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Is there a June rent freeze, and can landlords evict tenants? Laws, late fees and what to do – CNET

100 dollar bill with Ben Franklin's head

With millions of people’s finances disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, renters may have difficulty making rent payments. But there are resources available to help.

James Martin/CNET

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

The June 1 rent deadline is upon us. For the millions of Americans who are out of work, pressing questions about making rent are inevitable. Is there any leeway if you can’t pay in June, July or August, for that matter, and will you get evicted? What kinds of resources and protections are available to help you stay in your home during the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic?

The current economic downturn has set off a wave of rent freezes (when a government prohibits rent collection) and rent strikes (when tenants band together to stop paying rent). Meanwhile, calls for a federal cancellation of rent and mortgage payments while the pandemic lasts have grown louder.

“The hardships caused by the outbreak are not ending anytime soon,”Doug Bibby, president of the National Multifamily Housing Council, which tracks payments in 11.4 million professionally managed apartment units across the US. 

Despite the challenges facing families, Bibby highlighted a relatively stable rent situation last month. By May 27, 93.3% of US apartment renters had made full or partial payments, according to the NMHC report. 

“Each week we see new evidence that Americans are prioritizing rent and that the work apartment firms did to create flexible payment plans is paying dividends,” Bibby, said adding his support for the kind of national renter’s assistance outlined in the Heroes Act (PDF.) The bill also proposes a second $1,200 stimulus payment for individuals and is now before the Senate.

Now playing: Watch this: Best practices for safe shopping, delivery and takeout…


9:45

Some government measures are already in place. There’s the extended federal tax deadline, the stimulus checks and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s suspension of evictions and foreclosures. But it isn’t always clear which laws apply to you and which don’t — or which ones an unscrupulous landlord might try to ignore. 

Ordinances vary from state to state and city to city, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone who’s having trouble making rent. That’s frustrating, but there are ways to figure out which protections apply to you. Here’s how to work out which laws cover tenants in your area, plus how to approach your landlord once you’re armed with that information.

First, see if your rent is covered by the CARES Act

The federal CARES Act provides the broadest and strongest protections to renters. It temporarily bans evictions and late fees until July 25. It also requires a 30-day notice to vacate before you can be evicted. 

So the soonest your landlord can ask you to leave is July 25, and the soonest they can file an eviction to force you to leave is August 24. Also, they can’t charge you late fees until July 25. (The HEROES Act, which recently passed in the House of Representatives but is awaiting a vote by the Senate, would extend these protections by another eight months.)

This part is especially important. The protections spelt out in the CARES Act only applies to properties that receive federal funds and/or are financed under a federal program like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This is where things get tricky. If your landlord owns your building outright and does not get any government assistance like Section 8 money, the CARES Act would not apply to your situation.

jessica-dolcourt-troll-ihate-promo-crop-centerjessica-dolcourt-troll-ihate-promo-crop-center

Worried about making rent? You’re not alone. 

Josh Miller/CNET

If you rent a single-family house or an apartment in a building with four or fewer units, it’s going to be really hard tracking down whether this law applies to you. But if you live in a multifamily property with five or more units, you’re in luck, because there’s a tool published by the National Low Income Housing Association that’s designed to tell you if the property where you live is covered under the CARES Act. Just enter your zip code and scroll through the list of properties looking for yours. (Our computer’s tool to search within the page didn’t work for us, so scrolling it is.)

There’s one more wrinkle, however. Just because yours is not listed doesn’t mean it’s not also covered — the tool only tracks properties with five or more units. That means if you rent a single-family house or an apartment in a building with four or fewer units, even if the property falls under the CARES Act it may not be listed here. We’re still looking for resources to help you determine if your single-family, duplex or quadplex rental falls under the law and will update this story as soon as we find more information.

Other online tools that can help you find resources

donotpaydonotpay

DoNotPay offers a variety of legal services, including financial relief due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Screenshot by Dale Smith/CNET

The online legal services chatbot at DoNotPay.com recently added a coronavirus financial relief tool that the company claims will identify which of the laws, ordinances and measures covering rent and evictions apply to you, based on your location. 

DoNotPay will also draft and send a letter to your landlord on your behalf asking for either deferred payments or to waive late fees. Here’s how to set up an account and use the DoNotPay chatbot.

