Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Top social icons

CARES and Families First Act

FEDERAL RESPONSE AND RESOURCES

Para ver esta página en español, haga clic aquí.

Congress continues to work to mitigate the full-scale impacts of the spread of COVID-19 across the country. To date, Congress has passed three bipartisan emergency response bills.

The first package, signed into law on March 6, is the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 6074). This package provides $8.3 billion dollars to fund the development of treatments and a coronavirus vaccine, provides public health funding for state and local health departments, and supports small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Specifically, this package includes:

  • $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, especially to state & local health agencies;
  • Over $3 billion in funding for the research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
  • Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers and to improve medical surge capacity; and
  • An estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses.

The second package, signed into law on March 18, is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201). This package includes numerous measures to counter the economic effects of this pandemic and support working families through this crisis, including:

  • Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including those without health insurance;
  • Paid emergency leave with both two weeks of paid sick leave as well as up to three months of paid family and medical leave at no less than two-thirds pay;
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance to extend protections to furloughed workers;
  • Strengthened food security initiatives, including additional funding for SNAP, WIC, the Senior Nutrition program, student meals, and local food banks; and
  • Increased federal funds for Medicaid as states face increased costs.

The third package, passed by the House on March 27, is the CARES Act (H.R. 748). This $2 trillion package makes unprecedented investments in American families, workers, and health care. The legislation includes:

  • Direct cash payments to Americans of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. The full payment is available to individuals making up to $75,000 and couples up to $150,000 per year.
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance to allow workers, on average, to receive their full pay for four months. The bill also ensures laid-off workers are protected, no matter the size of the business that employs them and includes those who are self-employed and gig economy workers. It also allows furloughed workers to stay on as employees and simultaneously receive Unemployment Insurance so that they can return to their jobs when this crisis ends.
  • Critical resources for health care providers and front-line workers through $150 billion in funding for our health care system. This funding will support critical investments in personal protective equipment for health care workers, testing, health care supplies, workforce and training, new facility construction, expanded research into COVID-19, and telehealth technology for health care delivery.
  • Extensive relief for small businesses, including $10 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide emergency grants of up to $10,000, as well as $17 billion for the SBA to cover six months of payments for businesses with existing SBA loans. There is also $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants to small businesses and non-profits to allow them to maintain existing workforce and pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities.
  • Funding to help industries that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with protections in place for the American taxpayer.
  • Support for students through $30 billion in overall emergency education funding and deferments on student loans.
  • Over $12 billion for affordable housing, rental support and homelessness assistance programs, including a temporary moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for homeowners and renters living in federally subsidized apartments and homes with federally backed mortgages.
  • Eased retirement rules. This bill waives the additional 10 percent tax on early distributions from retirement accounts for people who have been economically harmed by coronavirus. It also waives required minimum distributions in 2020 from defined contribution plans (such as 401(k) plans) and IRAs. The waiver includes required minimum distributions that are due by April 1, 2020 because the account owner turned 70 ½ in 2019. 
  • Election assistance to help states prepare for complications in upcoming elections as a result of COVID-19.

For more information, visit: Government Response to Coronavirus, COVID-19

Addtional resources from the federal government can be found below:

 

Financial Aid

Para ver esta página en español, haga clic aquí.

Following the passage of the Coronavirus Aid and Relief Economic Security (CARES) Act immediate direct cash payments are available for lower and middle-income Americans.

The CARES Act provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household.  These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.

Timeline

People who opt to receive payments via direct deposit will begin to receive payments the week of April 13. Approximately 10 days later, Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019 will begin to receive payments via direct deposit. Paper checks will be begin to be mailed out the last week of April. Lower income individuals will receive checks first.

People have three options for providing their direct deposit information to the IRS before a paper check is mailed.  You can:

File your 2019 tax return and include the requested banking information on the return (if you are required to file a federal tax return in 2019 and have not yet done so); 

File a simple tax form with a few questions, including the requested banking information (if you are not required to file a federal tax return); or

Provide your banking information in anew online portal (if you already filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 without this information). This portal will be open the week of April 13.

You can find up-to-date information on the IRS's website.

 

Below is an FAQ regarding the $1,200 cash payments.

2020 Rebates: Most Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Congress proposing to pay rebates to individuals?

The public health and economic consequences of COVID-19 are significant. These rebates help Americans afford what they need during this public health crisis, as many are experiencing a significant cash crunch.

When will the rebates be distributed?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will work to deliver rebates quickly in the form of advance payments. For people who filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019, payment processing will be based on payment or address information already on file with the IRS. Electronic distributions will be automatic to an account the payee authorized January 1, 2018 or later.

How large are the rebates?

The amount of the rebate depends on family size. The payment is $1,200 for each adult individual ($2,400 for joint filers), and $500 per qualifying child under age 17. The advance payment of rebates is reduced by $5 for every $100 of income to the extent a taxpayer’s income exceeds $150,000 for a joint filer, $112,500 for a head of household filer, and $75,000 for anyone else (including single filers).

Do rebates need to be repaid?

No, rebates do not need to be repaid. If an individual experienced an income loss in 2020 or if they have an increase in family size, they may be able to claim an additional credit of the difference when the individual files their 2020 tax federal income tax return in 2021.

How will rebates be delivered?

It depends. Rebates will be delivered automatically—by the IRS—to most Americans who file individual federal income tax returns. When available, electronic direct deposit will be used in place of mailing a physical check.

