Monday numbers: A closer look at what federal relief could mean to North Carolina workers

By: - March 30, 2020 5:30 am

[Editor’s note: This post has been updated to provide additional information regarding the eligibility of Social Security recipients for stimulus checks.]

Some money is better than no money, but $1,200 doesn’t go as far as some think it might: A month’s rent, maybe. Less than a month’s worth of child care for two kids. About two weeks’ worth of groceries for a family of four.

The $2 trillion bailout package, which includes help for major corporations, as well as small businesses, includes a one-time $1,200 payment for taxpayers. People receiving Social Security and disability benefits also qualify and the amounts are based on one’s 2018 federal tax return or 2019 return, if it’s already been filed.

AARP also reports the following:

If you are receiving Social Security benefits but didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019, you will be eligible to receive a stimulus check without a tax return based on data available to the IRS from your annual Social Security benefits statement. The government will send you a direct deposit or check using the information from your Form SSA-1099 Social Security Benefit Statement or your Form RRB-1099 Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement. You will not have to file a 2019 tax return to get a stimulus check.”

Additional money is available from the feds for people who have filed for unemployment because of the pandemic. Unfortunately, to get the extra $600 a week, you have to be approved for unemployment by the North Carolina Division of Employment Services. As has been widely reported in recent weeks, less than 10% of all unemployed workers in North Carolina  have been receiving benefits in recent months — a fact that indicates many could lose out on the federal unemployment boost.

Here’s a look at median and average household expenses, how much of them $1,200 will cover and some facts about North Carolina’s current unemployment insurance program.

$1,200 — Amount adults who earn up to $75,000 annually will receive, per person

$2,400 — Amount married couples will get

$500 —  Amount per child

$1,160 — Gross monthly income for someone working full-time at minimum wage

$1,431 —  Average monthly cost for daycare, one infant and one preschooler, North Carolina

$1,100-$1,300 — Range of median rent prices in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte for a one-bedroom apartment

$2,454 — Median monthly  income, per person, North Carolina

$0 — Amount adults earning more than $99,000 and couples earning more than $198,000 will receive

220,000 — Number of new unemployment claims, North Carolina, March 2020

39,361 — Number in March 2019

$264 — Amount of average weekly unemployment benefit in North Carolina

8-9 — Number of weeks those benefits can be received

$600 — Amount per week in additional federal money for unemployment benefits for which many approved applicants could be eligible

8.6% — Percentage of unemployed North Carolinians who were drawing unemployment benefits in the third quarter of 2019

91.4% — Percentage who were not drawing benefits

Sources: Division of Employment Security, US Department of Labor, The New York Times, Child Aware, Zillow, US Census

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Lisa Sorg
Lisa Sorg

Assistant Editor and Environmental Reporter Lisa Sorg helps manage newsroom operations while covering the environment, climate change, agriculture and energy.