Nonprofit website 211.org connects those in need of help with essential community services in their area. It has also recently set up a portal for pandemic assistance. If you’re having trouble with your food budget or paying your housing bills, you can use 211.org’s online search tool or dial 211 on your phone to talk to someone who can try to help.

Another nonprofit, JustShelter.org, puts tenants facing eviction in touch with local organizations that can help them remain in their homes or, in worst-case scenarios, find emergency housing.

Look up your specific state and local resources   

The legal services website Nolo.com has a list of which states have and have not passed emergency bans on evictions. It includes links to the resolutions published by the states themselves. TheDailyBeast maintains a similar list. Protections range from almost none at all to the broad and wide, so you’ll want to know exactly what the situation is in your location. 

ellis-act-eviction-protest-sf-3458.jpgellis-act-eviction-protest-sf-3458.jpg

Demonstrators protest evictions in San Francisco.

James Martin/CNET

Many state governments across the country have suspended evictions for as long as 90 days, including New York, Arizona and California. Los Angeles residents will have up to a year after the city’s declaration of emergency ends (whenever that may be) to catch up on any rent they were unable to pay during the pandemic — with no late fees.

Court closures may create a loophole to delay eviction

Even if you don’t live in an area covered by a ban on evictions, some districts across the country have halted court proceedings during the pandemic, meaning landlords will be temporarily unable to have courts order an eviction. Political encyclopedia Ballotpedia.org has an updated list of regional court closures. Legal news service Law360.com maintains a similar list.

In Georgia, for example, where residents are petitioning the governor to suspend rent payments, the state Supreme Court recently ordered the state’s courthouses to close for all except “essential functions.” Courts can open to issue arrest warrants and restraining orders, but evictions don’t fall under those guidelines.

Additionally, some county sheriff’s departments — typically the arm of law enforcement tasked with serving eviction notices — have taken it upon themselves to stop serving evictions, as was the case starting last month in Seattle. It may be worth a call to your local sheriff’s office if you can’t turn up any information online, but you’ll also want to consult with a local real estate attorney to understand how laws in your area apply to your situation.

Ask your landlord for a reduction or extension

In almost all instances it’s probably best to work out an arrangement with your landlord or leasing agency, if at all possible. Although some landlords have reacted to the pandemic by reportedly putting even more pressure on tenants to pay upothers have risen to the occasion, some going so far as to stop collecting rent payments for the next few months.

It may be worth approaching your landlord to see if they can reduce your rent in the coming months, or let you spread payments for the next couple of months’ rent out over the next year. As renters across the country are beginning to organize rent strikes and more community leaders push for rent freezes, your landlord may prefer such an arrangement over not receiving any rent at all.

dollars-money-bills-currency-wallet-1dollars-money-bills-currency-wallet-1

If you don’t have enough money to cover rent, first see what protections are available in your area, then consider trying to work out a payment arrangement with your landlord.

Angela Lang/CNET

Just be wary of landlords who make excessive demands. For example, some are asking tenants to turn over their $1,200 stimulus check or any money received from charity as a condition for not filing an eviction order. Don’t agree to unreasonable conditions or terms you won’t be able to meet, especially if your city or state has enacted protections against such arrangements.

If you’re concerned about your financial situation these days, consider these 28 ways to save money during the pandemic and get some free financial advice from these six organizations. And if you’re one of the millions of Americans who received a $1,200 stimulus check, be sure to spend it wisely.

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How to watch SpaceX’s historic Demo-2 mission dock with the ISS Sunday – CNET

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon with two NASA astronauts on board had a successful launch on May 30.

NASA

History got put on hold this week when weather scrubbed NASA and SpaceX’s first attempt to launch astronauts to the International Space Station. The second attempt on Saturday got off the ground in spectacular, fiery fashion.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are in orbit above Earth and looking ahead to the next big step in the mission: docking with the International Space Station, which is set for early Sunday morning PT. Watch CNET’s live coverage starting at 7 a.m. PT on May 31.

The mission, called Demo-2, has had to overcome its fair share of setbacks. Not only that, but in the midst of a global pandemic, it somehow kept to its launch schedule. Rocket launches and space missions often elicit a whole range of emotions, but this one feels extra special — and the anticipation for SpaceX’s maiden crewed voyage was at an all-time high. 

We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about Demo-2, including how to watch the Crew Dragon docking and astronaut arrival at the ISS, what the mission is all about and the various livestreams you can tune in to if you want to follow along. 

What is Demo-2? 

