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2009 Stimulus – Education and Other Benefits

by Ryan Guina

In two earlier articles, I discussed how the 2009 economic stimulus recovery plan could affect your taxes and how the stimulus will affect people receiving unemployment benefits. In addition to these benefits, there are a couple more provisions that will have a direct impact on tax payer’s wallets. These include some educational provisions, and direct assistance provisions like food stamps and welfare programs.

Educational provisions in the 2009 economic recovery plan

The stimulus plan calls for educational grants and tax credits.

Tax credits. Individuals making less than $80,000 or families making less than $160,000 can get up to $2,500 in tax credits for college tuition. 40 percent ($1,000) of the credit is refundable.

Pell grants. The maximum amount of money a student can receive from the Pell grant increases to $5,350 per student for the 2009-2010 school year.

Direct personal benefit provisions in the 2009 economic stimulus plan

People have complained for years that food stamps and welfare are not sufficient. The 2009 economic recovery plan calls for a boost.

Food stamps. The 2009 economic stimulus bill includes a line item that would increase food stamp payments by 13.6%. A family of four currently receives $588 per month, and would receive an additional $80 per month. The bill also increases aid to state and local groups that provide food and shelter, such as food banks, homeless shelters, Meals on Wheels, and other similar groups.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The 2009 stimulus bill provides funding for states to create a new fund for the welfare program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which provides cash assistance to the needy. This program is expected to be in place through 2010.

My thoughts about the 2009 economic stimulus plan

I think this is a better overall plan than giving people a couple hundred dollars, a pat on the back, and a telling them “good luck in 2009.” I didn’t cover every provision covered in the stimulus plan, but there are many others including provisions that should create jobs and give companies certain tax breaks which will hopefully stem the tide of unemployment. The first economic stimulus plan was just a check with the hope that people would spend money. The 2009 economic stimulus recovery plan is more about helping those who need it most – those who are low income and unemployed.


Published or updated December 29, 2011.
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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen

My husband and I have been arguing about this stimulus package. We are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Yes, there are things in this plan that I think should have been cut. However I also think there is a lot of good in it. No plan was going to be perfect, and I really believe this plan is better than no plan at all.

One of the provisions is to give local police departments money to hire more officers. My husband is a police officer. Most of his department shares his political beliefs. I told him since he was so against all of this that if his department was offered any stimulus money to hire more people he should just go and tell his chief to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” :)

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2 Miranda

After looking over some of the provisions in this plan, I do feel a little bit better. I think it is more useful than a) the last economic stimulus bill and b) throwing money willy-nilly at banks (although that is likely to keep happening, unfortunately).

We’ll have to see, though.

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3 Kristy @ Master Your Card

My opinion on the plan is that there is too much pork; however, as Kristen said, there is a lot of good here.

I’m not a big fan of the welfare addition. I think $588 per month is plenty. Families in need should be more conscious of what they’re spending their money on and they should be buying the foods that can make bigger meals cheaper so they go further. Welfare isn’t about helping you get the junk food and things you’d buy if you were spending your own money. It’s about making sure you have the very basics necessary to survive while you get on your feet.

In my Sociology class we just talked about welfare programs and according to statistics, most people want to get off of welfare as soon as possible, and many don’t stay on past a year. That tells me that those people had need of the program and worked their butts off in order to move on. That’s what the program was intended for. However, these people that have been on the program for 5 years or more need to have their situations reassessed. Not only are they not going to do what they need to do to move away from the “freebies,” but now we’re talking about giving them more. It’s a drain on tax payer dollars to allow those people to take advantage of the system. So, in my opinion, adding money to these social welfare programs is a mistake. Instead, the focus should be on increasing jobs and helping these people find jobs. It should work like unemployment, you only get it for so long and then you’re cut off. Five years is a pretty good time limit in my opinion.

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4 Paula Sizemore

Did your sociology class tell you that people need to be re-educated and socialized away from the poverty mentality? Also, are you aware that in some states enrolling in a college means loosing or greatly reducing your benefits?
Also are you aware of the fact that the “junk” foods you spoke of are actually cheaper in poorer areas, and that healthy foods cost much much more than cheap, high sodium, high chemical/preservative foods that over a child (or adult’s) consumption of them, impact with dietary related diseases such as diabetes, juvenile obesity, hypercholesteralemia?

I agree with your five year plan – however the plan should be to give full support to mothers, fathers and those on state/gov aid that will allow them to go to college, bolsters skills, and attain a viable degree or certification that will facilitate them “getting off welfare asap”

Opinions are all good – however, dig deeper and fact find about the “truth” of government subsistance living.

If our states offered ‘living wages’ rather than minimum wages, more people would not have to seek state aid.

If our states offered medical benefits to cover those employees with benefitless jobs, more people would not fall into debt.

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5 frugalCPA

Do you know if the college tax credits count for the 2008-2009 shool year, or are they just for next year?

