What The Stimulus Bill Has For Everyday Americans

In case you haven’t had a chance to read the 1000+ page stimulus bill that was passed on Friday, Ron Lieber at the New York Times has highlighted some of the provisions that will directly affect the average American.

Here’s our summary of what Lieber has put together, supplemented with more details from the Associated Press:

  • Tax credit of up to $400 for individuals, $800 for couples for 2009 and 2010. Figure your individual credit by taking 6.2% of your earned income. Note that your employer can adjust your withholdings so that the credit is returned to you over the year instead of all at once. The Associated Press says most people will see this in the form of a $13 bump in weekly paychecks starting in June, and dropping to about $7.70 a week for the duration of 2010.
  • The $1000 child tax credit will be extended to more families, and if you’re a poor family with three or more kids, you’ll get an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • No tax on the first $2400 of unemployment you receive in 2009.
  • The government will subsidize up to 65% of your premium for Cobra coverage if you lost your job after Sep 1st, 2008. If you declined Cobra, you’ll have 60 days to reconsider.
  • $87 billion is going to help states administer Medicaid, which the AP notes “could slow or reverse some of the steps states have taken to cut the program.”
  • If you get food stamps, you’ll get more.
  • If you’re drawing unemployment, expect to see $25 more per check, and the duration of the benefits has been extended.
  • If you receive Social Security payments, you’ll see a one-time extra payment of $250.
  • If you buy a new car, light truck, recreational vehicle or motorcycle in 2009, you’ll be able to deduct the state and local taxes you paid on it.
  • If you add energy-efficient doodads to your home this year, you can get a tax credit to cover 30% of the costs, up to $1500.
  • Pell Grants will increase slightly.
  • The “Higher Education Tax Credit” will refund “up to $2,500 of the cost of college tuition and other related expenses in 2009 and 2010. You’ll need to spend at least $4,000 in a single year to get the full credit.”
  • You can use withdrawals from a 529 college savings plan to cover computers and related technology and services for the first time in 2009 and 2010.
  • First time home buyers who buy between January 1-December 1 2009 will receive a refundable tax credit of up to $8000, figured by taking 10% of the purchase price of your home. The credit doesn’t have to be repaid, but you do have to keep the home for at least 3 years.
  • The amount of pre-tax income you can set aside through your employer for public transit will increase to $230 a month (equivalent to what you can set aside if you drive).
  • The Alternative Minimum Tax has been set aside for another year.
  • $3.7 billion will go to local police programs, mostly for hiring new officers.

Many of these tax credits fade out if you make over $75,000 annually, or $150,000 as a couple.

“What’s in the Bill for You” [New York Times]
“How the economic stimulus plan could affect you” [Associated Press]

Read the stimulus bill and leave your comments on it at whitehouse.gov
(Photo: Jeff Sandquist)