Congress passes COVID-19 legislation

 

Dear Friend,

A short while ago, the United States House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Senate unanimously passed the legislation earlier this week and President Trump has indicated he will sign the bill. The CARES Act provides $2 trillion in federal aid to counter the negative effects of the Coronavirus crisis.

In this email update, I’ve highlighted several of the bill’s major components. You can find my recent emails detailing state resources here and here.


Individual Stimulus Checks

Every adult with a social security number will receive a $1,200 check, $2,400 for couples. Families with children will receive an additional $500 per child age 17 or younger. The benefit phases out starting at $75,000 in Gross Adjusted 2018 income for single filers, $150,000 for joint filers. It ends completely at $99,000 for single filers, $198,000 for joint filers. The IRS will attempt to use the most recent banking information on file for taxpayers to distribute funds electronically for expediency’s sake. Failing that, they will issue paper checks.


Unemployment

The CARES Act will provide an additional $600 per week for unemployment benefits for up to four months. Funding will be provided to pay the cost of the first week of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 for states that choose to pay recipients as soon as they become unemployed instead of waiting one week before the individual is eligible to receive benefits. It also provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment benefits are no longer available.


Businesses

Up to $350 billion in Small Business Administration loans will be granted and forgiven under the new law. Out of that appropriation, $10 billion is set aside to provide $10,000 grants through the SBA. A further $17 billion set aside for SBA to cover 6 months of payments on existing SBA loans.

For larger businesses, the Treasury Department will oversee a $500 billion fund in conjunction with the Federal Reserve to leverage $4 trillion in loans that must be repaid.


Taxation

Under the CARES Act, employers may delay payment of their 2020 payroll taxes until 2021, freeing up $300 billion in cash for businesses.

Early withdrawals from IRAs and 401k plans due to COVID-19 are not subject to the 10 percent penalty any time during 2020.


Hospitals & Health Insurance

The CARES Act directs $117 billion in funds to hospitals, including VA hospitals. That amount includes $16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile of drugs, PPE, and other equipment and $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and other needs.

Importantly, all COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and services are to be covered without cost sharing by private medical plans.


Education

The bill will allow students to defer student loan payments for 6 months and to keep their Pell grants. It also prevents students who have to leave school as a result of COVID-19 from losing eligibility for future Pell grants. Students may keep unspent money from Pell grants or student loans.

Colleges and universities to continue to pay students for work-study programs even if they are unable to work due to closures.

$13.5 billion will go towards elementary and secondary school relief funding, most of which would be designated in the form of subgrants to individual schools.


Mortgage Relief

The CARES Act will prohibit foreclosures on all federally-backed mortgage loans for a 60-day period and provides up to 180 days of forbearance for federally-backed borrowers who have experienced a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 emergency.

The bill also will also provide up to 90 days of forbearance for borrowers with a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan who have experienced a financial hardship. Borrowers receiving forbearance may not evict or charge late fees to tenants for the duration of the forbearance period.

Further, for 120 days, landlords will be prohibited from initiating legal action to evict or charge fees and penalties to the tenant if the landlord’s mortgage on the property is in any way assisted by Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the rural housing voucher program, or the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.


I hope that you will find this information helpful. I’ll continue to share relevant information as it becomes available both via email and on my Facebook page. If you have questions or need assistance, please email me at DelKCox@house.virginia.gov or call my office at (804) 526-5135.

Sincerely,

Kirk Cox