How many thousands have relief bills added to US incomes

The COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing economic fallout prompted Congress and Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden to allocate an unprecedented amount of direct aid to tens of millions of Americans during the past year.

Many families have received assistance primarily through two programs: direct payments, often referred to as “stimulus” checks, and a weekly boost of unemployment benefits.

Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed Wednesday, provides another round of help through both programs.

The checks will be the largest of the past year for individuals with adjusted gross incomes less than $75,000 ($1,400) and couples filing jointly with incomes less than $150,000 ($2,800). 

Though this bill’s payments are bigger than those sent under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act passed in March, fewer people will receive them because as adjusted gross income rises, the payments phase out to zero more quickly.

For those who are unemployed, including the 9.5 million additional jobless Americans since last February, the checks can be supplemented again with federal unemployment benefits that augment state aid. 

The American Rescue Plan unemployment benefits will extend for as long as the two other relief programs combined, but the benefit will be half of last March’s $600. 

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Source: USA Today – Breaking News

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