GOP unveils proposed second stimulus bill

The GOP is detailing its proposed second stimulus bill today.  But for millions of Texans, it can't come fast enough.

The additional $600 federal unemployment benefits a week have now ended. A U.S. Census Bureau survey reveals 24 million Americans say they can't pay the August rent. Many people say they're still waiting for their first stimulus check to arrive.

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"I lost my job due to me not being able to go to work due to being sick.  Then had a heart attack and had heart surgery, so it's been hard," said Famenia Washington.

The Houston woman has had some hard months. Illness, job loss, a heart attack, and still no tax refund or stimulus check.

"It's very frustrating because when you're used to taking care of things on your home without any help, I've never had an issue with my tax return, in all the years I've been an adult.  And all of a sudden this year I don't get it," said Washington.

Desperation for millions of people is mounting. Many say more stimulus funds will help, but when?

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"Even if some of the benefit is replaced with a new piece of legislation, the challenge is there will likely be a gap or a period of time when the additional benefits will go maybe for several weeks or longer," said Kimberly Palmer, personal finance expert for Nerdwallet.

Congress may extend the eviction moratorium on federally funded homes for those who can't pay the rent.

"For people facing that kind of challenge, it's most important to triage your bills and focus on the most important things, food, housing, utilities," said Palmer.

The proposed GOP bill may add $200 a week to unemployment, but cap benefits at 70% of a person's paycheck.
If you can't pay your bills, Palmer says ask creditors for more deferrals.

"There's really no downside to calling and asking.  A lot of companies are listening for that keyword if you say I've been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic," Palmer suggested.

Meantime, for many people like Washington, all they can do is wait.
"It's all taking too long.  It's really frustrating because this is money that I know is mine, but I'm not getting no answers," said Washington.

TRACKING STIMULUS CHECKS

To track a stimulus check, you call the IRS at 800-919-9835 or 800-829-1040.  You can also file IRS Form 3911.  If you never receive your check, you can claim it when you file your 2020 taxes.

TRACKING TAX REFUNDS

You can track tax refunds through the Where’s My Refund page or call 800-829-1954.

TRACKING TEXAS UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

The Texas Workforce Commission suggests using their website when possible.  Larry the ChatBot on the website can help answer many questions.  You can also call their call centers at 800-939-6631.

Nerdwallet offers more advice when your $600 unemployment benefits end.