How to Get Help This Year
The Coronavirus pandemic hit us unexpectedly — and it hit us all hard.
There has been a lot of change in a very short space of time. Some might even call it upheaval. No matter what your circumstances were before the world shut down, things have certainly different now. Plans have shifted, trips have been postponed, goals have been put on hold, and life has to a large degree been rescheduled.
Getting financial assistance from the government may be seen by some as socialist in its principles, but there is no denying the help that folks need right now and the government has stepped up in quite a few ways. The unemployment benefits put in place have saved many Americans from being out on the street, or going hungry at a time when things could have been so much worse.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 has also granted an extension of those benefits up to September 6, 2021, for people already receiving unemployment. This means people who qualified for unemployment benefits will get an automatic additional payment of $300 every week until September 6, 2021.
It isn’t just folks who lost contract work that are getting a hand up. Gig workers are also being looked after. The government announced the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for self-employed or gig workers. If you were working as an independent contractor and found yourself fully or partially unemployed due to COVID, the PUA program probably played a huge part in helping cover some financial obligations over the past year.
Your benefit amounts are calculated based on previous earnings. If you were eligible for PUA, you also received $600 per week through July 31, 2020. With the extension, you still receive this amount through September 6, 2021.
The American Rescue Plan which was passed in March gave Americans $1,400 stimulus checks, as well as an expanded child tax credit. The IRS has also devised a way to give folks a break. The Internal Revenue Service put into place tax refunds up to $10,200 as an individual up to $20,400 if married filing jointly for unemployment compensation. This will allow taxpayers who earned less than $150,000 in modified adjusted gross income to access this benefit.
COVID saw people and their families being hit by financial uncertainty and adversity. If you haven’t claimed any of the benefits available to you, it would be worth finding out if you or your family qualify and get as much assistance as you can. Some can be claimed retroactively for up to 50 weeks, so you could end up with a lot more than you think if it is due to you.
It has been an incredibly hard road to walk for all of us over the last year, but when we all pull together this great nation will push through to the other side of the pandemic stronger and wiser than before. These aren’t handouts, they are hand-ups. Everyone deserves a little help sometimes and these dark days demand more help than ever before.
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