Demo-2 is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which involves two commercial spaceflight companies, SpaceX and Boeing, building and launching crew capsules designed to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS. 

SpaceX has a history of cargo and payload launches, but this was the company’s first time sending humans off this rock. 

Now playing: Watch this: SpaceX set to to take its first astronauts into space


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When: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon successfully launched on Saturday, May 30 at 12:22 p.m. PT. The ISS docking procedure is scheduled for 7:29 a.m. PT on Sunday, May 31.

Where: The Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule blasted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The historic launch pad has previously hosted Apollo and space shuttle missions. The capsule is currently in orbit during a 19-hour flight to meet up with the ISS.

Why: NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is aimed at ending the US reliance on Russian spacecraft for ferrying astronauts to the ISS. NASA has been buying seats on Soyuz capsules since the end of the shuttle program.

This is also part of a broader NASA push for commercial partnerships. “By encouraging industry to provide human transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, NASA can expand its focus on building spacecraft and rockets for deep space missions,” the space agency said

The Crew Dragon capsule arrived at the launch site in February 2020 for final preparations.

NASA

The spacecraft: The SpaceX Crew Dragon is the human transportation version of the Dragon 2 capsule that has been used to carry cargo to the ISS. Only two astronauts are on board for Demo-2, but the capsule can be configured to carry up to seven passengers.

The rocket: SpaceX’s proven Falcon 9 rocket escorted Crew Dragon through the launch. NASA’s iconic throwback “worm” logo is emblazoned on the side of the rocket. Falcon 9s have successfully launched dozens of SpaceX missions.

The Falcon 9 booster is reusable and successfully landed on a SpaceX drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The crew: NASA assigned astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to Crew Dragon back in 2018. Both have been to space on different shuttle missions, with Hurley flying on the final flight of the space shuttle Atlantis in 2011. They are wearing spacesuits designed in-house by SpaceX.

The goal: If SpaceX passes muster during Demo-2, then NASA will certify Crew Dragon for regular flights back and forth to the ISS. The space agency is already looking ahead to this outcome and has assigned astronauts to the first Crew Dragon operational mission, which could launch before the end of the year if all goes well.

How to watch the docking live Sunday

NASA will stream the Crew Dragon docking and hatch opening on NASA TV. The docking is set for 7:29 a.m. PT and the hatch opening will happen around 9:45 a.m. PT. That will be followed by a welcoming event. 

Join CNET for live coverage of the docking and hatch opening on Sunday, May 30 at 7 a.m. PT.

Crew Dragon will dock nose-first to the ISS. You can get a preview of what the astronauts will see by trying out SpaceX’s online docking simulator

Once the spacecraft is attached, there will be a hatch opening to allow Behnken and Hurley on board the ISS. They will likely be greeted with the traditional hug gauntlet by the current ISS crew of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

Making history

NASA is viewing the SpaceX Demo-2 mission as the dawn of “a new era of human spaceflight.”  

NASA awarded the original Commercial Crew Program contracts to SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 with an eye to launching astronauts in 2017. Delays are common during spacecraft development and both SpaceX and Boeing ran into their share of hiccups. Boeing is still working through a series of technical issues that cropped up during a test flight of its Starliner vehicle in late 2019.

SpaceX, however, successfully completed the Demo-1 uncrewed round trip to the ISS in early 2019 and a critical in-flight abort test at the beginning of the year, setting the stage for Demo-2. It’s called Demo-2 because it’s still, technically, a “demonstration” rather than a full-fledged space mission. It marks the final test for SpaceX and its Crew Dragon capsule and will allow Elon Musk’s spaceflight company to achieve human-rated certification of its spacecraft. 

“For the first time in 9 years, we have now launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil. I’m so proud of the NASA and SpaceX team for making this moment possible,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted after the launch on Saturday.

Meet the NASA astronauts  

Behnken and Hurley entered preflight quarantine on May 13. Prelaunch quarantines were already standard procedure prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but NASA will add some extra steps to the process. “Hurley and Behnken, as well as those in direct, close contact with the crew will be tested twice for the virus as a precaution,” NASA said in a statement in May.   

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be SpaceX’s first human passengers when they launch on the Demo- mission.

NASA

Bob Behnken: NASA selected Behnken, an experienced Air Force pilot, as an astronaut in 2000. He last visited space on a shuttle mission in 2010. He has spent 708 hours in space, with 37 of those taken up by spacewalks. 

