Politics Covid relief programs are starting to expire for millions of Americans
Research: India's deaths during pandemic 10X official toll
NEW DELHI (AP) — India's excess deaths during the pandemic could be a staggering 10 times the official COVID-19 toll, likely making it modern India’s worst human tragedy, according to the most comprehensive research yet on the ravages of the virus in the south Asian country. Most experts believe India's official toll of more than 414,000 dead is a vast undercount, but the government has dismissed those concerns as exaggerated and misleading. TheMost experts believe India's official toll of more than 414,000 dead is a vast undercount, but the government has dismissed those concerns as exaggerated and misleading.
Sixteen months after the coronavirus pandemic upended the economy and left millions of Americans out of work, theCongress put in place are set to start expiring.
Lawmakers rushed in March 2020 to cushion the financial blow wrought by the virus by approving a wide array of financial relief measures. Congress, as well as the Trump and Biden administrations, then extended the protections several times as the pandemic continued to plague the nation.
Rent relief efforts slowly ramp up as millions could soon face eviction
With just over a week left until the federal eviction ban expires, the race to get emergency rent relief to as many struggling tenants and landlords as possible is in its final stretch. © Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram/Getty Images A new 95-unit affordable housing development in Long Beach, California. "It is a race against the clock," said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. After a slow start, the pace of distributing the $46 billion for rent relief that was allotted in the December stimulus package and the American Rescue Plan has improved.
But now, even asonce again as the Delta variant spreads, millions of Americans will soon begin losing their federal safety nets. And there's less appetite among the Biden administration and lawmakers, including many Democrats, to extend them again.
are scheduled to end later this week, with following the first weekend of September. The pause on and are due to expire at the end of September.
Here's what to know:
Federal housing protections are ending
The federalissued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is at the end of July, putting millions at risk of losing their homes. The agency and the White House have said it will not be extended again.
Provider relief fund dollars aren't up for grabs
Investing in our country’s infrastructure is clearly a national priority, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of America’s seniors.The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the financial foundations of every sector of our nation's economy, and senior living facilities - home to approximately 2 million Americans in their golden years - are no different. This is why Congress appropriated $178 billion to help ensure providers, such as assisted living communities, recover and continue to provide care and housing for these seniors.
In its wake, a patchwork of protections and off-ramps to protect renters until rent assistance funds arrive may remain in some places. The $46 billion in federal, approved by Congress in its last two rescue packages, will continue to be distributed through states, cities and local entities.
Some states extended their own eviction protections including, which has an eviction ban in place until August 31, and , which has extended a ban through September. Although hasn't extended its ban, tenants there have until the end of February to repay the amount owed between April 2020 and June 2021.
Other places have created an "off-ramp" for struggling renters newly unprotected from the eviction ban but who have yet to receive rent relief. In, for example, lawmakers have for nonpayment of renters who are in the process of applying for rent relief until June 2022. Still others have created "eviction diversion" programs which involve mediation between landlord and tenant before evictions can proceed.
Lawmakers Call for Federal Eviction Moratorium Extension at Capitol Protest
An 11-month freeze on rental evictions ended on Saturday, leaving more than 10 million Americans facing potential homelessness.The 11-month moratorium was originally introduced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when the COVID-19 pandemic first swept the country—and later extended—expired on Saturday night.
If you still need assistance to cover rent or to help pay back rent, there is a searchable list of available programs at theand also one managed by the .
The federal ban on foreclosures, which protects homeowners with government-backed loans, is also set to expire at the.
Homeowners with a loan backed by US Department of Housing and Urban Development, US Department of Veterans Affairs or the US Department of Agriculture, who have not entered into a forbearance program, which allows them to defer or delay their payments, will be able to enter into that program through September, as will those with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac-backed mortgages who have a coronavirus related hardship.
There are about 1.75 million people who remain in forbearance, down more than 50% from its pandemic peak, according to the. In order to assist those homeowners with getting back to routine payments and avoiding foreclosure, the Biden administration and HUD are offering streamlined aiming to help homeowners stay in their homes.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls Out Democrats for Letting Eviction Moratorium Expire
"There was frankly a handful of conservative Democrats in the house that threatened to get on planes rather than hold this vote," Ocasio-Cortez said.The New York Democrat said she could not "in good faith blame the Republican Party when House Democrats have the majority.
