Even as vaccinations for COVID-19 continue to be developed and distributed, people and businesses are still in desperate need of financial help. Here’s what we know about the state of things now and where we might be headed.
* The American Rescue Plan has passed the House of Representatives. You may have seen this referred to as the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. It may pass the Senate as well, but it could look different when it emerges. The biggest controversy involves whether the Senate may use the bill to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next four years.
If this bill passes by March 14, the extra $300/week unemployment benefit supplements will increase to $400 per week, continue through August 29th and provide up to 23 weeks of additional benefits. The bill also contains a $1400 per person ($2800 per married couple filing jointly) plus $1400 per dependent rebate credit, $7.25 billion for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, and other support for small businesses and individuals.
* President Biden extended the federal foreclosure moratorium and mortgage forbearance procedures through the end of June 2021. This is expected to keep a potential tsumani of foreclosures at bay, at least temporarily. There doesn’t appear to be any plan as of yet for dealing with what could be hundreds of thousands of homes that could be delinquent when forbearance periods expire. This is particularly concerning in Missouri, which does not require foreclosures to go through the state courts. We expect a large rush of Chapter 13 filings (or re-filings) for borrowers who are unable to come up with months of mortgage payments at a time, even with another potential stimulus payment.
* The system for the Kansas Department of Labor appears to be working again to allow unemployed workers to get the benefits they need to stay afloat. Due to the massive fraud in the system (which has even hit our firm!), the Department took down the site for some time to investigate fraud and see if they could enhance security. However, expect delays still with large numbers of workers still waiting for weeks or even months of past due benefits. The Kansas legislature is also investigating and hopefully will be able to help reach a balance between paying workers quickly and eliminating the fraud that has cost the system substantially.
If you are in need of financial assistance, don’t wait until the last minute. Contact us even if some help is on the way. We offer free consultations and take the time to understand your financial situation and recommend solutions in and out of bankruptcy. We remain…here to help.