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On Dec. 27th, 2020, a new $900 billion pandemic relief bill became law. This federal stimulus package follows the CARES Act, signed earlier this year, which was set to expire at the end of December.

For many members, this will provide relief in the form of direct payments, unemployment benefits, small business loans and more. 

Direct Payments

Americans who made less than $75,000 in 2019 will receive a direct payment of up to $600 per adult and child. This is $100 more per child and up to $600 less per adult than was allocated for in the CARES Act. It will include mixed-status families, whose members include people with different citizenship or immigration statuses. Married couples making less than $150,000 will receive $1,200 in direct relief.

This round of stimulus payments could begin as early as Dec. 27. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will start by issuing funds to those whose bank information they have on file, which is the same way that CARES Act direct payments were deposited this past spring. In the meantime, consider setting up deposit alert notifications in your mobile app* or online banking to get an email, push notification or text message letting you know when your payment has deposited. Others will receive checks or prepaid debit cards in the mail.

As with the last round of direct payments, be on the lookout for potential scams from phishing emails, phone calls and copycat websites. Scammers will use this government service as a way to gain access to your personal information. Keep your information secure and watch for any suspicious activity. 

Unemployment Benefits 

The new relief package continues the existing Enhanced Unemployment Insurance benefits, and provides an additional $300 per week for 11 weeks from December through mid-March for unemployed Americans. 

This legislation also extends 2 additional unemployment programs: the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which is created specifically for gig workers, freelancers, independent contractors, the self-employed and others, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which is for those who exhaust their regular state benefits.

The application deadline for both of these programs is in mid-March 2021. The benefits will last until early April 2021 for existing claimants. 

Small Business Assistance 

The bill also reopens the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through the Small Business Administration, allocating $284 billion to support small businesses. The new bill also dedicates $15 billion for live entertainment venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions, as well as expands eligibility to more nonprofits, local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters.

Additionally, businesses who previously received funding through PPP are eligible to apply for a second PPP loan if they employ fewer than 300 employees and can show that revenue has fallen by 25%. The maximum loan amount will be $2 million.

Learn more about COVID-19 assistance for small businesses.

Other Areas of Relief 

The bill also contains a number of conditions that support members in a variety of ways, such as:

  • extending eviction moratoriums for all renters until Jan. 31, 2021
  • tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave and to help keep workers in jobs during coronavirus closures or reduced revenue
  • support for education providers, including aid to help reopen classrooms safely
  • child care assistance
  • increased child nutrition benefits
  • better broadband access to help Americans connect remotely during the pandemic
  • ban on surprise medical bills
  • funds for vaccine distribution, COVID testing and tracing

As the nation continues to deal with this time of economic uncertainty, your Navy Federal Credit Union team remains committed to serving you and your families. Visit our COVID-19 page for more information on Navy Federal’s relief offerings.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.