What the stimulus package means for Hoosier wallets

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Millions of American families and businesses could soon see some relief during the coronavirus pandemic.

The White House and Senate agreed to a historic $2 trillion stimulus package.

Of that, $250 billion has been set aside for direct payment to people and families. That number translates to $1,200 per person, $2,400 for couples and an additional $500 per child.

Anyone with an individual income is under $75,000 is automatically eligible. The payment would scale down by income and would phase out entirely at $99,000 and $198,000 for couples without children.

"I think for the average person this should be a sigh of relief," said UIndy finance professor Matthew Will.

"It’ll help in the sense that it’s money, but I don’t think it’ll actually solve everyone's problems," said financial planner Peter Dunn.

Dunn, known by many as Pete the Planner, doesn't know for sure when the relief checks will be sent out. People set up for direct deposit from the IRS could get their money quicker, but for others it may not come until late April or early May.

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"The payments for many probably aren’t going to get here for many people until May. Sometimes people's financial ships will have sailed by then," said Dunn.

The good news is it appears people with little or no tax liability as well as those on social security will be eligible and there is no need to apply.

"All you have to do to get it is keep washing your hands, stay at home and you’ll get your check. That’s how you qualify," said Dunn.

Because COVID-19 has forced so many businesses to shut down, another $350 billion in loans will be available to small employers, with $500 billion for big businesses.

Both Matt and Pete agree that money is critical to the long term recovery of the economy.

"These companies aren’t rich with profits. Let's say you make 5-10 percent profit at best and you’re shut down for a month. You can’t pay your rent and you’re out of business," said Will. "These businesses employ the people, so if people don’t have a job to go back, to what good does it do?"

$250 billion will also be used to shore up unemployment insurance. That will help guarantee people laid off will still get paid.

"Employees pay into an unemployment insurance pool. That’s going to run out of money.  We’re going to have record filings this week alone. The money companies set aside will disappear instantly," said Will.

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