Behnken tweeted on May 12 that he had to get approval from his young son before launch.

Doug Hurley: Hurley, a retired Marine, was also selected as an astronaut in 2000. A veteran of two space missions, he was last in orbit in 2011 on NASA’s final shuttle mission. That adds some poetry to Hurley’s assignment to Demo-2. He was one of the last astronauts to launch from US soil and will be one of the first to do it again. 

Hurley shared his own son’s drawing of Crew Dragon in late April.

NASA has yet to decide exactly how long Behnken and Hurley will remain on the ISS. “They will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew,” said NASA. The astronauts will return on Crew Dragon and splash down in the Atlantic where they will be greeted by a SpaceX recovery vessel. 

May 30 marked a major milestone in space history. It’s not just about the patriotic overtones of launching American astronauts from American soil using an American rocket. 

SpaceX and NASA are set to pick up a dropped thread in human spaceflight, filling the void left by the retirement of the space shuttles. We are pretty good at sending robotic explorers to far-flung places in the solar system, but the stakes are always higher when human lives are involved. So far, so good.

Now playing: Watch this: NASA astronauts are about to fly a spacecraft using only…


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Psychedelic Smartphone Cases – The Casely Grateful Dead iPhone Cases Come in Four Design Choices (TrendHunter.com)

Psychedelic Smartphone Cases – The Casely Grateful Dead iPhone Cases Come in Four Design Choices (TrendHunter.com)

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Two-in-One Mobility Tablets – The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3i Has a 10.3-Inch Full HD Display and More (TrendHunter.com)

Two-in-One Mobility Tablets – The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3i Has a 10.3-Inch Full HD Display and More (TrendHunter.com)

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At-Home Pet Health Initiatives – ‘Pet Health Pal’ Offers Great Support for Pet Owners (TrendHunter.com)

At-Home Pet Health Initiatives – ‘Pet Health Pal’ Offers Great Support for Pet Owners (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) Mars Petcare has partnered with the Waltham Petcare Science Institute to help offer consumers the new ‘Pet Health Pal’ educational tool to give pet owners a bit of added support. The…
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Robotic Medication Deliveries – CVS Pharmacy is Testing Autonomous Prescription Delivery with Nuro (TrendHunter.com)

Robotic Medication Deliveries – CVS Pharmacy is Testing Autonomous Prescription Delivery with Nuro (TrendHunter.com)

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(TrendHunter.com) CVS Pharmacy has announced that customers in Texas will soon be able to enjoy the convenience of autonomous prescription delivery as part of a new pilot project being launched in partnership with…
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Is there a rent freeze in June? Can landlords evict tenants? Late fees, laws and what to do – CNET

100 dollar bill with Ben Franklin's head

With millions of people’s finances disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, renters may have difficulty making rent payments. But there are resources available to help.

James Martin/CNET

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

What happens if you can’t make rent in June? What about July or August, for that matter — will you get evicted? What kinds of resources and protections are available to help you stay in your home as you weather the financial crisis? If you’re among the millions of tenants whose finances have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic, these are pressing questions as June 1 inches closer. 

For the month of May, at least, the rent situation was relatively stable. By May 27, 93.3% of US apartment renters had made full or partial payments, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council, which tracks payments in 11.4 million professionally managed apartment units across the US. The group says there are 43 million renter households in the nation.

“Each week we see new evidence that Americans are prioritizing rent and that the work apartment firms did to create flexible payment plans is paying dividends,” the organization’s president, Doug Bibby, said in the NMHC report. “However, the hardships caused by the outbreak are not ending anytime soon,” he said, adding his support for the kind of national renter’s assistance outlined in the Heroes Act (PDF.) The bill also proposes a second $1,200 stimulus payment for individuals and is now before the Senate.

The current economic downturn has set off a wave of rent freezes (when a government prohibits rent collection) and rent strikes (when tenants band together to stop paying rent). Meanwhile, calls for a federal cancellation of rent and mortgage payments while the pandemic lasts have grown louder.

Now playing: Watch this: Best practices for safe shopping, delivery and takeout…


9:45

Some government measures are already in place. There’s the extended federal tax deadline, the stimulus checks and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s suspension of evictions and foreclosures. But it isn’t always clear which laws apply to you and which don’t — or which ones an unscrupulous landlord might try to ignore. 

