Coronavirus Legislation FAQ
Information for Individuals & Families
Q: Who is eligible for the direct relief payments?
A: The CARES Act provides direct relief payments to most taxpayers, providing cash immediately to individuals and families. Individuals are eligible for checks up to $1,200 and married couples filing jointly are eligible for checks up to $2,400, with an extra $500 for each child. This phases out beginning at $75,000 for individuals/$112,500 head of household/$150,000 for joint filers. Eligibility will be based on 2018 and 2019 tax returns. For Social Security beneficiaries, including retirement and disability, eligibility will be based on information from the Social Security Administration.
Q: How will I receive the direct relief payment?
A: For most Americans, no action on their part will be required in order to receive a rebate check as IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed, or their 2018 return.
Q: How does this impact Americans using retirement accounts?
A: The bill waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 from 401(k)s and IRAs for coronavirus-related expenses. Additionally, the bill waives the mandatory minimum distribution rules for contribution plans and IRAs in 2020, affording relief to individuals who would otherwise be required to withdraw funds from their retirement accounts.
Q: Are the self-employed, contract workers, and gig-workers eligible for unemployment insurance?
A: Yes, the bill expands unemployment benefits to cover more workers, including self-employed and independent contractors who do not usually qualify for unemployment. Overall, the bill provides $250 billion in funding for expansion of unemployment benefits.
Information for Businesses
Q: How does the CARES Act provide relief to small businesses?
A: The CARES Act creates the Paycheck Protection Program, a nearly $350 billion program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans are eligible to be forgiven, helping workers to remain employed and allowing small businesses and our economy to come back after the crisis. The Paycheck Protection Program would cover payroll costs, paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, health insurance premiums, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19.
Q: Who is eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program?
A: Businesses and 501(c)(3)s with fewer than 500 employees.
Q: Where can you get this loan?
A: Any existing SBA lenders and any lenders that are brought into the program through the Treasury. You should talk to your preferred financial lender to see if they qualify.
Q: What can you use the loan amount for?
A: Payroll costs - Group health care benefits - Employee salaries - Interest on ay mortgage obligation - Rent - Utilities - And any other debt obligations incurred before Feb. 15, 2020.
Q: What if you can’t pay it back?
A: All payment on principal, interest, and fees will be automatically deferred for six months. If the employer maintains payroll through June 30, 2020, the bill also provides loan forgiveness for any portion of the loan used to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities.
Q: How does the CARES Act provide regulatory relief to small businesses?
A: The CARES Act allows regulatory relief so banks can grant loan forbearance to their existing customers. Forbearance is not required under the bill, so please work with your lender to see if this is an option for you.
Q: Are businesses that employ more than 500 employees across multiple locations eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program at each individual location?
A: Congress allows businesses with more than one location that employ no more than 500 employees per location in certain industries, including the food service industry, to be eligible.
Information for Healthcare Providers
Q: Does the CARES Act address the PPE and COVID-19 testing supplies?
A: Yes, the CARES Act rushes resources to hospitals, doctors and other front-line providers. It provides $100 billion to ensure hospitals and healthcare providers continue to receive the support they need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue. It also includes $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts.
Q: How does the CARES Act address Telehealth?
A: The CARES Act expands the use of Telehealth in order to allow health professionals to diagnose and treat patients in a safe and faster environment. The CARES Act opens up expanded telehealth services in the Medicare program, allowing seniors across the nation to receive any current telehealth approved service (not just Coronavirus related services). The bill contains a significant expansion of telehealth by allowing patients to see doctors with whom they don’t already have a relationship, connecting folks on home dialysis with providers, and allowing federally qualified health centers and rural health centers to participate.
Q: Does the CARES Act expand coverage of future testing, treatments, and vaccines?
A: Yes, the CARES Act expands coverage of COVID-19 diagnostics. The bill clarifies that all testing for COVID-19 is to be covered by private insurance plans without cost sharing, including those tests without an Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA. The bill also mandates timely commercial insurance coverage of COVID-19 vaccines or preventive treatments in commercial plans. Coverage is provided for any future vaccine under Medicare Part B exempt from the deductible and at no cost in the Medicaid program. The bill provides a state option to provide vaccine coverage for the uninsured through the Medicaid program.
Q: What does the bill provide for distressed industries?
A: The CARES Act provides $425 billion to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund for distressed industries through loans, loan guarantees, and investments. These loans, not bailouts, include direct lending to the following: $50 billion for passenger airlines, $8 billion for cargo airlines, and $17 billion for businesses critical to “maintaining national security.”
Q: How does the CARES Act help states and local governments?
A: It creates the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund under the Department of Treasury for states and local governments. Eligible local governments may apply directly to the Treasury for funding and amounts paid to a state will be reduced accordingly. Funds may only be used to cover the costs associated with necessary expenses incurred as a result of the coronavirus.
Q: How will the Coronavirus Relief Fund for states and local governments be allocated?
A: Funding is allocated among the states based on their population, subtracting any amounts paid to local governments. Funds must be allocated within 30 days after March 27, 2020. Only local governments with populations over 500,000, per the most recent year of Bureau of Census data, may apply for funding directly with the Treasury. Local governments with populations under 500,000 must work with their states to receive funding.