Benefits extended by Trump’s executive orders could help families stay afloat

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
President Donald Trump holds a coronavirus briefing at the White House on July 21, 2020. (Credit: Pool)

Many people in Southwest Florida have been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. and on Saturday, President Donald Trump signed executive orders that would extend benefits so many families can keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table.

Rene Otero of Port Charlotte had to stop working to take care of her six children when schools closed. “It was better for the whole family for someone to stay home and make sure they did their schoolwork.”

She had been receiving $600 per week in unemployment but that has now expired. With the executive order Trump signed on Saturday, she could begin receiving $400 per week.

Of that $400 per week, states will have to cover 25%. This means that the federal government would be responsible for $300 and the state government would be responsible for $100.

The $600 was helping this family. “It’s paid the bills. We’ve managed to keep groceries,” Otero said.

But she knows with the smaller amount they may have a harder time getting everything they need. “We’ll have to pinch a little harder.”

Other executive orders signed by Trump included a freeze on student loan payments, an extension for the freeze on evictions and a payroll tax cut for anyone who earns $100,000 a year or less.

However, the Paycheck Protection Program was not renewed during this round of executive orders.

“It’s some reassurance to help out people that are struggling. I mean not everyone has a job. A lot of people lost their jobs,” said Jesse Dunham of Punta Gorda.

While Otero and her family are thankful for the relief funds, she also hopes things go back to normal and sooner rather than later.

“We just got to work together and get through it.”

Trump said that if he’s re-elected, he’ll look into making the payroll tax cut permanent although some worry that could affect Social Security and Medicare.

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