James Oliphant
Chicago Tribune
February 19, 2009

President Obama signed the $787-billion stimulus package into law Tuesday while in Denver, his first major legislative victory and the final stroke in a six-week effort to jump-start the nation’s struggling economy. Both houses of Congress passed the bill last week despite little Republican support.

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Here are answers to some basic questions about the mammoth bill — one of the biggest in U.S. history — and how it could affect you and your family:

How soon will I benefit from this?

If you are unemployed and have not already received an extension on your benefits, the package provides up to 33 weeks of extended benefits to those who have exhausted their regular 26 weeks, depending on an individual state’s jobless rate.

Food stamp benefits will rise 13%.

Recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, railroad retirement benefits and veterans disability compensation or pension benefits will receive a one-time payment of $250.

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