HELP’S ON THE WAY
Lawmakers reached an agreement on the biggest stimulus package in US history.
Great. What does that mean for me?
It depends on your situation. Most Americans will get a one-time payment of $1,200. And families get an extra $500 per child. If you make above $75k, you won't get the full $1,200, and those making above $99k don't qualify. The gov will decide how much to give you based on your gross income from your latest tax returns (think: from 2018 or 2019 taxes).
What if I'm unemployed?
This new package lets more people to qualify for unemployment benefits. Those who lost their jobs would get whatever their state usually provides for unemployment, plus $600 per week for up to four months. And those who aren't typically eligible for benefits including gig workers (think: Uber, Lyft drivers) and freelancers will be covered.
When will I get my check?
First, Congress needs to finish voting on the bill. Last night, it passed unanimously in the Senate. Now it goes to the House, where it's expected to pass tomorrow. After that, the timeline for actually getting the checks is unclear. But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Americans would receive checks within three weeks. The money could be sent out electronically or by mail.
What else does this bill cover?
$367 billion have been set aside for small businesses (think: for loans to help pay workers or pay rent). $130 billion for hospitals fighting the coronavirus. And industries like airlines can get some relief from the package's $500 billion loan fund. But businesses from the Trump family or any senior gov official don't qualify for loan money.
This is the third coronavirus relief package that lawmakers and the Trump admin have worked on to provide some ease from the financial fallout. But as historic as this package is, it's still unclear if it will be enough to help Americans and industries deal with an uncertain future.
Psst...Getting a check in the mail is good news. But here's what else the coronavirus could mean for your wallet.
As the spread of COVID-19 continues, the UN is urging countries to release some of its prisoners because "physical distancing and self-isolation in such conditions are practically impossible." And to consider releasing the elderly population (who are more susceptible to the virus) and low-risk offenders.
Public health and prison officials have warned that cramped and unsanitary conditions in prisons are a breeding ground for the virus. And that it not only endangers inmates but also staff – who could spread it to their families and communities.
In the US, President Trump has said his admin was considering releasing older, nonviolent prisoners from federal prisons. But action is already happening on the state and county level: New York, California, and Ohio are releasing older and terminally ill patients. Prisons and jails across the country are taking precautionary measures like screening staff for fevers and limiting visitors. And some police officers are being asked to minimize the number of nonviolent arrests.
What's come to a close…
This investigation. Yesterday, prosecutors in Turkey announced the indictments of 20 Saudi nationals for the murder of Washington Post columnist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi. Reminder: Khashoggi was killed in October 2018 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Now, following a similar conclusion made by the CIA in 2018, Turkish officials concluded that Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered in a planned murder.
Not so fast: The accused are apparently in Saudi Arabia. Despite Interpol being involved, the kingdom is reportedly refusing to let them be extradited to Turkey. That prevents the case from moving to a trial, because Turkish law requires the defendants to be present in court for a trial to proceed.
This AI program. Scientists have reportedly developed a program that uses artificial intelligence to screen people for lung cancer. The software looks for DNA mutations – that may lead to cancer – in a person's blood. Although the program is still in its experimental stage, doctors are hopeful that it proves its worth and can make lung cancer screening as simple as a routine blood test.
Pornhub. Earlier this week, the adult entertainment streaming giant said it's donating 50,000 surgical masks to health care workers and first responders in New York City. And will make its premium content free for users worldwide for 30 days due to COVID-19. The goal: to encourage people to stay home to flatten the curve, and provide everyone with "an enjoyable way to pass the time."
Say "yes" this time.