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Millions of people are set to lose COVID-era benefits this fall

Many of these benefits came from the $1.9 trillion in aid that was passed by Congress as part of the American Rescue Plan in 2021.
Posted at 6:56 AM, Aug 04, 2023

Millions of people are set to lose COVID-era benefits this fall. 

The expiration of these programs, created by Congress in the early years of the pandemic, will take away economic help that millions of Americans have received for years and many still rely on. 

Many of these benefits came from the $1.9 trillion in aid that was passed by Congress as part of the American Rescue Plan in 2021.

Student loans

After sitting on the sidelines for years, student loan borrowers will have to resume payments starting in October. The Federal Reserve says this is expected to affect nearly 28 million Americans, who typically pay between $200 and $300 per month. 

These accounts have been frozen since March 2020, but interest will start accruing again on September 1, and bills will go out at least 21 days before the first new payment is due.

Child care

Child care stabilization funds are also expected to end in September. 

This money was sent to child care providers as part of the American Rescue Plan to help offset business costs when affordability and availability were major issues. 

Many providers used this money to pay rent and improve salaries for workers, but now that it's coming to an end, the Century Foundation estimates more than 70,000 programs could close and about 3.2 million kids could lose their spots.

Food stamp requirements

Work requirements for those who receive food stamps are going to pick back up in October, meaning people will lose their food stamp benefits unless they fulfill the mandate or meet exemptions. 

Congress suspended the work requirements in 2020 but expanded them under the new debt ceiling package that was passed in June. 

Under the new rules, able-bodied adults without dependents who are between the ages of 18 and 52 can only receive food stamps for three months out of every three years unless they work or participate in a work program for at least 20 hours a week. 

At least 500,000 people are expected to lose access to food stamps when the requirement returns, according to the progressive-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 

Some of the programs from the pandemic era are expected to continue because they still have funding. Those include rental assistance programs, federal money allocated to K–12 schools nationwide, and money sent to states to help recover from the pandemic.