Many individuals don't need to file a tax return. Are non-filers eligible for rebates?

Yes. There is no earned income requirement to be eligible for a rebate, but non-filers may need to take additional steps to receive their rebates. The Social Security Administration will share information for Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) beneficiaries with IRS to help ensure these beneficiaries receive an automatic advance payment. The IRS will conduct a public awareness campaign to reach other non-filers and provide them with information on how they can access rebates.

How will a person who has recently moved access rebates?

The IRS will determine payment delivery systems for everyone entitled to rebates.

Will the rebates affect my eligibility for federal income-targeted programs?

No, the rebate is considered a tax refund and is not counted towards eligibility for federal programs.

What identification requirements apply to receive rebates?

Taxpayers must have Social Security Numbers for themselves and their qualifying children in order to receive rebates.

 

Additional Information:

IRS - Economic Impact Payment Information Center

Rebates Explainer

Families First COVID-19 Resources Toolkit

 

SMALL BUSINESS

Para ver esta página en español, haga clic aquí.

On March 27th, Congress passed the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act which provides more than $376 billion in relief for struggling small businesses, mainly in the form of forgivable payroll loans, disaster grants, and debt relief for current borrowers.  Impacted small business owners are advised to visit the Small Business Administration's website for more information on how to apply to the various programs enacted by the legislation, including:

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans: The program authorizes up to $349 billion in 100 percent guaranteed, low interest, no fee loans of up to $10 million pay their employees and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities. Loans are forgiven if the borrower has retained the same number of employees as when they received the loan. The SBA’s network of 2,500 7(a) lenders will be used to process these loans to any eligible small and medium sized businesses of up to 500 employees. Non-profits, independent contractors, and the self-employed also qualify. You can find more information on the SBA Paycheck Protection Program HERE.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL): Small business owners in all U.S. states, including Texas, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. You can apply to the EIDL Program HERE.

SBA Existing Debt Relief: $17 billion has been allocated for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans. The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months. Find more information HERE.

If your small business has been impacted, consider applying for a low-interest disaster loan. To locate your local satellite office, click here

If you are a small business owner and need to navigate the newly passed CARES Act, please read the Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act. Please reach out to our office if you have any questions. 

 

Additional Documents & FAQs:

Everything You Need to Know About PPP

SBA Paycheck Protection Program - Application Form

PPP Borrower Information Fact Sheet

Small Business Guide & Checklist

Faith-Based Organizations SBA FAQs

Small Business - CARES Act FAQs

Families First COVID-19 Resources Toolkit

 

 

STUDENT LOANS

Para ver esta página en español, haga clic aquí.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) passed by Congress on March 27, includes support for students and student borrowers who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes $30 billion in emergency education funding and a series of actions to reduce the burden of student loans during this crisis. 
 
The CARES Act suspends federal student loan payments, the accrual of interest on these loans, and involuntary collection of payments – including garnishment from wages, tax refunds, or Social Security or other federal benefits – through September 30, 2020. Most federal loans are included in this provision; however, private student loans and some Federal Family Education Loans and Perkins Loans are not included. 

Additionally, each month of the temporary suspension will count as if a payment has been made for a borrower in a loan forgiveness or rehabilitation program, including those under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Even though you aren’t making any payments, the CARES Act requires the federal government and credit reporting agencies to count these months as though you are. If your employer pays your student loan obligations, they can do so tax-free up to January 1, 2021 for up to $5,250.

Please be advised that you can choose to pay your federal student loans during the temporary suspension; however, your monthly payment will not change. Each student loan payment will pay off any previously accrued interest first and then will reduce your principal balance, helping you pay off your loans faster.

While these provisions do not amount to complete forgiveness, they provide student borrowers with needed relief from their obligations now. 

For more information on the efforts the Department of Education is taking to address the COVID-19 national emergency, visit: COVID-19 Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel 

For the federal student aid FAQs pages on coronavirus, visit:

Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers and Parents

Guidance for interruptions of study related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

FAQs:

Education - CARES Act FAQs

Families First COVID-19 Resources Toolkit

 

VETERANS

Para ver esta página en español, haga clic aquí.

Before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities, veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms—such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath—are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected). Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment. This may include referral to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.

What about routine appointments and previously scheduled procedures?

VA is encouraging all veterans to call their VA facility before seeking any care—even previously scheduled medical visits, mental health appointments, or surgical procedures. Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet and find out whether they should still come in for their scheduled appointments. VA providers may arrange to convert appointments to video visits, where possible.

Can visitors still access VA medical facilities?

Many VA medical facilities have canceled public events for the time being, and VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to postpone their visits to local VA medical facilities. Facilities have also been directed to limit the number of entrances through which visitors can enter. Upon arrival, all patients, visitors, and employees will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposure.

What about VA nursing homes and spinal cord injury units?

On March 10, 2020, VA announced that its 134 nursing homes (also called VA community living centers) and 24 spinal cord injury and disorder centers would be closed to all outside visitors. All clinical staff will be screened for COVID-19 daily before entering the nursing home or spinal cord injury units, and staff will work only within those units to limit possible transmission of the virus. Exceptions to the visitor policy will only be made for cases when veterans are in their last stages of life on hospice units or inpatient spinal cord injury units.

FAQs:

Families First COVID-19 Resources Toolkit