Ordinances vary from state to state and city to city, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone who’s having trouble making rent. That’s frustrating, but there are ways to figure out which protections apply to you. Here’s how to work out which laws cover tenants in your area, plus how to approach your landlord once you’re armed with that information.

First, see if your rent is covered by the CARES Act

The federal CARES Act provides the broadest and strongest protections to renters. It temporarily bans evictions and late fees until July 25. It also requires a 30-day notice to vacate before you can be evicted. 

So the soonest your landlord can ask you to leave is July 25, and the soonest they can file an eviction to force you to leave is August 24. Also, they can’t charge you late fees until July 25. (The HEROES Act, which recently passed in the House of Representatives but is awaiting a vote by the Senate, would extend these protections by another eight months.)

This part is especially important. The protections spelled out in the CARES Act only applies to properties that receive federal funds and/or are financed under a federal program like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This is where things get tricky. If your landlord owns your building outright and does not get any government assistance like Section 8 money, the CARES Act would not apply to your situation.

jessica-dolcourt-troll-ihate-promo-crop-centerjessica-dolcourt-troll-ihate-promo-crop-center

Worried about making rent? You’re not alone. 

Josh Miller/CNET

If you rent a single-family house or an apartment in a building with four or fewer units, it’s going to be really hard tracking down whether this law applies to you. But if you live in a multifamily property with five or more units, you’re in luck, because there’s a tool published by the National Low Income Housing Association that’s designed to tell you if the property where you live is covered under the CARES Act. Just enter your zip code and scroll through the list of properties looking for yours. (Our computer’s tool to search within the page didn’t work for us, so scrolling it is.)

There’s one more wrinkle, however. Just because yours is not listed doesn’t mean it’s not also covered — the tool only tracks properties with five or more units. That means if you rent a single-family house or an apartment in a building with four or fewer units, even if the property falls under the CARES Act it may not be listed here. We’re still looking for resources to help you determine if your single-family, duplex or quadplex rental falls under the law and will update this story as soon as we find more information.

Other online tools that can help you find resources

donotpaydonotpay

DoNotPay offers a variety of legal services, including financial relief due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Screenshot by Dale Smith/CNET

The online legal services chatbot at DoNotPay.com recently added a coronavirus financial relief tool that the company claims will identify which of the laws, ordinances and measures covering rent and evictions apply to you, based on your location. 

DoNotPay will also draft and send a letter to your landlord on your behalf asking for either deferred payments or to waive late fees. Here’s how to set up an account and use the DoNotPay chatbot.

Nonprofit website 211.org connects those in need of help with essential community services in their area. It has also recently set up a portal for pandemic assistance. If you’re having trouble with your food budget or paying your housing bills, you can use 211.org’s online search tool or dial 211 on your phone to talk to someone who can try to help.

Another nonprofit, JustShelter.org, puts tenants facing eviction in touch with local organizations that can help them remain in their homes or, in worst-case scenarios, find emergency housing.

Look up your specific state and local resources   

The legal services website Nolo.com has a list of which states have and have not passed emergency bans on evictions. It includes links to the resolutions published by the states themselves. TheDailyBeast maintains a similar list. Protections range from almost none at all to the broad and wide, so you’ll want to know exactly what the situation is in your location. 

ellis-act-eviction-protest-sf-3458.jpgellis-act-eviction-protest-sf-3458.jpg

Demonstrators protest evictions in San Francisco.

James Martin/CNET

Many state governments across the country have suspended evictions for as long as 90 days, including New York, Arizona and California. Los Angeles residents will have up to a year after the city’s declaration of emergency ends (whenever that may be) to catch up on any rent they were unable to pay during the pandemic — with no late fees.

Court closures may create a loophole to delay eviction

Even if you don’t live in an area covered by a ban on evictions, some districts across the country have halted court proceedings during the pandemic, meaning landlords will be temporarily unable to have courts order an eviction. Political encyclopedia Ballotpedia.org has an updated list of regional court closures. Legal news service Law360.com maintains a similar list.

In Georgia, for example, where residents are petitioning the governor to suspend rent payments, the state Supreme Court recently ordered the state’s courthouses to close for all except “essential functions.” Courts can open to issue arrest warrants and restraining orders, but evictions don’t fall under those guidelines.

Additionally, some county sheriff’s departments — typically the arm of law enforcement tasked with serving eviction notices — have taken it upon themselves to stop serving evictions, as was the case starting last month in Seattle. It may be worth a call to your local sheriff’s office if you can’t turn up any information online, but you’ll also want to consult with a local real estate attorney to understand how laws in your area apply to your situation.

