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HEROES Act: All About The Second Round Of Stimulus Check

The House of Representatives recently passed a $3trillion bill known as The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. This bill would provide relief for Americans who lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The HEROES Act is a second stimulus check passed ever since the pandemic began. 

The HEROES Act aims to provide a $1,200 base payment to eligible individuals and $2,400 for married couples filing a joint return. It would also provide an additional $1,200 for each dependent ( maximum of 3 dependents). For instance, a married couple with 2 children could get benefits up to $4,800.

The HEROES Act bill exceeds the cost of the $2 trillion CARES Act, the largest stimulus package in the history of the United States. Though the House has approved the bill, it is now up to the Senate to pass this second round of stimulus check.

What’s Included In The HEROES Act?

The second stimulus check or the HEROES Act includes several key provisions. Some of them are:

1. Hazard Pay

The HEROES Act aims at providing stimulus for essential workers. The bill would create a $200 billion “Heroes’ Fund” to provide hazard payment to the eligible workers. That is, the essential workers would get a $13 per hour pay premium in addition to their regular pay earned for total hours worked in essential sectors through the end of 2020. Essential workers earning less than $200,00 per year can get up to $25,000. And those who are earning more than $200,000 per year can receive up to $5,000 hazard pay.

2. Extended Unemployment Benefits

About 36.5 million Americans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and about 30+ million have filed for unemployment benefits. The HEROES Act would extend the financial measures from the CARES Act. This includes extending the extra $600 weekly unemployment benefit through January 2021. The second stimulus package will also allow the self-employed, gig workers, independent contractors, and part-time workers to take advantage of unemployment benefits through March 2021.

3. Changes To The Employee Retention Credit

The HEROES Act includes several provisions to the employee retention credit. The Act would increase the maximum credit amount from $5,000 to $36,000 per paid worker. It is also expected to change the 100-employee rule for determining wages for large employers. Under the HEROES Act, an organization with more than 1,500 full-time employees and gross receipts of more than $41.5 million in 2019 will be considered as a large employer.

4. Expansion Of The Paycheck Protection Program

The CARES Act has introduced the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that allows small businesses to borrow a loan up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll cost. This program was expected to end on June 30, 2020. The HEROES Act would extend the PPP through the end of 2020 and increase the 8-week loan use period to up to 24 weeks. The Act would also allow small businesses with 10 or fewer employees to get access to PPP. 

5. Rental And Mortgage Assistance

The renters across the country have received little federal support since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. The HEROES Act would offer more support by providing about $100 billion for rental assistance. The benefit would be distributed through an existing nationwide grant rental assistance program. The rental program would cross-verify a tenant’s inability to pay rent and provide vouchers to cover the cost of the rent. The Act would also $75 billion for homeowners’ assistance funds meant to avoid mortgage defaults and property foreclosures.

6. Student Loan Forgiveness

The CARES Act suspended payments and interest for most Americans with federal student loans through September 30, 2020. The HEROES Act extends suspension through September 2021 and expands it to all federal student loans. This includes Federal Perkins Loans and HEAL loans not owned by the Department of Education. It also cancels up to $10,000 for some private and federal loan holders.

Closing Thoughts

The HEROES Act can provide additional financial relief to the people who have lost their jobs or are experiencing reduced work hours if approved by the Senate. But will the Senate pass the second stimulus check? Let’s wait and watch! 



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