Second Round Stimulus Checks: HEROES vs. CARES Act

Getty How much would you receive in the second round of stimulus payments?

A new phase of coronavirus relief may be on the horizon in the form of the HEROES Act. The bill, which is a whopping 1,800 pages long, would provide a second round of cash payments to individuals. On Friday, a vote will determine whether the bill will pass.

How does the HEROES Act differ from the CARES Act, which was responsible for the IRS issuing checks of $1,200 in economic stimulus to qualifying individuals?

Here’s what you need to know about the differences between the HEROES Act and the CARES Act:

Direct Payments

The HEROES Act would issue payments of $1,200 per adult and $1,200 per dependent for a maximum of three dependents. This differs from the CARES Act, which provided just $500 for dependent children only, according to Forbes. If the HEROES Act passes, more individuals would be eligible for stimulus checks.

The income limits are the same as the CARES Act, meaning that an individual with no children who earns $99,000 or more would not be eligible for the payment.

As was the case with the CARES Act, the HEROES Act would direct the IRS to use your tax return information to issue payments.

Housing Assistance

The HEROES Act is farther reaching than the CARES Act in providing protection and assistance for homeowners and renters.

The bill would temporarily prohibit eviction filings for one year and foreclosures, Investopedia reported.

The Act would also provide $175 billion to states to help renters and homeowners pay their mortgages, rent and other housing costs.

Student Loan Debt

The CARES Act temporarily set the interest rate to 0% and suspended debt payments on federal student loans through September.

The HEROES Act would extend that suspension until September 2021 and include more types of student loans. It would also forgive up to $10,000 in both federal and private student loan debt, Forbes reported.

Wages for Essential Workers

Through the “Pandemic Premium for Essential Workers,” the HEROES Act would increase pay for essential workers to $13 an hour, extending from January 27, 2020, to 60 days after the coronavirus Public Health Emergency.

As Forbes reported, “The bill has limits for highly-compensated and non-highly-compensated employees but this would be a big boon for many workers who have been out on the front lines during the pandemic.”

Unemployment Benefits

The HEROES Act would extend the $600-per-week federal unemployment benefit as through January 2021. Under the CARES Act, that benefit expires at the end of July.

Prior to the pandemic, unemployment benefits were not available to self-employed individuals, independent contractors or those with limited work history. Both the CARES and HEROES acts provide COVID-19-related qualifications that extend benefits to individuals who fall in those categories.

Aid to State and Local Governments

The HEROES Act would provide more than $900 billion to states, local governments and Indian tribes and territorial governments. The intent, the Associated Press reported, is to “help prevent layoffs of public workers, cuts to services, or tax hikes.”

Nancy Pelosi Says the HEROES Act Would Address ‘Monumental’ Need

The question now is whether the bill will pass. In an interview with MSNBC on Monday, Nancy Pelosi said, “We have a big need. It’s monumental. And therefore, it’s a great opportunity to say: let’s work together to get this done. There’s a way to open the economy based on science, testing, testing, testing and let’s get on with it. That’s what we’re here to do.”

Many Republicans, however, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have said it’s unnecessary to “immediately begin work on a new aid package,” according to CBS News. “We now have a debt the size of our economy,” McConnell said. “So I’ve said, and the president has said as well, that we have to take a pause here and take a look at what we’ve done.”

A vote on the bill will take place Friday.

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