Stimulus Check Update: Homeowners Could Be Entitled to More Money
by Christy Bieber | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on June 15, 2021
If you're a homeowner, you may not have to wait for a fourth stimulus check to get your hands on more government money.
The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March and is best known for the $1,400 stimulus checks that it provided.
Unfortunately, many Americans have long since spent this money and are now left hoping for a fourth stimulus check that will likely never come as Congress and the Biden administration have moved on to other priorities.
But for homeowners, there's actually a possibility of more stimulus money coming even if lawmakers do not pass any further COVID-19 relief legislation. That's because the American Rescue Plan also provided $10 billion to a Homeowners Assistance Fund.
Unlike the $1,400 stimulus checks, though, you will need to take action to get your part of this money if you're eligible for it. As a result, homeowners need to understand how the HAF works and what criteria they must meet in order to be eligible for additional stimulus money from it.
Here's what you need to know.
Stimulus money is available to certain homeowners
Under the terms of the American Rescue Plan Act, homeowners can become eligible to receive stimulus money from the Homeowners Assistance Fund provided certain criteria are met. They must:
- Have an income that doesn't exceed 150% of the area median income
- Have experienced financial hardship after Jan. 21, 2020 and be able to provide proof of the hardship. Examples include healthcare expenditures or a job loss
- Have a mortgage balance below $548,250 as of 2021
For eligible borrowers, the money can be used for many different home-related expenses including:
- Mortgage payments
- Homeowners insurance
- Utility payments
- Other specified purposes
The goal of the HAF fund in the American Rescue Plan Act was to help prevent homeowners from becoming delinquent on their loans; losing their utility services; going into default on their mortgage; or facing foreclosure. The law also makes clear that homeowners who have "experienced the greatest hardships" should be prioritized.
How can homeowners get their stimulus money?
The American Rescue Plan Act allocates money from the Homeowners Assistance Fund to the states. Each state will receive a minimum of $50 million. Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico will also receive at least $50 million.
States will provide details about the application process and any specific eligibility limitations to homeowners within their borders. If you are interested in applying and hoping to get more financial relief from the federal government in your bank account, you should find your state's housing agency website to learn the details about applying in your area.
While not every homeowner will get a piece of this additional stimulus money, it could be the best and only source of direct payments that's coming any time soon due to the fact that a fourth stimulus check is so unlikely to be authorized.
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