Ask your landlord for a reduction or extension

In almost all instances it’s probably best to work out an arrangement with your landlord or leasing agency, if at all possible. Although some landlords have reacted to the pandemic by reportedly putting even more pressure on tenants to pay upothers have risen to the occasion, some going so far as to stop collecting rent payments for the next few months.

It may be worth approaching your landlord to see if they can reduce your rent in the coming months, or let you spread payments for the next couple of months’ rent out over the next year. As renters across the country are beginning to organize rent strikes and more community leaders push for rent freezes, your landlord may prefer such an arrangement over not receiving any rent at all.

dollars-money-bills-currency-wallet-1dollars-money-bills-currency-wallet-1

If you don’t have enough money to cover rent, first see what protections are available in your area, then consider trying to work out a payment arrangement with your landlord.

Angela Lang/CNET

Just be wary of landlords who make excessive demands. For example, some are asking tenants to turn over their $1,200 stimulus check or any money received from charity as a condition for not filing an eviction order. Don’t agree to unreasonable conditions or terms you won’t be able to meet, especially if your city or state has enacted protections against such arrangements.

If you’re concerned about your financial situation these days, consider these 28 ways to save money during the pandemic and get some free financial advice from these six organizations. And if you’re one of the millions of Americans who received a $1,200 stimulus check, be sure to spend it wisely.

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Opulent Gold-Plated Connectivity Cables – The Anker 24K Gold Cable Makes a Glamorous Gift (TrendHunter.com)

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The cable is plated…

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Oversized Desktop Gaming Mats – The Razer Gigantus V2 Gaming Mouse Mat Covers Entire Desks (TrendHunter.com)

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Stimulus check 2 for an extra $1,200? What’s going on with a second round of payments – CNET

money-bills-wallet-coins-dollars-0939

A proposal for a second round of stimulus payments is with the Senate.

Angela Lang/CNET

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

Weeks ago, many assumed the first round of coronavirus stimulus checks was a one-off package, delivering up to $1,200 apiece to eligible Americans. Now, however, a second relief bill is under serious consideration in Washington. Congress is weighing further aid that could include additional payments to US residents — to the tune of another $1,200 maximum per person, on top of what the first round of relief checks provided. Congressional leaders from both parties are set to wrestle what another financial package would look like for individuals, families, businesses and those who are out of work.

The bill in question is called the Heroes Act. The Democrat-led House of Representatives already passed the new economic proposal, which means the relief package is now before the Senate. In addition to checks for individuals, the new legislation would provide broader support for families, front-line workers and US residents who are not citizens. It’s worth $3 trillion in total. 

Here, we’ll outline how much money the Heroes Act proposes, common arguments for and against the proposed bill and what happens next. This story updates frequently with new information and is intended to provide an overview of the situation. If you’re waiting for your money, you can track the status of your stimulus check with the IRS and use a free USPS service to see when your check is coming in the mail. We also know some possible reasons why your stimulus check hasn’t arrived.

What’s the purpose of a second stimulus check?

The goal of a second stimulus round is the same as the first: To help keep a shaky US economy from crashing. And the pressure is mounting. Last week, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 38.6 million Americans sought unemployment benefits (PDF) in the past 10 weeks. That number is now up to 42 million people, CBS News reports. 

In some states, unemployment has already reached 20%. During a recent Senate hearing, chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Jerome Powell called for additional economic relief. And earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund forecast a deep global recession that could become the worst since the Great Depression.

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Congress is expected to negotiate on a new coronavirus stimulus bill that will put up to $1,200 more in your wallet.

Angela Lang/CNET

Is the Senate likely to pass the Heroes Act?

The Senate, which is currently in recess for an extended Memorial Day holiday, reportedly departed without putting the Heroes Act on the agenda, so it isn’t certain what will happen (more on this below). 

The pushback to the Heroes Act is already strong among members of the Republican-controlled Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that the bill wouldn’t pass as is

Possible outcomes include it morphing into a different aid package through bipartisan negotiation. It could also fail, with a new proposal taking its place. Or, it could dissipate altogether until a future proposal appears and the process begins anew. 

The White House has indicated it would support a second stimulus check of some sort, according to CNBC, though Trump called the Heroes Act “DOA”.

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus Checks Helpline


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Heroes Act stimulus check: How much money could you get?

