On March 27, the President signed sweeping legislation into law in an attempt to provide economic relief to address the vast effects of coronavirus. There are six main groups that the act is targeting to attempt to mitigate the economic destruction of COVID-19: individuals, big corporations, small businesses, hospitals and other public health organizations, federal, state and local government, and education.
Throughout this pandemic, we have been providing our clients with up to date information about the social and governmental services available to help them bridge the gap during this devastating time and so this blog post is focused only on the aspects of the act that are targeted to help individuals. Here is how the CARES act may be able to help you to get economic aid if you have been affected by the coronavirus.
How does the CARES act help me?
There are a few categories of the act that would provide assistance for our clients:
Gig economy workers and the self-employed freelancers
We discuss this below.
How do the Cash payments work under the CARES act?
How Much Money Can I get from the CARES act?
Most people can expect a one time payment of $1,200. This is an individual payment, not a household payment and so even if you are married, you both can get a $1,200 check. Families will get a $500 check per child.
Am I Eligible to get Cash from the CARES act?
The primary qualifier for whether you can get cash from the CARES act due to the coronavirus is you income. If you earn less than $75,000 per year, you are eligible to receive $1,200. As your income goes up, the payments that you are eligible to receive go down. If you make more than $99,000 per year, you are not eligible to receive the payment. If you are a married couple and filed jointly, you are not eligible to receive the payment if your combined adjusted gross income is more than $198,000.
The act will use either your 2018 or 2019 tax returns to determine if you qualify. So, don't worry if you have not yet done your 2019 taxes, especially if you made more in 2019 that would prevent you from qualifying.
What if I did not File Taxes in 2018 or 2019, can I still get paid?
If you did not file taxes and do not receive social security benefits, file your taxes ASAP. The government has not yet set a firm cut off date for qualifying for this assistance, but this will help to expedite any payments you are eligible to receive.
Can I Get Money from the CARES act if I am on Social Security or Retired?
If you receive Social Security benefits and/or are retired, even if you do not file taxes, YOU ARE STILL ELIGIBLE. for the money from the CARES act. Your checks are going to be based on information provided by the Social Security Administration.
How Do I get Money from the CARES act if I have been Affected by Coronavirus
This will be done automatically. You do not have to apply. If you filed your 2019 taxes, the IRS will use the direct deposit information on your tax return to put the money in your bank account. If you did not provide the IRS with that information, they will mail you the check. If you have not filed 2019 taxes, the IRS will use your 2018 information.
When Do I get Money from the CARES act if I have been Affected by Coronavirus
The government has a goal of getting the first payments out on April 6, but some experts believe that a more realistic timeline is at the end of April.
Is this Money Taxable?
2. How Does the CARES act affect unemployment?
The US has 3.3 million Americans who have filed for unemployment as a result of the coronavirus. Many millions more are unemployed but not eligible for unemployment benefits. The CARES act was designed to attempt to fill this gap. The bill increased employment benefits and increased those who are eligible to receive the benefits, which would vary from state to state.
The CARES act gives supplemental unemployment payments due to coronavirus
The CARES act would add $600 per week of federal assistance to a base unemployment amount. In Louisiana, the base amount is $247. Now, the take home unemployment pay would be $847.
The CARES act gives supplemental unemployment payment weeks due to coronavirus
In addition to extending the amount of money for unemployment, the act also extends the number of weeks available to be on unemployment, adding 13 weeks of additional unemployment insurance.
3. The CARES act has extended the deadline for filing taxes
The CARES act extended the 2019 filing deadline for taxes to July 15; however, if you file earlier and are owed a refund, those refunds will still process timely.
4. The CARES act includes special benefits for gig economy workers and self-employed freelancers who have been affected by the coronavirus
It goes without saying that in New Orleans, we are hustlers, freelancers, and gig workers. COVID-19 has disproportionally affected our city in that regard. This means Airbnb hosts, Uber drivers, Lyft drivers, taxi drivers, food delivery workers, grocery delivery drivers, hairdressers, contract workers, artists, or anyone else who is 1099 employee, including people who cannot start a new job due to the coronavirus.
Thankfully, the CARES act includes special protections for those who would otherwise been unable to apply for unemployment.
The bill creates a new, temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through the end of this year to help people who lose work as a direct result of the public health emergency. You can now apply directly for unemployment insurance with your state.
5. How Does Coronavirus and the CARES act affect my student loans?
CARES act gives you the ability to pause your loan repayment on federal student loans to 9/30/20 due to coronavirus
CARES act provides no interest on your federal student loan repayment to 9/30/20 due to coronavirus
CARES act stops garnishment for student loan debt collection temporarily due to coronavirus.
Employers can provide up to $5,250 in tax-free student loan repayment benefits. That means an employer could contribute to loan payments and workers wouldn't have to include that money as income.
6. CARES act requires health insurers to cover Coronavirus Treatment
The bill requires all private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccine and makes all coronavirus tests free.
Kiefer & Kiefer is doing our best to keep our clients and followers informed of any government and social services that may be available during this difficult time. We will be posting updates on our website as we find them, but our Facebook page is the best way to find comprehensive and up to date information as well as links to websites that may provide additional information. You can follow us here: https://www.facebook.com/kieferandkiefer/