The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It offers help in many forms for individuals and businesses affected by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Help for Individuals: Stimulus Payments
Individuals, including Social Security recipients, earning $75,000 or less will receive a $1,200 payment.
Married couples filing joint returns with incomes of $150,000 or less will receive a $2,400 payment.
People with incomes higher than those levels will receive partial payments. Individuals earning more than $99,000 and couples earning more than $198,000 will not receive any payment, unless they have children.
Parents of qualifying children will get a one-time payment of $500 per child.
You will not have to do anything to automatically receive your payment by direct deposit or check if:
You filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018, or
People with direct deposit will get their payments weeks before those receiving checks. If the IRS doesn't have your direct deposit information, don't worry. You'll be able to provide it through a new IRS website coming soon.
Low-income taxpayers and some others who don’t normally file will have to submit a simple tax return to get their payment. If you are in this category, check back frequently at irs.gov/coronavirus. Further instructions will be posted soon.
Help for Individuals: Expansion of Unemployment Benefits
The CARES Act expands unemployment benefits in several ways. It authorizes:
Self-employed workers and gig workers to receive unemployment benefits
All unemployed workers to receive an extra $600 a week for up to six months
Unemployed workers to get an extra 13 weeks of benefits beyond the number a state currently provides
Help for Businesses: Small Business Administration Loans
The CARES Act creates or boosts programs designed to keep small businesses afloat.
The Paycheck Protection Program is for:
Businesses with less than 500 employees
Private non-profit organizations
The program provides loans for payroll and certain other expenses.
Businesses that pay all employees for eight weeks will not have to repay loans used for:
The Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan provides a loan advance for businesses losing money due to the coronavirus.
Advances are up to $10,000.
Money will be available within three days of a successful application.
Help for Businesses: Payroll Tax Credit for Businesses of All Sizes
The Employee Retention Credit allows businesses of all sizes to receive a tax credit for keeping employees on their payroll. It will refund 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses that take small business loans are not eligible.
Federal Student Loan Relief
Federal student loan payments are suspended from March 13 to September 30, 2020. Your payments will automatically stop during this period.
Home Loan Relief: Federally-Backed Mortgages
Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium
An eviction and foreclosure moratorium went into effect on March 18 for 60 days. During that time, homeowners:
Will not be charged late fees
Will not be evicted from their homes
Will not initiate foreclosure proceedings
Will suspend foreclosure proceedings already in process
Federally-backed home loans can get six months of mortgage help. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reverse mortgages are eligible too.
If you're having trouble making payments because of the coronavirus pandemic, your loan servicer must:
Either defer or reduce your payments for six months. You must contact your loan servicer to make arrangements.
Give you another six months of mortgage relief at your request
Renter Relief: Multi-Family Homes With Federally-Backed Mortgages
If you live in an apartment building with a federally-backed mortgage, you're safe from eviction till late July.
You're covered by a 120-day eviction moratorium for not paying rent. The moratorium started March 27.
You can’t be charged late fees or penalties for not paying rent during this time.
Credit Report Protection
Your credit report won’t be hurt if your lender agrees to suspend or reduce your payments due to the pandemic. Lenders must report to credit bureaus that consumers are current on their loans..