Last Minute Passage of Essential Economic Aid
By: Jamie L. Harris
Congress passed the $900 billion COVID-relief bill which was signed by President Trump on December 27, 2020. The relief package includes direct payments to Americans, extended unemployment benefits, and aid to small businesses among other forms of pandemic relief. Specifically, individual Americans are eligible for $600 stimulus checks (subject to $75,000 annual income limit). Couples making up to a $150,000 a year are eligible for $1,200 stimulus checks. Individuals are eligible for an additional $600 for dependent children that under (17) seventeen years old. Payment eligibility would be based on 2019 tax returns although certain recipients of Supplemental Social Security and VA benefits and retired and disabled workers are not required to have filed 2019 tax returns to be eligible for the relief. The legislation extends the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program through March 14, 2021 which provides $300 weekly payments in unemployment benefits.
Breakdown of Funds
The bill provides $325 billion in small business funds. The bulk of the small business funds ($284.5 billion) has been allocated for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPL) loans. Small businesses are eligible to receive a second PPP loan if they have less than 300 employees and can demonstrate a revenue reduction of 25%. Businesses that received PPP loans will be able to take tax deductions for the expenses covered by the forgiven loans. Twenty billion dollars has been allocated for new Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Grants for businesses in low-income areas. Fifteen billion dollars in aid was allocated for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions. The bill also expanded eligibility for PPP loan funding to 501 (C)(6) nonprofits.
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