November 13, 2020

Biden’s stimulus plan: A second payment, bigger Social Security checks and more

Biden's stimulus plan: A second payment, bigger Social Security checks and more


Biden's stimulus plan: A second payment, bigger Social Security checks and more

Biden won’t be sworn into office until January, but he says he’ll be ready on Day 1.


Sarah Tew/CNET

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the voting in November and its aftermath.

President-elect Joe Biden won’t be sworn into office until he’s inaugurated on Jan. 20, but he’s already addressing the coronavirus pandemic and the country’s economic recovery. He established a COVID-19 task force to help prevent the spread of the virus, which continues to break its record number of new daily infections, reaching 150,000 new cases on Thursday.

Biden’s economic plans also include containing the coronavirus and extending more unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans. Even before the elections, Biden developed the Emergency Action Plan to Save the Economy to explain the direction he may take once he’s in office. 

Biden’s initial plan — which we sum up below — pulls some elements from the CARES Act, such as stimulus payments for eligible Americans — while also suggesting new measures to provide additional financial help. During a press conference on Nov. 10, he called for more stimulus aid to help struggling Americans although Democrats’ and Republicans’ negotiations for more money appear to be deadlocked

Here’s what may be on Biden’s mind.

Biden's stimulus plan: A second payment, bigger Social Security checks and more


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Biden would send more stimulus checks

The CARES Act, passed in March, was the first stimulus package intended to help people financially affected by the pandemic. One of the most popular aspects of the act was a stimulus check of up to $1,200 sent out to more than 160 million Americans. That direct aid caused a jump in household spending, helped millions at risk of slipping into poverty and allowed others to save

Biden’s plan, like the one President Donald Trump is backing, will include more direct stimulus payments, but it doesn’t specify how many or for how much, or if any of the qualifications would change. Democrats and Republicans are currently negotiating for more stimulus relief that would include another round of direct payments, but the clock is ticking to get a bill passed.

Read moreYou don’t have to be a US citizen living in America to get a stimulus check

Biden's stimulus plan: A second payment, bigger Social Security checks and more

Stimulus checks are just the beginning.


Angela Lang/CNET

Unemployment benefits would get extended

COVID-19 lockdowns across cities led to an unprecedented spike in unemployment, with more than 20 million people having lost their jobs back in May. To help those unemployed suddenly, the CARES Act provided a weekly bonus payment of $600 on top of unemployment benefits provided by the states. These extra funds expired at the end of July, and Trump restarted a smaller version of the bonus in August via an executive memo. This temporary relief provided $300 extra for six weeks and has since been exhausted; only a new stimulus package would provide more funds. (Here’s every benefit that dries up if the stimulus isn’t renewed.)

Biden’s plan doesn’t go into specifics about how much funding may be available. It does say a bill would improve unemployment benefits. 

Larger Social Security checks

There were no measures to boost Social Security in the CARES Act or in other relief packages since then. Biden’s stimulus plan calls for an additional $200 to be added to the monthly payments that go to Social Security recipients. 

Forgive federal student loan debt

Included in the CARES Act was a forbearance for student loans. Individuals who owed money wouldn’t need to make payments or see any interest accrue until “the end of September,” according to Biden’s stimulus vision. If implemented in the future, there would, of course, be a different cutoff date.

Back in August, Trump extended the forbearance until the end of 2020. Biden’s plan goes a different direction by offering a loan forgiveness of a $10,000 minimum. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a Democrat and former presidential candidate, outlined a plan to forgive the federal student loan debt back in September.

Other measures mentioned in Biden’s plan

Biden’s plan also includes additional relief:

  • More money for small businesses
  • Emergency sick leave for everyone who needs it
  • Fiscal relief for states
  • No out-of-pocket money for COVID-19 testing, treatment and an eventual vaccine

For more information on the stimulus package situation, read how to calculate your stimulus money, why you might receive an EIP card instead of a check and all the reasons your next check could be bigger.



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