What Congress Is Doing
There have been four phases of coronavirus supplemental funding signed into law, and another passed by the House, with more expected in the future:
On March 6th, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act as the first step in addressing the spreading coronavirus pandemic in the United States. This bill includes:
- Over $3 billion for the development of treatments and a coronavirus vaccine.
- $300 million to ensure that any coronavirus vaccine that is developed will be available to anyone, regardless of insurance coverage.
- $2.2 billion in public health funding, including support for state, local, and tribal public health organizations.
- Protections against price-gouging on any coronavirus drugs or vaccines.
- $7 billion in low-interest Small Business Association Loans.
On March 18th, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, bipartisan legislation that provides a multibillion-dollar coronavirus aid package to protect families’ health, economic security and well-being. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is designed to cover:
- Full cost of Covid-19 testing for all Americans, including those who are uninsured.
- Two weeks of paid sick leave for workers at companies with 500 or fewer employees, or about 87 million Americans combined.
- More than $1 billion to maintain federal nutrition assistance, such as subsidized lunches for low-income children, food banks, and meals for eligible seniors.
- $1 billion to help states process and cover unemployment insurance claims.
- Roughly $500 million to allow Medicare providers to administer telehealth services to elderly patients unable to leave their homes.
- $2.2 billion for federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.
- $1 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and nonprofit organizations.
On March 27th, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which introduces more support for individuals, families, and businesses during this pandemic. Click HERE for a summary of the bill. The CARES Act includes:
- Expanded and increased unemployment insurance that now includes self-employed, part-time, and gig economy workers. It provides an extra $600 per week for 13 extra weeks.
- $150 billion for health care protective equipment, testing supplies, training, and facilities.
- $377 billion for small business and non-profit grants and assistance.
- Direct payments to individuals of up to $1,200.
- $150 billion for state and local coronavirus prevention and treatment.
- Additional funding for the Strategic National Stockpile, Defense Production Act, and housing and educational support.
On April 23, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which expands pandemic relief by:
- Providing $310 for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to give loans to small businesses to keep employees on the payroll. $60 billion is reserved for small and midsized lenders and credit unions.
- Giving $50 billion to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for emergency disaster lending (EIDL).
- Including $75 billion for hospitals, health systems, and health care workers.
- Allocating $25 billion for coronavirus testing.
- Agreeing on a national strategic testing policy to increase testing capabilities.
On May 15, the House passed the Heroes Act, but it has not been taken up in the Senate. Included in the bill:
- Nearly $1 trillion for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to pay vital workers.
- Creation of a Heroes fund for essential workers to provide hazard pay.
- $75 billion for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and isolation measures, free coronavirus treatment for all Americans, and support for hospitals and providers.
- Additional direct payments of $1,200 to individuals.
- Payroll protections, extended unemployment benefits, safety requirements, and increased assistance programs to help small businesses and nonprofits and their employees.
- Housing assistance and food security for individuals and families impacted by the coronavirus.
- Resources to ensure safe elections and an accurate Census, and protect the United States Postal Service.
On October, 15, the House passed a second, updated Heroes Act. This updated version reflects negotiations with the White House but still includes key priorities from the first Heroes Act including individual payments, unemployment benefits, payroll protection, and testing, tracing and treatment for COVID-19. Click HERE for a one-page summary of the bill. Updates in this bill include:
- Improving and extending the Paycheck Protection Program to support small businesses and provide additional assistance for airline industry workers.
- Supplemental funding for education including K-12 schools, post-secondary education, and child care for families.
FEDERAL STIMULUS BILL INDIVIDUAL PAYMENTS
Individuals making up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married workers) will receive payments of $1,200 with an additional $500 payment per minor child. The payments decrease ratably and stop altogether for single workers making more than $99,000 ($198,000 for married workers and $218,000 for a family of four.)
These payments will be issued by the IRS via direct deposit and will be based on 2019 or 2018 tax returns or 2019 Social Security statement.
If someone has not filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and does not receive Social Security benefits, the IRS recommends filing a 2018 return to receive payment. If the IRS does not have the taxpayer’s bank account information, the taxpayer should look for a letter from the IRS detailing how to receive their payment.
If you receive Social Security, retirement, or other social safety net benefits, you may still qualify for direct payments. These payments will not be taxable nor represent “resources” for program eligibility purposes. Click HERE for more information from the IRS.