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A new secret benefit is coming that’s even better than stimulus checks

Published Jun 2nd, 2021 2:22PM EDT
Stimulus update
Image: methaphum/Adobe

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In addition to having now received three rounds of direct stimulus checks at this point, President Biden’s administration has accelerated the creation and rollout of a slew of other stimulus benefits, including tax breaks and other checks outside of the three previous payments which were for $1,200, $600, and $1,400.

For example, in just over a month from now, the IRS is going to start distributing a monthly series of, for all practical purposes, new stimulus checks even though they’re not technically a fourth round of payments. They comprise an expansion of the federal child tax credit, something that the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that Biden signed into law back in March made possible. And there are plenty of other stimulus benefits, including some that ordinary taxpayers might not even be aware of. The latest stimulus update that people might want to learn about, for example, includes something called the Homeowners Assistance Fund. Here’s what that is, and how it might affect you.

The meaning behind this fund is right there in the name and pretty self-explanatory. The idea here is for a pot of money to be available to help homeowners struggling with things like mortgage payments as well as taxes, association dues, and other payments associated with homeownership. Even the payment of things like utility bills and insurance costs. “The American Rescue Plan provides nearly $10 billion for states, territories, and Tribes to provide relief for our country’s most vulnerable homeowners,” a fact sheet from the Treasury Department explains.

“Applicable funding uses include delinquent mortgage payments, allowing Americans across the country to take a step in the right direction toward household stabilization. These necessary actions will minimize foreclosures in the coming months, alleviate emergency shelter capacity, and mitigate potential COVID-19 infections.”

As of the time of this writing, there is not currently a way for homeowners themselves to apply for or request a portion of this funding. It’s still early days, but here’s what’s in the works along these lines:

  • The Treasury Department is going to divvy up at least $50 million to every state in the US, money that will need to be all spent by September 30, 2025.
  • The money will be distributed through state housing programs.
  • In order for a homeowner to eventually receive a piece of this funding, they’ll need to have a mortgage balance of less than $548,250 this year.
  • The homeowner will also need to have suffered a hardship of some kind, such as losing a job, though the money can be applied to a number of things including homeowner’s association fees and delinquent property taxes.

And while you’re keeping an eye out for more details about this benefit, meanwhile, there are still others to be aware of — including something called the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund. As we noted previously, this funding is meant for states, counties, and cities, which will be allowed to distribute it to households that have experienced hardship because of the pandemic.

Here’s what the US Treasury has to say about that pot of money: “Local governments will receive funds in two tranches, with 50% provided beginning in May 2021 and the balance delivered approximately 12 months later. States that have experienced a net increase in the unemployment rate of more than 2 percentage points from February 2020 to the latest available data as of the date of certification will receive their full allocation of funds in a single payment; other states will receive funds in two equal tranches.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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