A $1,400 incentive check will allow 22.6 million Americans to pay their bills through mid-July – Community News
Stimulus Check

A $1,400 incentive check will allow 22.6 million Americans to pay their bills through mid-July

  • A report from Morning Consult shows that 22.6 million Americans can pay their bills with $1,400 incentive checks through mid-July.
  • The report recommended lower income thresholds, higher child benefits and expanded unemployment support to mitigate the risks the pandemic could pose.
  • The House Committee on Ways and Means took unemployment benefits through August 29, which some Democratic lawmakers said wasn’t enough.

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A $1,400 stimulus check for March 1 would help 22.6 million Americans pay their bills in full through mid-July without going into debt, according to a report released Friday by Morning Consult.

The House Committee on Ways and Means has included $1,400 stimulus checks in its stimulus bill with an income threshold of $75,000 for individuals, and Morning Consult’s report found that if those checks are delivered in March, many Americans will face financial difficulties until mid-July.

In January, about 30.2 million adults were unable to pay their bills, according to the report, but after the $600 incentive payments approved in December, there was a seven percentage point improvement from the previous months in terms of ability to pay.

“In other words, the stimulus controls didn’t drastically change the number of people who can’t pay their bills, but it did bring them closer to paying their bills,” the report said.

According to the report, financial distress was concentrated in low-income groups earning $50,000 or less per year, with 16% of respondents in those income groups reporting that their expenses exceeded their income in January.

If widespread vaccinations are successfully achieved by the end of June, economic activity should accelerate in July and reduce the need for government support, the report said. But just in case the vaccines don’t get spread at the suggested rate, here are Morning Consult’s two top recommendations to ensure Americans don’t lose the aid they need:

Lower the income thresholds for the incentive benefits and increase the child benefit

“Diversing the money sent to higher-income households to lower-income households or aiding small businesses would increase consumer spending and reduce more financial problems,” the report said.

This recommendation did not specify a threshold for individuals, but addresses the concerns of many Democratic lawmakers that lowering the threshold below $75,000 — which was the $600 threshold for the payments — will exclude many individuals from the needed help.

In addition, the report said that two-parent families spent 65% of their second stimulus checks, compared to the 60% that non-parents spent, and called for the third payment wave to increase the extra money parents receive per child.

Extend unemployment benefits until September and implement automatic stabilizers

The Ways and Means commission included an extended weekly unemployment benefit of $400 through August 29, which contrasted with President Joe Biden’s request to extend the benefit until September. The report said extending those benefits through September, along with automatic stabilizers — a budget feature that offsets economic fluctuations — will help mitigate the risks that could come with ongoing pandemic challenges.

sen. Oregon’s Ron Wyden said in a statement he would fight to get six months of unemployment benefits through September, as both stimulus and unemployment support play a “critical role” in supporting families.

“We can do both,” Wyden said.