The IRS has begun sending out COVID-19 stimulus money, with Americans receiving up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per dependent child. But for most people who are struggling, a single coronavirus stimulus payment won't be enough -- especially if the great lockdown continues.
Some lawmakers are aware they haven't done nearly enough, so support is growing for a proposal that would provide at least $2,000 in monthly stimulus money to most Americans. And this payment would continue automatically for the next six months.
Support grows for monthly coronavirus stimulus money
While there are no votes scheduled in Congress for a second stimulus payment at this time, support is growing for the Emergency Money for the People Act. In fact, this Act, which started with 18 co-sponsors, has gained an additional 10 since its introduction on April 15.
If it passes, it would provide:
- $2,000 in stimulus money to every American 16 or older with an income under $130,000. Married couples with no children would receive $4,000 if they have an income under $260,000.
- $500 per qualifying child for up to three children. A married couple with three children and an income under $260,000 would receive $5,500 monthly.
Those claimed as dependents would qualify too. They'd receive a stimulus payment, and their parent or guardian would still receive $500 in dependent credits.
Those with no past history of earnings would also get the money, as would individuals and families who wouldn't have been eligible based on 2018 or 2019 earnings -- they'll simply have to submit two consecutive months of paychecks to show eligibility.
More stimulus money is definitely on the table
The Emergency Money for the People Act would bring the U.S. response more in line with some other countries, including Canada, where the government has promised payments of 2,000 CAD per month over the next four months.
It would also meet growing need for more assistance, as more than 6 in 10 Americans have said they'll need another influx of funds within the next three months.
But even though passage is far from certain, Congress members from both sides of the aisle have acknowledged demand for additional aid is high among Americans. And President Trump indicated in a press conference in mid-April that the government could "very well do a second round," of stimulus payments.
So those waiting for additional cash have strong reason to hope more COVID-19 money will come -- and it could even continue on a monthly basis during the duration of the coronavirus crisis.
What to do while you wait for help to come
If you're waiting for more stimulus help, it's a good idea to look into options currently available to you if you're struggling.
The CARES Act, the bill that authorized the initial stimulus payment, also expanded unemployment benefits, boosting weekly benefits by $600. There are also programs aimed at helping small businesses, which some independent contractors and gig workers could take advantage of.
You'll also want to be sure you received the correct amount of coronavirus stimulus money during the first round of checks and make smart choices about whether you save, spend, or invest that money.