President-elect Joe Biden isin January. But with both the House and the Senate back at work now, Washington has time to take up a problem that can’t wait until next year, with the expiration of assistance programs created with the in March.
Theare set to expire by Dec. 31 unless on another that could include a second .
The CARES Act established programs to help American individuals and small businesses financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump added more aid in August when he signedafter the CARES Act provisions petered out. These final programs will lapse on Dec. 31. Legislators and leading economists agree more aid is needed.
“We’ll have a stronger recovery if we can just get at least some more fiscal support,” Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said Nov. 5, acknowledging that Congress has the power to approve stimulus funding. However, legislators have competing approaches.
The size ofare hotly contested along party lines. Congressional Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, prefer a larger package with more programs. Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, want a smaller bill with less funding. It isn’t clear if a future Senate proposal would include or more unemployment aid.
Until more stimulus aid arrives one way or another, here are the key programs that are set to end.
Extension of federal unemployment benefits
Individual states handle unemployment insurance claims, determining if a person is eligible, how much they receive and for how long they can collect. Though it varies from state to state, the. Starting on Jan. 1, those additional 13 weeks provided by the federal government are gone.
Some states have already backfilled the void on their own, including increasing their benefit period up to 59 weeks, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Others, including Alabama, Arkansas and Utah, haven’t taken action on it, which could leave unemployed workers in those states without assistance as the new year begins.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program
Another initiative of the CARES Act, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, also known as, provided economic relief to those who wouldn’t typically qualify for unemployment: self-employed workers, contractors and gig workers. The PUA is set to end Dec. 31. If the federal government doesn’t extend it, it will be up to the states to determine whether they will step in on Jan. 1.
Weekly $300 extra unemployment check
The average weekly unemployment benefit doesn’t always equal a worker’s earnings and typically ranges between $300 and $600. To help fill the gap, theadded a . When that bonus expired on July 31, Trump signed an executive memo paving the way for a smaller $300 weekly bonus (for a six-week period) with the expectation Congress would soon pass another relief package. That hasn’t happened, and most states have exhausted the six weeks of extra funding. The $300 bonus provision is set to end on Dec. 27, according to the president’s memo, and is expected to sunset unused.
Eviction moratorium for renters and homeowners
Theprovided limited protection on evictions by only focusing on homes backed with a federal mortgage loan or households that received some type of federal funding. The by the Centers for Disease Control, which called for a halt on evictions for failure to pay rent. This order by the agency covered more households, including renters in 43 million households, but it also has an expiration date of Dec. 31.
Federal student loan deferments
Students who are paying off federal student loans also received a reprieve under the, which gave them the option to defer their loan payments (and which paused the accrual of interest) until the end of September 2020. In August, . On Jan. 1, loan servicers will once again be able to charge interest on these loans and students may have to resume paying them off unless the servicers offer deferment options.
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