CORONAVIRUS USA

Second stimulus check: CARES Act versus HEROES Act, what are the main differences?

The first round of stimulus payments were sent out via the CARES Act but the Heroes Act includes aid for those who were not eligible in the original relief package.

Second stimulus check: the CARES Act versus the HEROES Act, what are the differences?
Mary Calvert REUTERS

The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act - or 'Heroes Act' promises to provide a further $3 trillion in economic relief for struggling American workers. The bill made it through the House of Representatives by 208 votes to 199 on 15 May but is expected to face much tougher opposition when it eventually reaches the Senate this month. The White House has already threatened to veto the bill and the Republican-controlled Senate has promised it will be “dead on arrival” when debated.

The CARES Act, signed into law in late March, laid out around $290 billion in economic aid payments to US citizens with adults receiving a check for $1,200 plus $500 for each dependent. However, the $2.2 trillion package, which was approved by the Trump administration, omitted some living in marginal conditions, including immigrants and their families. The main difference between Heroes Act and CARES Act is that the Heroes Act is designed to be more comprehensive and addresses many of the flaws that were in the first relief package. 

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The first round of stimulus checks have been sent out to American citizens and a second round is being discussed. Republicans disagree with Democrats on some aspects of a new round of stimulus aid - some argue that it is vital that the country gets back on its feet and the economy revitalised before adding to the nation's spiralling debts. Some Republicans have openly declared that they won’t support the legislation.

The CARES Act ensured Americans received financial help in the form of stimulus checks worth up to $1,200. That money could be spent on groceries, rent and utility bills. Now, the US government is under pressure to deliver more help. The Trump administration suggested a CARES 2 Act, which is very similar to the original but would include one-off payments of up to $2,000. Since then, the focus has shifted entirely onto the Heroes Act. 

The main differences between CARES Act and Heroes Act

The Heroes Act would see Americans who qualify for a stimulus check receive $1,200 ($2,400 in the case of joint return) plus another $1,200 for every other dependent with a maximum of $3,600 and immigrants would retroactively receive the $1,200 payment they were denied under the CARES Act. 

An extra $200 billion would be set aside for Hazard Pay,  money dedicated to essential workers. 

The HEROES Act would also allow full-time students under the age of 24 to receive payments as dependents.

It modifies the requirements regarding the provision of a valid Social Security number (SSN), which some dependent immigrants do not have and as a result, missed out on the stimulus payments through the CARES bill. It would require individuals, at least one spouse for married couples, and dependents to provide taxpayer identification numbers, which include SSNs and Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers issued by the IRS to some individuals who aren’t eligible for SSNs but must file a U.S. tax return

There are no changes however to the original act in that people who earn over $75,000 do not make the cut for the maximum amount and it reduces by 5% above the amount of the stimulus check. For example, as explained by Forbes, a person who makes $99,000 and has no children would not receive a stimulus check.

The Heroes Act adjusts the language of the bill to reduce the benefit designed for just that person to $0. Under the Heroes Act, joint filers with just one TIN would receive a $1,200 check from the CARES Act.