The Housing Chronicles Blog: Who will benefit most from the stimulus package

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Who will benefit most from the stimulus package

The unemployed, first-time homebuyers and most tax payers will all benefit from the stimulus compromise package. From a summary in the L.A. Times:

For most Americans, aid would show up most directly in a simple tax credit.

Workers making less than $75,000 a year would get a $400 credit for 2009 and 2010. Couples making up to $150,000 would get $800.

Higher-income taxpayers would see smaller credits. Individuals making more than $100,000 a year and couples making more than $200,000 would not get the credit.

In addition, 24 million middle-income Americans would be spared from paying higher income taxes under the alternative minimum tax...

First-time home-buyers could qualify for an $8,000 tax credit.

The credit is slightly larger than the $7,500 credit in existing law, but it is substantially less than a proposal in the Senate bill that would have boosted the credit to $15,000 and broadened the eligibility.

In addition, the compromise bill waives a requirement that the tax credit be repaid. The credit applies only to homes bought between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 of this year.

Homeowners who install new doors, windows or furnaces to make their home more energy efficient would be able to get as much as $1,500 back through new tax breaks...

Many people paying for college would get a $2,500 tax credit for tuition and other education-related expenses, such as books and computers...

Millions of Americans receiving unemployment benefits would see a $25 increase in their weekly checks, up from the average benefit of $200.

Unemployment benefits would last 46 weeks under the deal, up from 26 weeks. Some people in high-unemployment states, including California, could receive benefits for 59 weeks.

People who lose a job would receive help in retaining their employer-sponsored health insurance.

Under current COBRA law, jobless workers can keep their insurance if they pay the full cost of the premium, which can exceed $1,000 a month for a family.

Under the stimulus bill, the federal government would pay 60% of that premium for nine months. Individuals who earned more than $125,000 a year and couples with incomes greater than $250,000 would not be eligible.More indirectly, millions of the nation's poorest residents would get help as states use billions of dollars in new federal aid to maintain Medicaid, special education and Head Start programs.

State and local government employees, many of whom are facing layoffs as states slash budgets, may get to keep their jobs.

Doctors, nurses and hospitals that often wait months for the government to pick up the tab for Medicaid patients could see some relief.

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