3,600 for child under the age of 6. Filers will receive the full amount even if they did not earn enough to receive the credit under normal circumstances.
  • If possible, payments to filers who are entitled to them will be made monthly or as frequently as possible.
  • The 2021 Earned Income Tax Credit will now be available to filers without children.

Unemployment Benefits:

  • Extra unemployment benefits are extended through September 6, 2021.
  • Recipients will be paid $300 per week on top of their state unemployment benefits.
  • Subsidy to cover COBRA health insurance premiums for laid off workers. Covers 100% of costs through the end of September 2021.

Healthcare Changes:

  • Increases coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – a combination of changes that make more people eligible for coverage.
  • Offers greater financial assistance through the end of 2022.
  • Additional funding for states that wish to expand their Medicaid programs under provisions in the ACA.

There are even more changes that we don’t have time to cover here. Stay tuned to our blog, where we will bring you more analysis of the new COVID-19 stimulus bill.