Halfpoint Images | Moment | Getty Images
Millions of Americans have received some form of financial support from the government to help them get through the Covid-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus has prompted the federal government to send three sets of stimulus checks, increase federal unemployment benefits and extend the duration and eligibility of those benefits, provide forgivable loans to small businesses and implement new tax credits for families.
It started with the CARES Act that Congress approved in March 2020, and continued with follow-up legislation in December and American Rescue Plan Act that was put through in March.
One year into the crisis, the question now is how long some of those tools will stay, or how soon similar programs could kick in if another crisis were to occur.
“It’s not crazy to suggest taking some of the pieces of the CARES Act and recognizing that these might be useful to have on the books in the future,” said Richard Prisinzano, director of policy analysis at the Penn Wharton Budget Model at the University of Pennsylvania.
More financial help will depend on what lawmakers can agree on. But based on the past year, experts have some ideas about what would make sense for American families.
People line up outside a newly reopened career center for in-person appointments in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 15, 2021.
Amira Karaoud | Reuters
The American Rescue Plan Act strengthened the jobless benefits available to Americans through September. That includes an extra $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits.
In addition, the law increases the number of weeks those benefits are available and makes the first $10,200 of income from those checks exempt from federal income taxes.
Now, some new proposals, including one by Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Michael Bennett of Colorado, seek to make those kinds of enhancements permanent.
The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, is also collaborating with other researchers to publish a paper on this kind of strategy, according to research director Josh Bivens.
Generally, the idea would be that once the unemployment rate starts to rise — to anywhere from 5% to 8%, for example — the generosity of unemployment benefits would automatically increase, along with the length of time people could collect those jobless checks.
To further strengthen the system, benefits should also be made available to include non-traditional gig workers, as well as those who are looking to enter the labor force, such as stay at home parents or recently graduated college students, Bivens…
Go to the news source: Covid-19 prompted new financial aid to Americans. Could it continue?