That was the overwhelming message from the greater than 1,000 CNN Business readers who responded to our callout, asking them how they plan to spend their upcoming checks.
Gio Martinez is a prepare dinner at a Denny’s in Southern California and the only father of a 4-year-old daughter. He used to work 60 hours per week earlier than the pandemic. Now his hours are usually 20 to 25 hours per week, he stated.
Martinez stated he has a number of bank cards and some retailer playing cards and is usually maxed out on all of them — having used them since March to purchase groceries, utilities and gasoline for his automobile to get to work.
His direct fee of $1,200 for himself and his little one will go towards paying off a few of the $5,000 in bank card debt he is accrued this 12 months and to getting a brand new wardrobe for his daughter, who outgrew her garments and footwear this summer season.
“It breaks my heart seeing her wear clothes that are too small for her,” Martinez stated.
Though he is been making minimal funds on his bank cards, which have a roughly 20% rate of interest, Martinez stated, “I’m behind on everything.” That contains the $400 month-to-month hire he owes his mother and father, with whom he and his daughter reside.
Retiree Sandra Jamieson, a former authorities worker residing in a small city in northwestern Pennsylvania, stated whereas she does not imagine $600 aid funds will do almost sufficient to assist folks struggling, she feels lucky to have the ability to pay her payments on the fastened earnings from her pension.
But she finds the expansion in grocery costs — particularly on objects which were restricted throughout the pandemic — usually outpace the annual value of residing changes in her earnings.
So she welcomes the $600. “I’m glad to have the money no matter how much it is — I’ll stock up on canned goods, paper goods and dried goods,” Jamieson stated.
$600 ‘does not do something long run to assist me out of this example’
James Judd, a younger photographer who takes household and college class portraits for a studio run by a retailer in Washington state, stated he’ll use his $600 to assist cowl hire or he’ll simply put it apart in case there may be one other shutdown.
Judd had been furloughed and on unemployment from April to August. Now he says he has solely been working a median of 20 to 25 hours per week because the studio reopened, a fraction of what he used to work, particularly throughout the winter holidays, that are usually peak season. “And it’s not just our hours that have been cut. It’s that we can’t have full capacity [in the studio because of Covid restrictions],” Judd famous.
He’s been maintaining together with his payments to this point, he stated, however solely as a result of he saved a few of the $600 per week federal supplemental funds that he received on high of his state unemployment advantages throughout the spring and early summer season.
Going ahead, the upcoming, one-time $600 fee will not purchase him various weeks of monetary aid, he stated. “It doesn’t actually do anything long term to help me out of this situation. I don’t know what to do. All I know is that I’m angry.”
The $600 funds will not even go to all who want it
Perhaps the one factor that may have made Judd angrier would have been getting no direct fee in any respect, which is the state of affairs dealing with many unemployed or underemployed folks, like Michael Longe of Seattle.
Longe was laid off in late 2019 from his job managing a software program design workforce for an electronics producer. But he will not qualify for a aid fee (nor did he earlier this 12 months when folks received $1,200 checks). At least not instantly.
That’s as a result of within the curiosity of getting checks out shortly to folks, preliminary eligibility has been based mostly on 2019 tax returns. And final 12 months, Longe made greater than the allowable thresholds.
To qualify for a full aid fee, one has to make $75,000 or much less ($150,000 if married). Partial funds are made to these whose incomes exceed these ranges however do not high $99,000 ($198,000 if married).
Longe’s prolonged unemployment advantages are expiring this month and he worries he will not be eligible for extra advantages in Washington state. That means he additionally will not profit from the $300 weekly federal supplemental fee that the newest Covid aid bundle has created.
“Without unemployment benefits, I really could use [the $600 relief payment],” Longe stated.