Today the House of Representatives approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES ACT”), which is a 2 trillion dollar stimulus package to respond to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
So what are the highlights of this new law and how do they impact you?
It depends on your personal situation:
- Most Americans will get a one-time payment of $1,200.
- Families get an extra $500 per child.
- If you make more than $75k/year, you won’t get the full $1,200
- If you make more than $99k/year, you don’t qualify.
The government will determine how much you receive based on your gross income reported on your most recent tax returns.
If you are unemployed:
This new package expands who qualifies for unemployment benefits. Those who lost their jobs would get whatever their state usually provides for unemployment, plus $600 per week for up to four months. And those who aren’t typically eligible for benefits, including gig workers (e.g., Uber, Lyft drivers) and freelancers will be covered. In addition, the federal government will cover an additional 13 weeks of extended benefits. Currently, state unemployment checks last up to between 12 weeks and 28 weeks, depending on the state (PA is 26 without an extension).
When will I get my check?
The timeline for receiving the checks is not clear. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Americans would receive checks within three weeks. The money could be sent out electronically or by mail.
What else does this law cover?
- $367 billion dollars has been set aside for small businesses (e.g., for loans to help pay workers or pay rent).
- $130 billion dollars will go to hospitals fighting the coronavirus.
- Industries like airlines can get some relief from the package’s $500 billion loan fund.
- The Department of Education will suspend payments on student loan borrowers without penalty through September 30, 2020.
- The deadline to obtain a REAL ID, federally mandated identification that will be needed for passengers to board aircraft, will be extended until at least September 2021 — a year past the current deadline.
- Housing protections against foreclosures on mortgages and evictions for renters. Anyone facing a financial hardship from coronavirus will be given a forbearance on a federally backed mortgage loan of up to 60 days, which can be extended for four periods of 30 days each. Those with federally backed mortgage loans who have tenants are also not allowed to evict tenants solely for failure to pay rent for a 120-day period, and they may not charge fees or penalties to tenants for failing to pay rent.