HSC MEDICAL BILLING

COMMUNICATION  

December 22, 2020
Edition # 12
What is in the Second Stimulus Package?

Yesterday, Congress released the text of its 5,593-page package of legislation that includes an extension of federal funding through the remainder of the fiscal year, $900 billion in new COVID-19 relief, and "surprise" medical bill protections, among other things. We will send another e-newsletter tomorrow with medical billing related provisions.

The Senate approved the bill with a 92-6 vote at about 11:45 p.m. Monday, just a couple of hours after the House approved it 359-53. The measure now goes to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it into law.

Stimulus Checks
This package includes direct stimulus payments of $600 to individuals, the stimulus will once again be sent to people below a certain income level. As of Sunday night, this level has not been set. Eligible families will also receive an additional $600 per child.

Unemployment Benefits
Under this new package, unemployed individuals would receive a $300 weekly federal enhancement in benefits for 11 weeks, from the end of December through mid-March. This agreement also extends, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to include benefits to gig workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and the self-employed and certain others affected by Coronavirus. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will provide an additional 13 weeks of payments to individuals that have otherwise received all benefits.

Small Business Loans
This bill would reopen the Paycheck Protection Program. This means that some of the hardest hit small businesses will be able to apply for a second PPP loan. The PPP loan program will be expanded to include eligibility for nonprofits organizations, news outlets and independent restaurants. This second package, also, carves out $15 billion for live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions, which were not included in the first package.

Businesses that received a PPP loans in the spring with the first round of PPP loans and have had them forgiven, will be allowed to deduct the costs covered by those loans on their federal tax returns. While the issue had been a point of contention, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said the costs would be deductible under the final agreement.

Funding for Schools and Childcare
This would provide $82 billion in aid for K-12 schools and colleges, with an additional $10 billion included for childcare providers.

Nutrition Assistance
This package would raise SNAP benefits by 15% for six months, this does not expand eligibility. This bill would also expand the Pandemic EBT program to families with children under age 6, deeming them "enrolled" in childcare - which makes them eligible for benefits.

Vaccine Funding
The agreement provides $20 billion to purchase vaccines so that be available at no charge and $8 billion for vaccine distribution.

This bill does not include any direct aid to state and local governments.

Information for this article was gathered from CNNPolitics article Second stimulus package: See what's in it.

Please contact Brenda Wallace, CPA, CMPE, CEO at bwallace@hsccpa.com for more information.
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