Expanded unemployment benefits end by Labor Day
The three pandemic jobless benefits programs are set to expire the first weekend of September in the states that are continuing them -- which will affect an estimated 7.2 million people, according to Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation.
Everyone in state and federal jobless programs will lose the $300 federal weekly supplement. Also ending are payments to those in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs.
The former provides benefits to freelancers, independent contractors, the self-employed and certain people affected by the coronavirus, while the latter extends the duration of payments to those receiving regular state unemployment benefits.
All three were created by Congress in March 2020 and were extended to early September as part of thethat signed in March.
The programs' expiration, however, will impact only about half the country. That's because 23 states haveat least one of the pandemic programs, and is scheduled to halt the $300 weekly boost after this week. ( had to restart the programs and had to continue paying the benefits after state courts ordered them to do so.)
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Some 3.6 million people lost some or all of their unemployment compensation in the states terminating the programs early, Stettner said.
After the pandemic payments end, the jobless will only be able to access state benefits, which typically last 26 weeks though some states are currently providing as few as 14 weeks. But the state program is not open to certain out-of-work Americans, including freelancers, the self-employed and those who can't return to work because of health or childcare issues stemming from the pandemic.
A few states are also offering extended benefits of up to 20 weeks because of continued high unemployment rates.
Also expiring in early September are federal flexibilities that have allowed state unemployment agencies to hire temporary staff and call centers to handle the crush of people filing for benefits. While the numbers are far lower than they were at the start of the pandemic, they remain elevated, and state agencies are still contending with backlogs and fraudulent claims.
Beefed up food stamp benefits cease at the end of September
A 15% increase in food stamp benefits will expire on September 30. The enhancement was first implemented in thel that Congress approved in December and then extended in March.
The boost provides about $27 more per person, per month.
Lawmakers augmented the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as food stamps are formally known, because of an increase in hunger during the pandemic.
Biden’s big attempt at equity in agriculture hits dead end
Court fights have stalled debt relief to amend past discrimination; now the administration has to decide how to fight for it.The estimated $4 billion program is under siege by conservative legal groups — including one founded by close aides to former President Donald Trump — who have filed at least 13 lawsuits arguing the debt relief effort unconstitutionally discriminates on the basis of race.
The standard benefit typically doesn't last the entire month -- prior to the increase, it didn't cover the national average meal cost in 96% of counties, according to a recently released Urban Institute report. After the enhancement, that figure dropped to 41%.
At least six states have stopped or will soon end another food stamp enhancement that Congress enacted in March 2020. The provision increased recipients' allotment to the maximum amount for their family size, but states have to have an emergency measure in place for the federal government to provide the additional funding.
More than 42.3 million Americans were receiving food stamps in April, according to the most recent data from the US Department of Agriculture.
Federal student loan payments to restart
on October 1, after an unprecedented 19-month suspension that was put in place to provide financial relief to borrowers during the pandemic.
Borrower balances have effectively been frozen for more than a year, with no payments required on federal loans since March 2020, when Congress first authorized the pause as part of one of its first major Covid relief packages. The benefit was later extended by both the Trump and Biden administrations.
During this time, interest has stopped adding up -- saving the average borrower about $2,000 over the first year -- andhave been on hold.
The relief is even more significant for those who work in the public sector and may be eligible for loan forgiveness after 10 years. They are still receiving credit towards those 10 years of required payments as if they had continued to make them during the pandemic, as long as they are still working full time for qualifying employers.
Both the pause on payments and interest waiver is automatic, but only applies to federally held loans. That covers roughly 85% of all federal student loans, including those known as direct federal loans and PLUS loans that parents have taken out on behalf of their children. It excludes some federal loans that are guaranteed by the government but not technically held by it. Generally, those were disbursed prior to 2010.
It's possible for the Biden administration to extend the pause on payments again, but it has so far. Led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, they have repeatedly asked President Joe Biden to push the date back until at least March 31. Schumer and Warren have also led calls for Biden to permanently cancel $50,000 per borrower.
The Backstory: My brother is one of millions who won't get the COVID-19 vaccine. I asked why. Here are his reasons, my responses. .
Overwhelming evidence shows vaccines save lives. But those against the shot are adamant in their beliefs. The biggest problem: Trust.Today, our front page encourages people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. I agree completely with the message because overwhelming evidence shows vaccines save lives, but wonder if it will make a difference. Those against the shot are adamant in their beliefs.