Are you looking forward to the COVID-19 pandemic finally leaving us alone? While the numbers show that isn’t the case — yesterday, the U.S. saw more confirmed cases in a single day than ever, with cases surging in California, Texas, and Florida, among other states — government COVID-19 relief efforts are ending soon as if the pandemic is a thing of the past. Recently, President Trump suggested that simply slowing down testing will help reduce the number of people suffering from COVID-19.
Here’s a list of COVID-19 relief expiration dates to keep in mind:
After July 25th, an eviction moratorium on federally-subsidized properties expires. Many state-specific moratoriums have either already expired or will in the coming months. New York’s eviction moratorium, for example, will expire on August 20th — but the blanket eviction moratorium has already expired, and currently only tenants who are determined to have faced financial hardship directly from COVID-19 are covered by the moratorium. California’s eviction moratoriums vary by local jurisdiction, but a state order allows local governments to set moratoriums until July 28th. These moratoriums only prevented landlords from filing eviction cases in housing courts; it did not relieve any rent, so when moratoriums end, renters are on the hook to pay back any missed rent. Despite tenants unions and housing advocacy groups calling for rent suspensions and forgiveness, there has been no state-wide adoption of such measures. What’s more, eviction moratoriums were poorly enforced, with many landlords continuing to begin eviction proceedings.
After July 31st, the $600 provided by Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is set to officially end. Those who remain on unemployment will now only receive their state unemployment benefits, which usually replace less than 50% of the wages someone earned. In fact, the end date is even closer than July 31st, and the last $600 payments will technically be given on July 25th or 26th. However, there’s no indication that the historic level of unemployment we’ve seen is quickly reversing itself now that businesses have been reopening. Though new weekly unemployment claims have fallen since the peak in late March, the Economic Policy Institute notes that new weekly claims are still “more than twice the worst week of the Great Recession.” And, the EPI reports, the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits after initially filing when the pandemic first hit is still very high. With some experts estimating that 30% of COVID-19 job losses could be permanent, the end of the extra unemployment payments could be devastating to many. About 11 million Americans are currently receiving PUA, and the EPI points out that coronavirus job loss is impacting Black and Latinx workers at much higher rates, further widening economic inequality along racial lines.
After September 30th, the forbearance on federal student loans will come to an end. Since the CARES Act passed, federal student loan payments were suspended and interest rates were set to 0%. If you’ve deferred private student loans, you’ll have to speak to your provider about potentially extending deferments.
In addition to these financial relief measures, President Trump announced a few days ago that federal funding of some COVID-19 testing sites in several states will end after June 30th, including in Texas — where there have been record-high daily cases. The announcement came soon after he proposed a slowdown of testing, and the move follows a wave of temporary testing site closures early this month, when government officials claimed that protestors had destroyed over 70 sites. Notably, in L.A., Mayor Garcetti announced temporary closures of all COVID-19 testing sites on May 30th. When asked why all instead of just some were closed, he gave an answer that only focused on decrying property damage. Such measures have further thrown into question whether elected officials are treating access to free and widely available COVID-19 testing as an essential right and not a conditional privilege.
In addition to the end of COVID-19 financial relief expirations, the new tax filing deadline — changed in late March in response to the pandemic — is coming up in a few weeks, on July 15th. One silver lining of having to think about filing taxes right now is that, apparently, the IRS may owe you interest on your refund this year. If your refund is issued on or before June 30th, you’ll earn an interest rate of 5%. If your refund is issued between July 1st and September 30th, it’ll be 3%.
Still, whatever interest the IRS owes you won’t be a windfall. Those who have been struggling from sudden financial hardships due to COVID-19 may still be waiting for a second direct stimulus payment. In an interview on June 22nd, Trump said that Americans would receive a second stimulus check soon. But so far, proposals for another direct payment have been blocked in the GOP-controlled senate. It has now been over 90 days since Congress signed the CARES Act on March 27th, ensuring a one-time payment of $1,200 to most Americans. A government watchdog recently reported that the IRS has mistakenly sent $1.4 billion in stimulus payments to deceased people. It’s currently unclear how the IRS plans to recover those incorrect payments.