These Americans Are Set to Receive Up to $10,000 in Stimulus Money

by Maurie Backman | Published on Nov. 16, 2021

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Some people may have another windfall coming.

Key points

  • It has been months since the last round of stimulus checks was approved.
  • Some renters may still be in line for a substantial amount of assistance.

When the American Rescue Plan was signed back in March, it didn't just send stimulus checks flying into recipients' bank accounts. It also supplemented an existing pool of rental assistance funds designed to help tenants catch up on past-due rent and stay in their homes.

There was money allocated to rental assistance in December 2020 as part of the second stimulus bill approved in the course of the pandemic. But in March, that pot of money increased substantially, totaling roughly $46 billion.

Rental assistance is being distributed at the state level, and that money won't come automatically. Those in need of that aid need to apply through different state programs.

Each state has its own rules and policies in that regard. Not everyone who's eligible for rental assistance is entitled to the same amount of aid. That's because, for the most part, that assistance is calculated based on individuals' specific housing expenses.

Furthermore, some rental assistance applicants may be capped at certain amounts of aid, depending on where they live. In New Jersey, where housing costs tend to be relatively high, some counties are limiting applicants to a total of $10,000 in rental assistance per household. But still, a lot of struggling renters could soon see a large pile of money come their way.

Who's eligible for rental assistance?

Generally speaking, the rules for qualifying for rental assistance are uniform across all states. To be eligible for aid, you or at least one member of your household must attest to the fact that you've either lost income, incurred substantial expenses due to the pandemic, or lost a job completely.

You'll also need to prove that you're at risk of becoming homeless in the absence of aid. Usually, you can satisfy this requirement with a past-due rent notice. Now that the federal eviction ban is no longer in place, landlords are once again allowed to have tenants removed from their homes on the basis of not paying rent. A notice saying you're behind on your payments should suffice.

Furthermore, to qualify for aid, your income for 2020 cannot be higher than 80% of your area's median income based on your household size. For example, in New Jersey's Monmouth County, your 2020 income can't exceed $54,950 if you're a one-person household. For an eight-person household, that limit increases to $103,650.

Apply for aid immediately

If you haven't applied for rental assistance yet, it pays to do so as quickly as you can to avoid losing your home. Though some states have extended eviction protections in place that may spare some renters from getting evicted in the near term, in many states, those protections are gone. Even in states where they still exist, those protections could run out soon. In New Jersey, for example, there's still a state-level ban on evictions for some renters, but it expires at the end of 2021.

Though many states have been slow to process rental assistance applications, that money has been slowly but surely trickling in. So if you're eligible for aid, it pays to get the ball rolling as soon as you can.

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