President Obama’s stimulus package passed both houses of Congress. Lots of provisions to stimulate the economy. Here’s how it directly affects me, right now.
Making Work Pay Credit: The bill provides a $400 credit per worker and a $800 credit per dual-earner couple. The full credit would be paid to people making $75,000 or less ($150,000 per dual-earner couple). A partial credit would be paid to those making above those amounts but no more than $100,000 ($200,000 for couples).
The credit would also be refundable, which means that even very low-income families who don’t make enough to owe income tax would be able to claim it.
For most working individuals, the credit will be paid over time at roughly $15 per period, assuming 26 pay periods in a year. Estimated cost: $116 billion.
And should things continue to go south for financial companies, and I lose my job (God forbid, knock wood, and pretty much every other superstitious way I can think of to prevent that from happening):
Health insurance help for the jobless: The bill includes provisions to help eligible jobless workers pay for health insurance under Cobra. Cobra coverage allows newly unemployed workers to keep health insurance provided by their former employers for a period of time.
For workers who have been laid off between Sept. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009, the government will subsidize 65% of their premiums under Cobra for up to 9 months.
Those people laid off between Sept. 1, 2008, and the day the stimulus law goes into effect, and who did not sign up for Cobra, will get an additional 60 days to do so and receive the subsidy.
The subsidy will be limited to those whose income for the year is $125,000 or less ($250,000 for couples filing jointly). Estimated cost: $24.7 billion.
Another provision provides states funding to help pay for expanded Medicaid rolls for workers who’ve lost their jobs and can’t afford health care on their own or can’t get Cobra coverage because their former employer doesn’t offer a health care plan. Estimated cost: $87 billion.
Unemployment benefits: The bill provides jobless workers with an additional 20 weeks in unemployment benefits, and 13 weeks on top of that if they live in what’s deemed a high unemployment state, of which there are now about 30. Estimated cost: $27 billion.
In addition, the weekly unemployment benefit will temporarily increase by $25 on top of the roughly $300 jobless workers currently receive. Estimated cost: $8.8 billion.
Plus, the first $2,400 of benefits in 2009 would be exempt from federal income taxes. Estimated cost: $4.7 billion.
I hope that no one I know, and none of my readers have to take advantage of these latter two provisions.