republican debate

Biden said pandemic is over. What relief is still available?

(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden said in an interview that aired Sunday the pandemic is “over,” but neither COVID-19 cases nor pandemic-related relief efforts have entirely disappeared.

Biden made the remarks during an interview on “60 Minutes”, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic as of Monday.

The World Health Organization reports that COVID-19 deaths are the lowest they’ve been since March 2020, and CDC data also shows deaths have declined by 75%.

Despite the president’s claim that the pandemic is over, the White House has made a $22 billion emergency request to Congress for COVID-19 relief ahead of a potential surge of cases in the fall.

Below is a look at some of the relief efforts announced early during the pandemic and where they stand now.

Testing access

The federal free at-home test program was suspended on Sept. 2. Free antigen and PCR COVID-19 tests are still available at more than 20,000 sites nationwide, including to those without insurance.

At-home tests may be available for sale at local stores and pharmacies.

Those with health insurance through their employer or Marketplace, can also be reimbursed for eight at-home tests monthly for each person on the plan.

Vaccine availability

COVID-19 vaccines remain available for free to people 6 months and older in the U.S. regardless of immigration or insurance status, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

About 67% of eligible Americans were vaccinated as of Monday and half of those received at least a single booster shot, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said during a seasonal COVID-19 update Monday.

“Unfortunately for us, the complicated situation at its best is difficult when it is being confronted with a whole wave of misinformation and disinformation and conspiracy theories,” Fauci said. “It understandably confuses the general public.”

The White House is urging Americans to receive a second booster.

Vaccine locations can be located through the CDC website here.

Child Tax Credit

The American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit and expanded its coverage to as much as $3,600 per child younger than 6 and $3,000 for children ages 6-17.

That program expired last December, but Republican lawmakers have proposed its resurrection in the form of the Family Security Act 2.0.

Under the proposed plan, families would receive $350 a month for each child 5 or younger, amounting to $4,200 a year, and $250 a month for children ages 6 to 17, totaling $3,000 a year. Benefits would be limited to up to six children each year, and families would need to earn $10,000 in the previous year to qualify for full benefits.

Those who earn less than $10,000 each year would receive a benefit that’s proportional to their earnings. For example, a family earning $5,000 would get 50% of the maximum child tax credit, according to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research and policy institute.

Student Loan Payments

Student loan payments were suspended with 0% interest during the pandemic and will resume after Dec. 31.

As many as 43 million Americans, however, are expected to have some or all of their federal student loans forgiven by the Biden administration, following an announcement in late August.

Some borrowers will be eligible for as much as $10,000 in forgiveness and Pell Grant recipients can apply for twice as much.

The majority of forgiveness is expected to benefit borrowers who are no longer in college and make less than $75,000 annually.  

The application will be available before the student loan repayment pause ends on Dec. 31.

Unemployment assistance

Assistance including the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program ended in September 2021.

The temporary emergency measure provided an additional $300 per week to people already collecting certain kinds of unemployment benefits.

The CARES Act, a pandemic-era law, gave states the option to extend unemployment compensation to independent contractors and other workers who wouldn’t typically be considered eligible for unemployment benefits. You can find the contact information for your state’s unemployment insurance office here.


Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on NewsNation