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The first round of coronavirus benefits is over. What happens now?

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The CARES Act has officially expired, ending some benefits and protections. So where does that leave you?


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For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

On July 26, the CARES Act benefits — designed to help Americans relieve financial stresses during the coronavirus pandemic— came to an end. Currently, there is no other plan to replace it, but Republican and Democratic leaders are in negotiations over the newly proposed HEALS Act that could extend some lost benefits.

When the Senate announced the HEALS Act on July 27, there was no mention of renewing federal eviction protections but the proposal would extend enhanced unemployment (in a modified way), add a second round of stimulus checks and offer a “return-to-work bonus” of up to $450 per week. 

Here’s what we know today, what to do now that protections are over and when new benefits could take effect.


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What benefits did the CARES Act cover? 

The CARES Act provided, among other things, an additional $600 per week on top of standard unemployment wages. It also temporarily restricted landlords from evicting tenants for not paying rent. 

What does it mean for me that these protections have lapsed? 

If you’re still receiving unemployment benefits, you’ll no longer receive the extra $600 per week on your check. That ended July 26 for all Americans when the CARES Act effectively expired (the official end date was July 31). If and when a new economic relief package passes, it looks unlikely that enhanced benefits will still be $600, but rather between $200 and $500.

And if you’re behind on your rent payment, July 25 saw the end of the federal eviction protections that temporarily kept landlords from removing tenants who haven’t paid rent. If your landlord issues you an eviction notice, they’re required to give you 30 days to vacate the premises. That gives you until roughly the end of August before you legally must vacate your home. See below for some options.

cash funds running out of money change dollars wallet empty

It’s unlikely that the next round of enhanced unemployment benefits will include as much money per week as the previous relief package.


Sarah Tew/CNET

How many people are affected by the CARES Act benefits ending?

As of July 11, over 30 million people were claiming unemployment benefits. In the week ending July 25, 1.4 million people filed for unemployment for the first time, according to the Department of Labor, marking the 19th straight week of new claims. These people are eligible to receive their usual unemployment benefits, without the $600 extra weekly assistance afforded by the CARES Act. 

Over 40% of renters are at risk of eviction, according to Statista. Economists fear that mass evictions across the country are coming.

What, if anything, can do?

There are few legal protections now that the CARES Act has ended. You can see if your state, county or city has issued an eviction moratorium. If you’re behind on rent, try reaching out to your landlord if you haven’t yet and see if there’s a payment plan you can work out until you’re back on your feet, like lowering the monthly payment or pausing your payments. See here for more tips on both.

You can also seek additional assistance from a local housing coalition that may be able to help you remain in your house or find emergency housing if needed.

Another option is to apply for a hardship loan, which offers deferred repayment options so you don’t have to start paying it back immediately. The loan amounts range from $500 to $5,000 with low interest rates.

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You can apply for a hardship loan to help with your bills.


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What happens next?

The debate over the next stimulus package is ongoing and fierce. If a new bill is approved by Aug. 7 — before the Senate is scheduled to go on recess for a month — it’s possible stimulus checks could go out as early as the week of Aug. 24. That could also be around the time other benefits begin or return.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans trying to figure out what the next steps are, we’ve got more information to help you. Here’s the difference between the HEALS, CARES and Heroes acts, when your new stimulus check could come from the IRS and how much stimulus money you could get.


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