The Heroes Act includes a wide range of benefits, such as a second direct payment to individuals and households of up to $1,200 per family member, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). Here are some breakdowns.

Individuals: Under the proposed law, an eligible person would receive $1,200 if their adjusted gross income, or AGI, from their 2019 federal tax filing or 2018 filing (if you haven’t filed taxes yet) was less than $75,000. As with the current stimulus package, payments would incrementally decrease as your AGI goes up. A chart from the Congressional Research Service shows proposed payments by income (PDF).

Children and dependents: Each dependent would qualify for a $1,200 payment. That includes college students, children over 17, disabled relatives and a taxpayer’s parent. This detail differs from the previous CARES Act, which provided a $500 payment just for children age 16 and under. Under the bill (PDF), dependents would receive retroactive payments to compensate for being passed over in the first stimulus package.

Families: Households would qualify for a maximum payment of $6,000 total, capped at five family members at $1,200 apiece. Your scale of your payment allowance would begin to decrease as you surpass an AGI of $150,000 for married couples filing jointly, or $112,500 for heads of household.

Noncitizens: To qualify for a payment under the current CARES Act, US residents are required to have a Social Security number. With the Heroes Act, those without a Social Security number could instead use an individual taxpayer identification number, which will allow noncitizens to qualify for a payment. As with the stipulation for dependents, people who qualify in this category would receive retroactive payments from the first stimulus package. 

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The hope is that a second stimulus check would help keep individuals and small businesses solvent.

Angela Lang/CNET

What else does the Heroes Act propose?

The Heroes Act, officially the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, includes a handful of additional measures to provide support for individuals and businesses.

Unemployment benefits: The bill would carry over the current enhanced unemployment benefit of $600 per week (on top of states’ typical unemployment payout) to January 2021.

Payroll protection: The Heroes Act would expand the employee retention tax credit to help employers keep workers on the payroll.

Funds for essential workers: Under the bill, state and local governments would receive $1 trillion to pay salaries for first responders, health care workers, teachers and other essential workers in danger of losing their jobs. The bill would also fund hazard pay for workers with high-risk jobs.

Coronavirus testing, tracing and treatment: The bill would include $75 billion to provide for expanded testing and contact tracing.

Support for businesses: The bill would bolster the Payroll Protection Plan, which provides payroll assistance to small businesses, and provide additional funding for the US Postal Service.

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Even with some businesses starting to open, the US has reached an unemployment rate of 17.2%.

Angela Lang/CNET

Arguments for and against a second stimulus bill 

With the bill moving from the House of Representatives to the Senate for debate, here are some of the arguments on both sides of the discussion.

What proponents of the Heroes Act say: Since the middle of March, more than 38 million US workers who have lost their jobs have filed for unemployment. The actual number of those unemployed could be millions higher, according to the Economic Policy Institute, because many people who are eligible were unable to file a jobless claim. With the job losses, the nation’s unemployment rate reached 17.2% (PDF), according to the US Department of Labor. Newly unemployed people, along with others taking an economic hit from the pandemic, would benefit from having more money to spend right now. 

What opponents of the Heroes Act say: Some in Washington, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, question whether the preceding relief measures have met their goals and want to focus on short-term economic measures. McConnell and others have also expressed concern about how additional stimulus packages will increase the historic federal deficit. Because that payment is available in addition to regular jobless benefits and enhanced unemployment benefits of $600 per week, some critics worry it will make it harder to reduce unemployment if people don’t have an incentive to return to work

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For many, the stimulus check will help pay for rent and groceries.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What will it take for a second stimulus check?

It isn’t clear when the Senate will make a decision on the Heroes Act, though it’s suggested that the negotiations could take place in June, after the Senate’s current 10-day recess, according to NBC News.

It’s widely believed that Republicans will continue to push back against the bill and may work with The White House on their own stimulus package. McConnell has said more aid may be necessary, but it may take a different form than the House bill being proposed — and one worth less than a third of the proposal. Congress is also working to make it easier to forgive small business loans that are part of the CARES Act that passed in March.

In order to receive a second stimulus check, any new coronavirus rescue package that passes both the House and the Senate would still need a signature from President Trump before it could take effect. After that, the IRS now has a system in place to organize and distribute those checks.

We’ll update this story with new information as it arises. While the future of a second stimulus bill remains undecided, we’d like to share available resources about unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, what to know about evictions and late car payments, and how to take control of your budget.