FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives will likely give final passage to President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
The package is being called the American Rescue Plan. It sets Kentucky up with billions of dollars in aid, including $1,400 stimulus checks for the majority of Kentuckians.
"Unless you're very high income, you're going to receive a stimulus check," explained Jason Bailey from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.
Bailey said under the plan's current eligibility guidelines, payments will be sent to 4.1 million Kentuckians - 92% of the state's population.
"Most all those people will get $1,400 dollars per person in the household, so that includes children," said Bailey.
So, for example, a family of three will receive $4,200 if the adults in the household meet eligibility requirements.
People who earn up to $75,000 as an individual or up to $150,000 as a married couple qualify for the stimulus checks. Any more than that, the payments quickly phase out. Those who make $80,000 as an individual or $160,000 as a couple will not get anything.
But those who do qualify and have children, you also get an expanded tax credit. The Child Tax Credit was previously $2,000 per child and the entire credit applied to annual tax filings. Under the American Rescue Plan, the amount increases to $3,600 per child under 6 years old and $3,000 per child ages 6-17. It also pays out half of the credit in installments. So, families can expect those checks.
"A portion of it will be delivered monthly so people will receive monthly checks, probably starting in July through the end of the year," explained Bailey.
For example, a family of four - with children ages five and eight - will receive child tax credit payments of $550 a month. That's on top of a $5,600 stimulus check.
This money will come in handy for many people who have been struggling over the past year. The latest Census information shows 37% of adults in Kentucky report having trouble affording regular household expenses.
Bailey said the American Rescue Plan is an economic lifeline for Kentucky. Without it, he says the results would've been catastrophic.
"We'd have over 100,000 who would lose unemployment benefits this week. We know those folks are already living check to check. They're struggling to make ends meet," said Bailey. "That problem would've compounded, and it would've brought the whole economy further down."
The American Rescue Plan extends special unemployment insurance programs that were set to expire this week. The plan will keep providing the extra $300 per week in unemployment benefits over the next few months.
The measure also exempts the initial $10,200 people received in unemployment benefits last year from being taxed, if their household earned less than$150,000 in income.
$4.2 billion is also expected to go to Kentucky for state, local and tribal governments. $2.2 billion will go to Kentucky K-12 schools.
Other funding includes money for distributing the COVID-19 vaccines, aid for small businesses, and help for renters and landlords.