As we wrap up this truly unusual year, I wanted to share important information about both the Covid Relief Package passed last week by Congress, as well as news about a new testing site I am co-sponsoring in Glenview that will open in January.
SECOND STIMULUS BILL PROVIDES RELIEF FOR INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES
Here are the highlights so you know what to expect.
Individuals and Households
Direct Payments. Individuals making up to $75,000 a year will receive a payment of $600, while couples making up to $150,000 will receive $1,200, in addition to $600 per child. In addition, the bill will retroactively make mixed-status families with one Social Security number-holder eligible for the $1,200 per household and $500 per child checks allocated by the CARES Act, which was enacted in late March. Eligibility information is available here. Payments will begin to be mailed next week.
Among other targeted grants, the bill also includes:
- $13 billion in increased SNAP and child nutrition benefits.
- $25 billion in rent assistance.
- $12.9 billion for the education of children with disabilities.
Unemployment Benefits. Pandemic Unemployment Programs set to expire on December 26, 2020, will be extended 11 weeks through mid-March.
- Benefits will be capped at $300/week for most workers.
- Payments will be retroactive to December 1st but will not cover any period where benefits lapsed between March and December 1st. Benefits will continue to March 14, 2021, for most employees.
- An additional benefit of $100 a week is possible for those who earned at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income but did not qualify for the earlier Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefit because they are eligible for state jobless aid.
- Allows states to waive overpayments made without fault on the part of the individual or when such repayment would violate equity and good conscience.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. The measure included $4.25 billion to provide increased mental health and substance abuse services and supports, including grants for programs like:
- Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics;
- Suicide prevention programs;
- Project AWARE to support school-based mental health for students;
- Emergency Grants for States; and
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
Vaccines. The legislation includes money to ensure fair and equitable distribution of approved vaccines using the tiered approach developed by the CDC. The availability of vaccines is managed by local public health offices. Check these sites for the latest information:
- IDPH: https://www.dph.illinois.gov/
- Cook County: https://cookcountypublichealth.org/
- Evanston: https://www.cityofevanston.org/government/departments/health-human-services
- Skokie: https://www.skokie.org/158/Health
Businesses and Nonprofits
Small Business Assistance. The new pandemic relief package restarts the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and creates the PPP “Second Draw Loans”. Once guidelines are finalized, information can be found on the website of the Small Business Administration.
The measure also creates a simplified loan forgiveness process for recipients of PPP loans of $150,000 or less.
Industry-specific Assistance. Among other provisions, the bill directs funds to help several sectors hit hard by the pandemic. It allocates:
- $10 billion for child care assistance to help working parents and child care centers;
- $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools;
- $15 billion for live venues such as museums, concert halls, and movie theaters;
- An increase in the amount of PPP loan organizations in the hospitality sector can obtain (3.5x payroll, vs. 2.5 previously); and
- Expands PPP loan eligibility to include 501(c)(6)s charitable organizations.
Details are being worked out on how these new funds will be managed and distributed.
COMING SOON: COVID-19 TESTING SITE AT FLICK PARK IN JANUARY
I am happy to report that we have collaborated with the team from Northshore Clinical Labs to bring a free testing site to our district at Flick Park in west Glenview starting the first week of January. Detail about specific dates and hours will follow. For now, here’s what you need to know.
- Although free, the site will require you to sign up for appointments in order to avoid crowding and delays.
- You should bring an insurance card if you have one, but it is not required.
- Expect to spend 10 to 15 minutes at the testing facility.
- Please follow all safety protocols: wear your mask, practice social distancing, and avoid touching surfaces.
I hope this finds you safe and well, and all my best for a healthy, happy New Year. Please contact my staff at 847.486.8810 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or for assistance with these programs.
Stay safe and stay well.
Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz