The Covid Economy

The Senate is adjourned until after the election without a stimulus deal. Here's when the remaining CARES Act benefits expire

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) heads into the Republicans Policy Luncheon on October 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Samuel Corum | Getty Images

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Following months of back and forth negotiations, Congress has so far failed to reach another stimulus deal to help the millions of cash-strapped families, struggling parents and ailing small businesses across the country.

And the chance that anything will pass before the election on Nov. 3 is essentially null: After confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Senate would be recessed until Nov. 9.

Of the many issues at play, Congressional Democrats and Republicans most disagreed on how much enhanced unemployment insurance to provide to workers who have lost their jobs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been negotiating a relief package worth between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion with the White House, while McConnell insisted on a "skinny" bill worth an estimated $500 billion.

In the meantime, the U.S. is experiencing a third wave of new coronavirus cases, setting a new daily record of new cases on Sunday. Around 23 million people are collecting unemployment benefits.

If you're struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic, here's when benefits from the CARES Act officially expire.

401(k) hardship withdrawals and loans

Those under 59 ½ with a 401(k), 403(b) or individual retirement account can take a coronavirus-related distribution of up to $100,000 if they need to without incurring the typical 10% early distribution penalty through the end of 2020.

You will still owe taxes on the withdrawal, although they will not be deducted automatically. You can spread the tax payment out over a period of up to three years.

If you had an existing 401(k) loan payment due between March 27, 2020 and the end of the year, that has been extended by another year. Interest will continue to accrue.

Enhanced unemployment benefits

Though the enhanced federal unemployment insurance payments of $600 per week ended in July, some provisions are still in place until the end of the year.

The self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers will continue to be eligible for state benefits through December 31, 2020. That could mean millions of workers lose their benefits next year, according to an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The CARES Act extended the total weeks of unemployment benefits most people are eligible for up to 39 weeks, longer than the 26 weeks offered by many states under normal circumstances. These extended benefits will also end on or before December 31, 2020, depending on when an individual began collecting them.

Eviction ban

Thanks to a "historic" order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, residential evictions are banned through the end of the year for most tenants.

Tenants facing eviction need to apply for the relief from their landlords using the "declaration" at the bottom of this CDC form. You must prove that you are unable to pay rent because of Covid-19 and that you "used best efforts" to apply for other types of governmental housing aid, including local emergency assistance programs available in your state

Mortgage relief

If you have a federally-backed loan and are experiencing financial hardship due to Covid-19, you can still request a six-month deferral on payments or temporarily lower your mortgage payments for six months. You will need to call your mortgage servicer to set it up.

The CARES Act doesn't specify how long you can request this relief. But it is likely available as long as the Covid-19 emergency is still ongoing, likely through at least the end of the year, according to the National Consumer Law Center.

Additionally, mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA, the USDA and the VA are protected under an eviction moratorium that lasts until at least December 31, 2020.

Student loan forbearance

Federal student loan payments remain on auto-deferment until January 2021.

Relief for private student loan borrowers will depend on your loan servicer, as will any agreements made on other financial products not included in the CARES Act, like credit cards and auto loans. Be sure to check with your various financial institutions to confirm when payments are due.

Check out: It's not just the extra $600—millions of workers could exhaust all of their jobless benefits by January

Don't miss: Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering a massive 80,000-point bonus for a limited time

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