Understanding COVID Relief Eligibility


Date: April 3, 2020

Last week, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law, delivering much-needed relief to American workers and families. In order to slow the spread of the virus, business owners across the country have been forced to close their doors, leaving countless employees to wonder how they will pay their bills. The CARES Act will offer direct and immediate relief to Americans through economic impact payments and other benefits.

One of the top priorities of this bill is to provide immediate financial relief for millions of Americans who are struggling to pay their bills in the wake of the coronavirus. The bill offers a one-time tax rebate check of $1,200 per individual and $500 per child with a valid social security number. The full amount is available to those earning $75,000 or less, $112,500 for the head of the household, and $150,000 for married couples. The credit phases out entirely for individuals who make more than $99,000 or joint filers who make more than $198,000. Eligibility will be based on your most recently filed tax returns; eligibility for Social Security (retirement and disability) and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries who are not required to file a tax return will be determined based off of information on the form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099. For more information, visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus

The bill also loosens rules on retirement accounts, allowing older Americans that are subject to mandatory minimum distributions from retirement accounts to keep their capital invested instead of being forced to draw down on their capital without penalty, which would be suspended for 2020. The bill also waives the 10% penalty on coronavirus-related early distributions from 401(k)s and IRA, which applies to distributions made at any time of 2020. College students are also feeling the crunch, which is why the bill pauses federal student loan repayment for up to six months and employer-sponsored repayment of student loans will not be counted as taxable income for 2020.

Businesses across the country are struggling and desperately need relief to stay afloat and make payroll. Employers that continue to pay furloughed employees may be eligible for a 50% credit on up to $10,000 in wages paid to those employees. This lifeline will help workers keep their jobs, help local businesses ride out the storm, and ensure that furloughed employees have jobs to return to. Businesses can delay payment on 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022, creating $300 billion in cash flow for businesses. They are also able to carry back losses up to five years, clearing the way for immediate tax refunds.

The Coronavirus' impact is widespread, and American businesses and families across the country are hurting. We are hopeful that this relief package will offer some security for American families and workers as we all do our part to practice social distancing and decrease the spread of this virus. If you have additional questions about eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact my office directly or visit my website at long.house.gov.

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