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6 Ryan

FrugalCPA: To be honest, I don’t know. I read this when the bill was announced last weekend. I haven’t read any updates (I’ve been in bed sick all week and am playing catch up right now).

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7 Sam

Your last sentence sums up the plan. It has nothing to do with economic stimulus but was intended to help the lower income individuals, which is fine if that is what they wanted to do. To call it an economic stimulus plan is a joke. There is nothing in the plan to provide incentive for businesses to spend money. Private business spending is the only type of spending that can truly stimulate the economy. Government spending will not produce the revenue needed for the federal and state budgets for the next year. The plan fails tor recognize the large deficit in all governments it has created in the very near future. As americans, we deserve to be told the truth from our politicians. We have been mislead by yet another presidential administration.

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8 Beverly

I just wish someone could explain how money for tattoo removal could have gotten into the stimulus package, and why it didn’t get removed.

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9 Ryan

Beverly: I didn’t hear anything about tattoo removal, but anytime there is a major piece of legislation all kinds of pet projects and seemingly unnecessary bills get added. We have a huge problem with pork barreling in our political system. The 2009 economic stimulus package is no exception.

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10 LDHolmes

I’m not sure how the unemployed and truly needy are being helped by the stimulus package when only the employed will be getting help from it this year. Many people with disabilities have been struggling to become gainfully employed in the past year, no longer qualify for unemployment benefits, and they are being excluded from the package. Some are in school in the attempt to become more employable in an economy that is steadily laying people off, and they too could use some help at a time like this. But no, those who had an income last year are the ones to benefit, not those living at poverty levels or slightly above who were without an income all year. So Obama is helping those who already have money. It makes little sense!

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11 listen up

you’re always upset about the poor people getting something,so they buy a little junk food.the people we put in office are spending our money like it’s no end to it,they travel,throw parties pay hookers and anything they think of.yet you are worried that some poor slob is getting something they don’t deserve,they pay taxes in all kinds of ways also.the foodstamps at least will help farmers,wholesalers,distributors and stores.they won’t throw the money in the bank where the bankers won’t lend it, at least it will get back into the economy.we should hope that the people get more of our money,knowing we the people can spend our money better than anyone else.our senators and representives and congressmen are getting rich off of us with their lifetime pay after office and their pay while in office,not even counting the gifts and deal making.but here you are worried about the little guy getting a steak or shrimp lol .let them get what ever they can,the government isn’t going to give that much,poor people are bailing out the rich.

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12 julie pal

I wanna know if any one recieving a welfare check or a disability check , how much tax check they’ll recieve.??

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13 shanny

I’m on food stamps and that previous poster about what they learned in class, obviously hasn’t been introduced to the real world yet. Anyways, we made over $100,000 last year, my husband and I both lost our jobs, manufacturing in Detroit (we also have college degrees). I had the 6 month emergency fund, we lived modestly, but do have two cars and a nice small 900 sq ft house. Well my savings is depleated and now I’m working on our 401, but I’m just delaying the inevitable. We are also 31 with two children. I’m the only one receiving unemployment and that is our only income. Anyways, other than the two months I’ve worked this year, I have yet to pay any income taxes and am freaking out about when I have to file. I think that what people are missing is that the people on welfare now, are the people that truely need it and what the system was truely set up for. However, I was denied mulitple times for food stamps and was asked directly to my face why I needed help but the 18 year old minority sitting next to me with three kids who missed her manditory class three times was getting her cash benifits restored with no questions asked and a new appointment date set up for her class that I’m sure she’ll miss. I was not asking for cash, however I’m sure I’ll be doing that soon. I finally got the food stamps and I get a little over $300 a month, which for a family of four, it does not last long enough. And to that social idiot mentioned earlier, junk food is really all you can afford. So meatloaf and pasta are our daily staples oh and cereal, getting vegtables and fruit is a once a month thing. Now I’m someone who does not eat store brand food, now thats all I buy. I’m getting away from my point, but what it is is that what is being done to stimulate the economy really isn’t working, and those of us who are in dire need, hate going to the welfare office, but as a wake up call, go to one and look who’s there. You will be really suprised to see that it is people like you and me.

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14 Denise

Shanny, I’m sorry for the difficult times you and your family are having now.. with that said…you are sounding a little racist about the fact that a minority is sitting beside you and she missed her class and will probably miss the next…You are in a situation that someone could easily be saying why don’t you and your husband just take any job and do what you gotta do!! That would not be fair to you because we don’t know your situation aside what you have shared, the minority with three children who missed her appointment is not your business you don’t know what her situation is except that she’s 18, with 3 children worry about yourself and less about others…

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15 Ryan

Julie: The personal tax breaks for the 2009 economic stimulus plan are laid out in this article: 2009 Economic Stimulus Personal Tax Breaks.

Some people will be eligible to receive a one time $250 check. I cannot tell you if you will be eligible for that or not because I am not familiar enough with the requirements or your situation. I recommend you contact the IRS for more information.

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