That nightmare scenario is about to come true: In just a few weeks, the Internal Revenue Service will send out its final batch of coronavirus stimulus checks to cash-strapped Americans.
Then what? Well, fortunately, it appears that President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan has a few more bullets left in reserve.
Over the past few weeks, one of the most talked-about new “stimulus” checks primed to head out to many Americans is from the nearly $10 billion Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF), which aims to provide much-needed direct cash to states, territories, and tribes to support property owners.
“The purpose of the Homeowner Assistance Fund is to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020,” the U.S. Treasury Department says on its website.
“Funds from the HAF may be used for assistance with mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, utility payments, and other specified purposes. The law prioritizes funds for homeowners who have experienced the greatest hardships, leveraging local and national income indicators to maximize the impact,” it adds.
In order to be eligible to receive direct cash from this fund, the Treasury Department says that a homeowner must have experienced financial hardship after January 21, 2020, have income equal to or less than 150 percent of the area median income, have proof of the stated financial hardship, and have a mortgage balance of less than $548,250.
Do be aware that financial help is on the way for renters as well. The latest estimates indicate that more than eleven million Americans are behind on their rent payments and many could be pushed out of their homes when the national eviction ban expires on June 30.
But currently, states are scrambling to send out the $45 billion in rental assistance green-lighted by Congress to address the ongoing housing crisis. However, it may take weeks for eligible individuals to get their hands on these funds from their respective state governments.
For those who don’t qualify for these “stimulus” checks for homeowners and renters, know that there will be other payments heading out to millions of Americans in the coming weeks—the most notable being the expanded child tax credits.
According to the White House, these enhanced credits will target nearly forty million American families and will benefit nearly 90 percent of all children in the United States. Depending on the number and ages of dependents, eligible parents are in line to get a $250 or $300 check each month through the end of the year, with the first batch of payments slated to be disbursed on July 15.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.