Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 8

Household Income and COVID-19

by Ally Hoogs 

Graphic by Zakai Avidor

Income support is helping hundreds in Walnut Creek keep their houses and put food on the table during the now eight week quarantine. Since so many people are losing their jobs to the virus, main sources of income for families are now gone, leaving little money for essential items. With the new aid programs coming into effect, Las Lomas Sophomore Caidyn Waterman commented “It is well appreciated, that is the only way my family has been able to pay rent.” 

He, along with many others, are positively impacted by the new measures being put into place to aid struggling households.

In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, otherwise known as the CARES Act. This was put in place in order to support the unemployed workers affected by the quarantine. The CARES Act is a planned document that allocates around $260 billion in unemployment payments, as interpreted by Kelsey Snell, a writer for news and podcast company NPR. 

Las Lomas Senior Max Hess described the CARES Act as an order that plans for “direct transfers of $600 – 1,200 per independent adult and $500 per child.” 

Student Martin Valbuena explained that plans such as the CARES Act are “Very important to escape mass poverty. Some people have worked their whole lives on a skill set that can no longer be used during a time of quarantine, and they have to be supported. If we expect those economic sectors to remain alive after the quarantine so they can help to aid families in buying essential products, they need to remain healthy.”

However, most had no time to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, but for most people, income support options laid out by the government “have not been easy to collect,” according to Max. Hess mentioned, “The payments are only available to those who file tax returns, and direct deposits are only available for those who have direct deposit forms on file with the IRS. Otherwise, the government takes six weeks to mail a paper check,” which he noted isn’t very effective when people are struggling to feed themselves and their families. 

Sophomore Chloe Walsh said, “Because the government has forced some areas to stop working, [it makes thousands] unfairly disadvantaged by this situation. When the government shut things down, it was unforeseen until just weeks before, and people didn’t have time to adapt.”

Despite the shortcomings of the lockdown and its respective support plans for affected households, Junior Madison Murphy Fields commented, “For people that are in fear of losing their jobs…income support is excellent for families that need it.”