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The HEROES Act: Are You Getting Another Coronavirus Check?

Written by Samuel Taube
Posted May 17, 2020

Did you get a $1,200 coronavirus check in the last few weeks? 

If so, do you still have any of that money in the bank? No? Didn’t think so. Me neither — and I’m lucky enough to still have a job. 

$1,200 sounded like a lot of money when we first heard rumors of a COVID-19-related stimulus plan, but as we all learned, $1,200 goes quick when you’ve got mouths to feed, supplies to stock up on, and rent or mortgage payments to make. 

Fortunately, Congress is now debating a second round of stimulus legislation. It’s called the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act. (Our representatives never miss an opportunity for a corny acronym.)

If it passes — and there’s a lot more political horse-trading to be done before it passes — the HEROES Act could actually pay you a lot more than $1,200. After all, the price tag for the legislation is estimated to be $3 trillion. 

How much would you get in total? That depends on your employment situation, housing situation, and debt burden. Let’s take a look, based on the bill as it stands today...

Another Round of Coronavirus Checks and Extra Unemployment Payments

As an old Wall Street saying goes, cash is king during a recession. 

Congress, for all its economic ignorance, seems to understand this, and it’s putting another round of $1,200 checks at the center of the HEROES Act. 

The eligibility requirements for this second round of checks appear to be the same as the first round; you must be an adult taxpayer with an annual income below $75,000 to receive one. 

You can also receive $500 per dependent child in your household, up to a total limit of $6,000 per household. 

The bill also extends the $600-per-week boost to unemployment benefits originally provided by the CARES Act (the first COVID-19-related stimulus bill) until 2021. 

And if you’re an essential worker who is still braving the virus every day at your job, you could receive even more cash from the HEROES Act… 

Hazard Pay for Frontline Workers

The legislation would also set up a $200 billion “Heroes’ Fund” to provide hazard pay for essential workers. 

Employers of essential workers would be able to apply for grants to provide a wage premium of $13 per hour to each worker on top of their regular compensation. These grants would pay out up to $10,000 per worker. 

The Heroes’ Fund, as it is currently described in the draft bill, would also grant $850 million to states to provide childcare services and personal protective equipment to essential workers. 

What’s more, the bill wouldn’t just boost taxpayers’ incomes; it would also help limit their expenses. 

Help with Rent, Mortgages, and Student Loans 

Many Americans — especially lower-income workers — are in the unenviable position of being unable to earn an income, but still owing rent or mortgage payments. 

The bill would allocate a total of $175 billion to housing assistance — $100 billion to help low-income renters avoid eviction and $75 billion to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. 

It would also provide assistance to people who are struggling with educational debt. The HEROES Act would extend the CARES Act’s suspension of student loan payments through September of next year. 

The first draft of the bill also included $10,000 in student loan cancellation for all debtors, but that provision has since been walked back to focus on “distressed” borrowers who are on income-based payment plans or are past due on their loans.

The above paragraphs provide a fairly comprehensive summary of the HEROES Act’s direct payment and debt reduction provisions. But, for better or for worse, the 1,800-page bill does a lot more than that...

The HEROES Act’s Other Provisions… and Prospects

As is tradition, Congress has already attached dozens of riders onto the stimulus legislation. Some of these measures, like $500 billion in direct assistance to state governments, are at least tangentially related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Others… aren’t. 

Some of the bill’s more scattershot provisions include additional health care benefits for Native American veterans, an investment in renewable energy, and various immigration reforms. 

Given the complexity of the legislation, it’s uncertain whether or not it can pass in its current form, especially when you consider that the bill is being drafted by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives,but will need to be OK’d by the Republican-controlled Senate and White House. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has openly poo-pooed the bill already, telling reporters at a press conference last week that “this is not a time for aspirational legislation.” 

But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has reportedly been in contact with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about possible changes to the bill, implying that the White House has at least some interest in passing a modified version of it. 

It’s still too early to say what exactly the next round of COVID-19-related stimulus will look like — but it’s never too early to start planning for your financial future. 

Wealth Daily Insider provides subscribers with the education and expert commentary to weather economic shocks like a one-percenter. Click here to learn more. 

Until next time,

Monica Savaglia

Samuel Taube

Samuel Taube brings years of experience researching ETFs, cryptocurrencies, muni bonds, value stocks, and more to Wealth Daily. He has been writing for investment newsletters since 2013 and has penned articles accurately predicting financial market reactions to Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, and more. Samuel holds a degree in economics from the University of Maryland, and his investment approach focuses on finding undervalued assets at every point in the business cycle and then reaping big returns when they recover. To learn more about Samuel, click here.

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