I found this article in ‘MoneyWise’:
At long last, about nine months after Americans received their first coronavirus aid payments from the government, the IRS is now distributing a second round of cash to give consumers and the overall economy a financial lift.
New “stimulus checks” and direct deposits started going out last week. Most people are getting $600, just half as much as last time, after a last-minute attempt to raise the amount to $2,000 hit a dead end in the U.S. Senate.
But — with unemployment still high and millions more Americans now living in poverty versus early in 2020 — the battle over additional relief isn’t done. President-elect Joe Biden is promising to push for more checks after he’s sworn in on Jan. 20.
Will he be able to deliver?
Senate runoffs may hold the key to more cash
Georgia Republican US Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler
TAMI CHAPPELL / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock
Republican incumbent U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are trying to hold on to their seats.
Biden has referred to the current $600 checks as a “down payment” on what’s to come once he’s in office.
At a news conference days before Christmas, he talked about his plans for a new coronavirus rescue package. A reporter asked if it would include more direct payments — and in what amount?
“Look, that’s a negotiating issue,” Biden said. “But it will, yes it will.”
Many struggling consumers have been eager for the government to keep sending cash. Americans largely used their first stimulus payments for basics like groceries and utility bills, a survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found.
Some also invested the money, the survey said, or used it to meet various other needs. Those may have included buying affordable life insurance, as sales of life insurance policies have surged amid the pandemic.
Whether Biden succeeds in getting a third round of stimulus checks may depend in large part on Tuesday’s pair of runoff elections in Georgia that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.
The Republicans currently in charge killed the proposal to boost the new payments from $600 to $2,000; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the plan would have sent “thousands of dollars to people who don’t need the help.”
What if you need more than $600 right now?
Poor family counting money to pay bills at the table at home
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock
An estimated 7.8 million more Americans are in poverty versus a year ago.
Statistics indicate many people are still in financial pain: The U.S. has 10 million fewer jobs and an estimated 7.8 million more people in poverty compared to early in 2020, and a census survey released in mid-December found that more than 85 million Americans are having trouble paying rent and covering other regular expenses.