Third round of pandemic relief could provide $1,400 checks to millions of Americans
$ 1,400 Checks, Tax Credits, and Suspended Evictions - Jill Schlesinger, Business Analyst at CBS News, shares some of the key proposed benefits of the latest stimulus package.
GAYLE KING: House plans to vote on the Biden government's massive COVID relief package this week. Is facing a really tough road in the Senate where Republicans say it's just too much money. Last April, the Treasury Department sent 1,200 checks to millions of Americans. In December, most of these taxpayers received an additional $ 600. This latest proposal calls for an additional payment of $ 1,400, along with other benefits. CBS News Business Analyst, that's Jill Schlesinger, joins us to clear it all up for us. Jill, good to see you. Let's start with the $ 1,400. Who gets it in this new plan?
JILL SCHLESINGER: If you have an income of up to $ 75,000 as an individual or an income of $ 150,000 as a couple, you will likely receive this check for $ 1,400. A few differences from the last two checks, namely $ 12.00 and $ 600, these $ 1,400 are also suitable for elderly relatives. You have a smaller amount for kids for the first few rounds and this is for older kids, those college kids. And they'll likely get the full $ 1,400.
Opting out means you will get less money if you cross these thresholds, and if you make more than $ 100,000 as an individual, you will be phased out completely. And that would be more than $ 150,000 - sorry, $ 200,000 as a couple. So these are numbers that are really good for families, and I'm really excited about this dependent number -
GAYLE KING: Yeah.
JILL SCHLESINGER: Because it really helps a lot more families.
GAYLE KING: I will say. Older relatives you mean over 18? Do you mean this? Or over 21?
JILL SCHLESINGER: Exactly.
GAYLE KING: Over 18? OK.
JILL SCHLESINGER: All relatives. Even if you are in your twenties and your loved ones. So if you're in college, you still get the check for $ 1,400. That's big.
GAYLE KING: Let's talk about the unemployment rate. 10 million Americans are still unemployed. Are there any unemployment benefit plans in this plan?
JILL SCHLESINGER: Absolutely. Keep in mind that the plan, which was passed in December, brought in an additional $ 300 in federal benefits for people who are unemployed. That number is said to increase to $ 400 per week on top of your state unemployment. And, by the way, gang don't forget this, is taxable income for you. There are no stimulus checks. These are taxable dollars. But what is really interesting is that other momentum comes out in March. March 11. This would probably lead us to this additional unemployment by the end of August. That would be good news because many of these jobs are not coming back. It will be a long time before people find new jobs.
GAYLE KING: And you know that, Jill. It kind of picks up on what you just said. Many families still have financial problems. Is there anything else on the bill that would help you?
JILL SCHLESINGER: There are great efforts being made to help the people who are hardest hit by COVID. And these are the people who are making less than $ 50,000. There are some really important aspects. An extension of sick leave and paid sick leave for families. This is very important for those who do not currently have insurance. It is also likely that the child tax credit will increase to $ 3,000 per child. $ 3,600 if your child is under six.
And then a big piece for this tax season. The earned income tax credit. This is usually for low wage Americans. You will expand the level at which you can receive it. If you put these three things together, it will be of great help to American families. It's also why the $ 1.9 trillion price is gradually rising due to all of those extras that weren't included in previous plans.
TONY DOKOUPIL: Yes, Jill, one more point of help. A minimum wage of $ 15 may currently be on the bill. If that survives, will it survive, how hopeful should people feel now?
JILL SCHLESINGER: I don't think it will survive. It is technically questionable whether this can actually be achieved through a budget vote, and so it is likely that Democrats will pass it. Just as a reminder, many places have a minimum wage of $ 15. Many states are moving in this direction. I think we are on the way to a minimum wage of $ 15. By the way, you think it sounds like a lot of money. It's about $ 31,000 a year. So we're not talking about paying people $ 100,000 a year. I don't think it goes into that bill, but the Democrats, led by Bernie Sanders, are really pushing this hard.
TONY DOKOUPIL: All right. We will see. Jill Schlesinger, thank you very much. I want to make a mention here about the Robinhood stock trading platform, which is increasing customer support after being accused of not providing enough help to customers, and in one case about the alleged lack of help causing the death of a young man. Now Robin Hood says it is adding hundreds of full-time registered financial agents. It did it last year. That number will double this year. In a statement, Robinhood said, "We want to make sure we are there for customers, especially in time-sensitive situations," and specifically mentioned live phone support for customers with option issues.
This is exactly the problem Alex Kearns faced. You may remember we told you about Kearns. He's a 20-year-old who mistakenly believed he'd lost nearly three quarters of a million dollars on failed options deals. He took his own life last year after Robinhood failed to respond to multiple emails for help. We talked to his parents about it.
Do you think if Robinhood had someone manning an email account or picking up a phone, Alex would be here today?
DOROTHY KEARNS: Absolutely.
DAN KEARNS: Yeah. I have no doubt.
DOROTHY KEARNS: He just wanted an answer.
DAN KEARNS: He just needed a little help. He could have gotten answers to these questions and there was no one to do it for him.
TONY DOKOUPIL: The Kearns family has brought an unlawful death lawsuit against Robinhood. The trading app said at the time it was devastated by the Kearn's death. This could help other families. You hope for your family, of course, because ...
GAYLE KING: Unfortunately ...
TONY DOKOUPIL: Because that ...
GAYLE KING: Unfortunately, it won't help the Kearns family, but it sounds like Robinhood is listening.
TONY DOKOUPIL: Yes, yes. You are definitely taking action.
Anthony Mason: One would hope.
GAYLE KING: What did you want to say, Anthony?
ANTHONY MASON: No, I hope you're listening.
GAYLE KING: Yeah.
ANTHONY MASON: There was a demonstration at the Congressional hearing and they again received a taped message. Yes it's like.
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