CHN’s latest Human Needs Report: Detailing the COVID-19 relief package, and 2021 appropriations


December 23, 2020

CHN just released another edition of the Human Needs Report. Read on for the latest about the COVID relief and full-year funding legislation from Congress, and President Trump’s objections on the package. To download a PDF of the report, click here.

In This Edition

Between March 27, when Congress enacted the CARES Act in response to the pandemic, and December 21, when Congress finally passed more relief, the coronavirus death toll rose from nearly 1,300 to over 320,000, with over 18 million confirmed U.S. cases. By the end of December, at least 12 million more workers will lose unemployment benefits and the moratorium on evictions will expire, threatening millions of families, if the new bill is not signed into law. But the day after Congress acted, President Trump surprised many by calling the bill a “disgrace” and objecting to a number of provisions. READ MORE »

One of the biggest sticking points in the extremely prolonged negotiations over COVID relief, the final bill included a one-time Economic Impact payment of $600 per adult and child in households. Unlike the previous $1,200 payment, this version would not deny payments to citizens or green-card holders if their spouse or other household member were undocumented. President Trump denounced this part of the COVID relief bill, because he wants $2,000 per adult payments and opposes including the mixed status families. READ MORE »

Anti-hunger advocates had pressed for a 15 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/formerly called food stamps) maximum benefits since the onset of the pandemic. Although some increases in SNAP were provided earlier, this basic increase was not agreed to until this new package, which provides it for six months. The bill also excludes unemployment benefits from being counted as income in determining SNAP benefits and eligibility, and allows income-eligible college students to qualify for SNAP. READ MORE »

About 14 million people will see their last unemployment check on December 26 if the current benefits are not extended.
The pandemic has made it clear that even minimum economic security depends both on access to adequate unemployment benefits and access to paid leave. This bill does provide a tax credit for employers who do provide paid leave, butwithout the requirement for employers to do so. Extending required paid leave for 3 months would cost only $1.8 billion. READ MORE »

The moratorium on evictions imposed by the Centers for Disease Control expires at the end of December. The COVID relief bill would extend the moratorium through the end of January. Significantly, the bill also provides $25 billion in emergency rental assistance, long sought by housing advocates who recognize that whenever the eviction ban ends, tenants who have accumulated one or more months of back rent will be unable to pay. READ MORE »

One new provision contained within the 5,500-page bill not directly connected to COVID relief would limit surprise medical billing starting in 2022. The legislation will prevent patients from being billed large amounts from health care providers not in their insurance network whose services were used in the course of treatment. READ MORE »

One of the biggest disappointments in the COVID relief package is the inability to include more help to states, localities, territories and tribes. Governments across the country have experienced large revenue shortfalls and have laid off about 1.3 million workers since the pandemic began. These workers include educators, public health and safety workers, unemployment insurance administrators, sanitation and transportation personnel, among others. READ MORE »

Child care providers have struggled during the pandemic as parents lost jobs or had to work at home. Child care experts have estimated that $50 billion would be needed to help providers return to a sustainable funding level. The COVID relief package provides $10 billion in emergency funding that states can use to make child care more affordable to parents, assist child care providers, and allow for targeted assistance for families of frontline essential workers. READ MORE »

Low-income earners and people with student loan debt will benefit from the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package passed late Sunday night, as will corporations who will benefit from a bevy of deductions, some new, some extensions of existing deductions. READ MORE »