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Government Measures in Coping with the Economic Crisis

Nearly 17 million Americans have filed unemployment claims in the past three weeks, according to a government report.

According to the Department of Labor’s news release of April 9, 2020, about 6.6 million additional workers lost their jobs in the week ended April 4 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although this unemployment rate is unprecedented, the number of unemployed is expected to increase further in the coming weeks, as the United States is still at the mercy of the pandemic.

The government is debating the virus’ impact on the economy, and ways to manage and prevent a recession.

Among the solutions to aid in the economy’s recovery is the $2.2 trillion fiscal stimulus package signed by President Trump on March 27.  This economic rescue package is supposed to relieve American households during this period of uncertainty. 

Each eligible adult earning up to $75,000 a year will receive a $1,200 stimulus check to help in buying groceries and covering some bills. The government will provide an additional $500 for each eligible child under 17 years old.

Jobless Americans will also receive an additional $600 per week with their usual state unemployment benefits through July.

Nonetheless, several groups of Americans are not qualified for the stimulus package and are thus left out. Among these groups are older dependents such as people with disabilities and college students. 

A person over 16 years old must not be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return to receive the $1,200 check. But since college students under the age of 24 are considered dependents in the eyes of the taxing authorities, they are unable to claim the payment for themselves.

Further, college students can’t qualify for the $500 payment through their parents because they’re too old.

However, a possible bill extension in sight to ensure that older dependents and college students become eligible to receive some money. 

The bill extension was proposed by U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters on April 4.

This extension would allow college students to be treated as children to receive stimulus checks. Although they would not get a $1,200 payment, their parents would be able to claim an extra $500 the same way they currently can with younger children.

Photo credits: Angela Weiss/AFP

Alma Beauvais is The WOLF's News Director and current junior of Mass Communications at the University of West Georgia.