Coronavirus

Differences between second stimulus check and back-to-work bonus

Congress is still working on a bill that will give millions of Americans a second round of stimulus payments amid the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Differences between second stimulus check and back-to-work bonus

Since mid-March, the economy closed down in the United States because of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced millions of Americans to apply for unemployment to survive during the quarantine period. Later that month, president Donald Trump signed the CARES Act.

This bill allocated up to $1,200 per individual in stimulus payments for those that made less than six figures and expanded unemployment benefits, giving people that qualify an extra $600 a week, to help support Americans survive during the outbreak.

The economy started to reopen in several states as early as 1 May, but since there has been a spike in new coronavirus cases governors have closed down certain sectors, like bars in several counties of California. On top of that, the extra unemployment benefits will end by the end of July, leaving people with an uncertain future during the pandemic.

Last month, House Democrats passed the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion bill that includes another round of $1,200 checks that include Americans, children, college students and tax-paying immigrants. This bill also includes a capped payment of $6,000 per household. The HEROES Act was called ‘dead on arrival’ by President Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate.

Since May, there has been talk of a second stimulus payment but nothing in concrete and it is expected that Congress will come up with a bill in the beginning of August. Democrats have been pushing the Republicans to approve the HEROES Act, but they have other ideas.

Republicans want back-to-work bonuses

The reason for that is due to the fact that millions of Americans who have been unemployed since the pandemic started in the U.S. in mid-March are making more money by just staying at home than they would if they went back to work.

The reason why they are making more money is because on top of their regular unemployment payment those people are receiving an extra $600 a week to help them financially throughout this pandemic.

Back-to-work bonuses would provide extra payments to people who return to work. What exactly this would look like on the federal level is not clear, but there have been a few different proposals.

A proposal made by Sen. Rob Portman is that people returning to work would receive an extra $450 a week through 31 July. A similar proposal was made by Sen. Kevin Brady, but his idea is to give workers who accept a job two weeks’ worth of the $600 enhanced benefit through 31 July. So far, there are no proposals that have been taken up seriously.