The United States is among the countries most severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. As elsewhere in the world, a period of containment has been observed, foreshadowing in the short term a serious economic crisis. To help the poorest, the government has set up financial aid. But the banks could requisition them.
Households will be deprived of aid because of their overdrafts and debts
The U.S. government is already thinking about the aftermath and anticipates an even tougher crisis period than what the country is currently experiencing.
Life will have to go back to the way it was before, and for many households, it will mean starting from scratch. The U.S. government has included a package of assistance to help those most affected in its massive relief effort.
The exact amount of this package has not been disclosed.
The financial aid of 1,200 dollars is aimed at all workers whose income for the last year (before the coronavirus) does not exceed 75,000 dollars. For couples, the annual income scale is set at $150,000. Qualifying households will then receive $2,400 plus $500 per dependent child.
However, there is one possibility that worries observers. The aid will be paid directly into the bank account of each recipient. But if the latter had outstanding debts (overdraft penalties, account maintenance fees, etc.) or had an outstanding loan, his bank could deduct from the stimulus check what the client owes him, for example the monthly payments with late penalties.
In principle, this practice would not be illegal
If the banks were to actually use the stimulus check to get reimbursed, no legal action could be taken by the customer, as there is no law prohibiting this practice.
The beneficiaries will have to rely on the good faith of the banks to hope to receive this assistance, which can be vital in these difficult times. And indeed, some banks have stated that despite the unpaid debts, they do not intend to add another misfortune to their customers in difficulty.