Now that President Donald Trump has signed the $908 billion stimulus package into law, the IRS and Treasury Department can start sending stimulus checks. But the just-approved relief legislation includes much more than just another round of payments for eligible adults and children.
The new law renews some government financial assistance already starting to expire, including $300 weekly unemployment checks, an eviction ban and help for small businesses to cover payroll.
Trump put off signing the COVID relief bill for nearly a week, calling the overall package a "disgrace" and demanding that Congress raise the $600-per-person payments for a second stimulus check to $2,000 per person. (President-elect Joe Biden has already committed to a third stimulus check. Here's how a new Congress in January could hold the key.)
"As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child," Trump said in a statement Sunday night, after signing the bill. On Monday following Trump's request for larger payments, the House approved a bill that would boost the payments to $2,000, sending the legislation to the Senate to consider this week.
Now that the stimulus bill is law, we've laid out all the major parts that are in it. This story has been updated with the most current information.
A second stimulus check for $600 per adult, but...
The new economic relief law will send a second stimulus check topping out at $600 to each eligible adult and a flat sum of $600 per qualifying child age 16 years and younger. That's a change from the cap of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child dependent, from the first round of payments.
The House has passed an amendment that would change the amount to $2,000, and it's now up to the Senate to up the $600 stimulus check maximum to $2,000.
If it stays at lower dollar figure, individuals will receive the full $600 if their AGI is under $75,000. Their payment will start to decline as their yearly income goes up. For heads of household, the AGI is $112,500, and for those married and filing jointly the number is $150,000. Here's a breakdown of the qualification requirements for the second stimulus check and some information about how much money you might be able to get.
$300 per week in federal unemployment insurance
The CARES Act passed in March gave $600 per week to people who are out of work, on top of their usual state unemployment check. When this funding lapsed at the end of July, President Donald Trump signed an executive action to pay a $300 per week bonus. That money will run out by Dec. 31.
The bipartisan package provides $300 per week in additional federal unemployment benefits for 11 weeks -- except that the delay in signing means there are now only 10 weeks until the March cutoff. There's no language in the bill that would make payments retroactive. Here are more details on weekly unemployment checks.
Extends Payroll Protection Program to cover employee wages
The Payroll Protection Program initially provided forgivable loans to small businesses as a way to help cover worker wages so they wouldn't have to lay off employees.
The new bipartisan law will add $284 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program for small business forgivable loans. The legislation will target aid for businesses especially hard hit by closures, including nonprofits, restaurants and live venues.
Renews an eviction ban, delivers some renter assistance
The CARES Act established a nationwide ban on evictions for renters who were late on their rent. When that was set to expire, Trump extended the ban. But that extension, too, was set to expire at the end of the year. The new bipartisan law extends the federal eviction moratorium through Jan. 31, 2021.
It will also help guard against evictions by providing $25 billion to state and local governments to help qualified renter households pay for rent and utilities.
According to this summary of the bill:
"Assistance would be prioritized for renter households whose incomes do not exceed 50 percent of AMI [local area median income] as well as renter households who are currently unemployed and have been unemployed for 90 or more days. Financial assistance provided under this section is non-taxable for households receiving such assistance."
Funding for health care and COVID-19 vaccinations
With the US offering its first wave of coronavirus vaccinations, the proposals turn toward funding distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The bipartisan package will provide $16 billion for vaccine development and distribution, along with funding coronavirus testing and contact tracing efforts.
Read more: What to know about the COVID-19 vaccine's timeline, hidden costs and more
Money for childcare, schools and food assistance
Funding for education has been a part of proposals for more economic assistance going back to May. The new bipartisan law sets aside $82 billion for education and $10 billion for child care. The legislation also includes $13 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
State and local aid funding? Not this time
The bipartisan law splits off $160 billion for state and local aid into another package with liability guards that has not been voted on. The intention is that Congress could consider the two areas of conflict separately from the bill focused just on economic relief.
Now that months of negotiations have become law, here's what you need to know about coronavirus hardship loans, unemployment insurance and what you can do if you've lost your job.
No liability protection from COVID-19 lawsuits this round
A major sticking point through the summer and fall, Republican legislators have supported limiting COVID-19 liability to guard against lawsuits against businesses, schools, hospitals and other organizations from people who said these institutions caused them to acquire the coronavirus, except for instances of gross negligence. Democrats have balked at the plan.
The coronavirus liability shield, along with money for state and local funding, had been broken off into a separate piece of $160 billion legislation. The final stimulus law in 2020 doesn't include this, but that discussion could pick up again in 2021.
"We all know the new administration is going to be asking for another package," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Dec. 15. "We can live to fight another day on what we disagree on, but we all agree to go forward on what we can agree on. That's the way forward."