The US government has recently distributed its second round of stimulus checks, offering a one-off sum of $600 to anyone who applies and meets the criteria. The first round of checks was issued in March 2020, offering $1,200 to households who have felt the pinch during the covid pandemic.
The scheme was designed to help every American who may have suffered financially in the last year, although the payment is available to anyone and everyone in the US, regardless of whether they are still employed and have suffered financial hardship.
To be eligible, you must have an income of less than $75,000 per year or $150,000 for households with joint incomes. You, as a US citizen would get a check this time round of $600 and also a check for anyone under 17 years of age in your household. This money can typically be transferred straight into your checking account or you can find out the status of your payment using the government’s portal via the IRS.
“The stimulus checks of $600 are not enough to truly help Americans” – Rick Dent, Finger Finance
The CEO of an American loans provider has raised his concerns about the stimulus checks, stating that the $600 amount is too low to truly help Americans.
“Its true,” explains Rick Dent, founder of Finger Finance. “The US had to react in some way to increase unemployment and how covid-19 has financially impacted various families and households.”
“But in reality, the average American has a national wage of $2,500 per month, so whilst $600 is a nice addition, it is hardly going to have a huge impact on the larger population.”
“Understandably, some people have been hit very hard by covid-19 and their businesses and livelihood have taken a huge turn, with an extra 787,000 Americans declaring unemployment since covid-19 started around 12 months.”
“The stimulus checks will certainly help some households that really need it, but people are also making huge savings by not travelling to school or work, going out to restaurants, holiday camps, vacations, sport or music events – so the overall savings are substantial for middle class households. Meanwhile, children under 17 get the same amount as someone who is single, unemployed and in the labor market. It’s strange.”
“Hindsight is a great thing, but a tiered approach for stimulus checks could have been more effective here, offering higher amounts to people with incomes below $25,000 or $10,000 per year, rather than giving people earning as much as $75,000 per year, the same amount as those living in more or less poverty.”
“The danger of course is that people might have to look elsewhere to top up their incomes, whether it is using high cost payday loans (especially in areas where it is dominant such as payday loans in California or Texas), revolving credit debt or even selling their property or valuable items.”
How the UK and Europe has handled covid-19 schemes for households and employees
The UK and other parts of Europe have offered a furlough scheme for employees who can earn as much as 80% of their regular wage, without having to work, covered completely by the government. You can check your eligibility for furlough here.
This certainly helps with household income and this should not change their quality of life. You may typically spend 20% of your income on travel, food or work clothes, so you are more or less breaking even, with the added disposable income of not going on holiday, restaurants, live events etc.
You can also apply for a bounce back loan of up to £50,000, depending on the turnover and income of your company, with instant approval and payments available in 24 hours. An incredible service.
However, with the furlough scheme, it questions what will happen to this large group of individuals claiming it (between 8 to 9 million britons) – will they have a job when they return? How will this affect unemployment rates, income and benefits?
Moreover, how can we have up to 9 million hard-working people sitting at home and doing nothing for so long?
There is ultimately no perfect resolution, since both the stimulus checks and furlough are an attempt by democratic governments to restore some order in a very difficult time.
But ultimately, the best thing that could possibly come is a return to normality – and hopefully with the vaccinations well under way, we are getting that little bit closer to the world we once knew.