The new legislation extends the existing $8,000 first-time home buyer credit beyond its scheduled Nov. 30 expiration date. Now home buyers must sign a contract before April 30, 2010 and close by June 30, 2010 to take advantage of the credit. The bill made more homeowners eligible to claim the tax credit. First-time buyers who have not owned a home in the past three years qualify for an $8,000 rebate. The credit was extended to now include existing homeowners who sell their current property and purchase a primary residence that costs $800,000 or less. These people who have owned and occupied a residence for at least five years can claim a $6,500 tax credit. Home buyers who qualify must maintain the new home as their main residence for at least three years or they will have to repay the credit. The bill also increased the income levels to couples earning as much as $225,000 a year and individuals earning up to $125,000, compared to the current income levels of $75,000 limit for individuals and $150,000 for couples.
The fourth extension of unemployment benefits to the longtime jobless will be offered in all states. The law provides a additional 14 weeks of unemployment benefits to all out-of-work people who have exhausted their benefits or will do so by the end of the year. Those in states where the jobless rate is 8.5% or above get an additional six weeks.