Two House Democrats have introduced legislation – the Emergency Money for the People Act – that would give Americans $2,000 a month throughout the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and “until employment returns to pre-COVID-19 levels.”
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), the sponsors of the bill, think the $1,200 payments Americans are beginning to receive from the federal government as part of a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus are just not enough.
“The economic impact of this virus is unprecedented for our country. As millions of Americans file for unemployment week over week, we have to work quickly to patch the dam – and that means putting cash in the hands of hard-working families,” Ryan said in a press release.
“A one-time, twelve hundred dollar check isn’t going to cut it,” said Khanna in a press release. “Americans need sustained cash infusions for the duration of this crisis in order to come out on the other side alive, healthy, and ready to get back to work. Members on both sides of the aisle are finally coming together around the idea of sending money out to people. Rep. Ryan and I are urging leadership to include this bill in the fourth COVID relief package to truly support the American working class.”
Under the bill, more Americans would qualify for federal payments and the $2,000 monthly payment would stay in effect until employment returns to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Here are the eligibility requirements, according to Ryan’s press release:
- Every American adult age 16 and older making less than $130,000 annually would receive at least $2,000 per month.
- Married couples earning less than $260,000 would receive at least $4,000 per month.
- Qualifying families with children will receive an additional $500 per child – families will receive funds for up to three children.
- For example, a married couple making under $260K with 3 kids would receive $5,500 per month.
- Those who had no earnings, were unemployed, or are currently unemployed would also be eligible.
- Those who were not eligible in 2019 or 2018 but would be eligible in 2020, could submit at least two consecutive months of paychecks to verify income eligibility.
- The Emergency Money for the People Act also expands the program to millions more Americans who were excluded from the CARES cash rebates – such as college students and adults with disabilities who are still claimed as a dependent. The individual will receive the payment, and their parent or guardian will receive the dependent credit.
Under the bill passed last month by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump, individuals are eligible for payments of up to $1,200, but that amount declines for those with an adjusted gross income higher than $75,000 a year. The $1,200 payment drops by 5% of every dollar above $75,000, or $50 for every $1,000.
The benefit doesn’t apply for individuals with incomes over $99,000.
Married couples with combined incomes of up to $150,000 would receive $2,400, subject to the same phaseout that applies to individuals. The payments would be phased out entirely for couples making $198,000 or more. Families also get $500 per dependent child under the age of 16.
Paper checks for Americans without direct deposit filed with the IRS won’t start going out until next month, and some people may have to wait up to five months to see their stimulus dollars. About 100 million Americans don’t have direct deposit, Politico reported, adding that “some 5 million checks will be mailed weekly over 20 weeks.”