US Congress CoronaVirus Stimulus Package

The United States congress recently passed an unprecedented amount of $2.4 trillion to keep the economy afloat during this health pandemic under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). In 2009, the Economic Stimulus Act sent out $14.2 billion in stimulus checks. The one-time payment went to recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, veterans, and railroad retirees.
In this blog post, I will highlight the details of the package as it applies to regular individuals, small business owners, and corporations. This page will serve as a good resource for those needing aid during this unprecedented time.
Individuals
The CARES Act will send a $1,200 check to eligible adults earning up to $75,000. It sends $2,400 to couples earning up to $150,000. The income is based on 2019 adjusted gross income (or 2018 AGI if you haven’t yet filed your 2019 tax return). Eligible families will receive an additional $500 for each child under the age of 17. People with higher incomes will receive smaller rebates: $5 less per every $100 they make over the limits. It phases out completely at $99,000 singles ($198,000 for couples). If you made too much in 2019 to qualify for the rebate but your 2020 income qualifies you for the rebate, you’ll claim it as a credit on your 2020 tax return. Recipients can expect payments via direct deposit by about April 16, 2020, according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. If the IRS does not have your bank information, payments will come via mail and take longer to arrive.
Unemployment
In addition to regular unemployment benefits (UI) administered by each state, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will expand the types of workers who are eligible to apply, extend the duration of time a recipient may receive unemployment benefits, and beef up the typical maximum dollar amounts for unemployment payments. The duration of unemployment benefits is extended by 13 weeks, on top of the number of weeks previously provided according to each state’s rules, which often permit around 26 weeks. For four months, unemployment benefits are also enhanced by $600 per week. The changes mean freelancers, gig economy, and self-employed workers who are normally not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits will become eligible. Some lower-income workers will also be able to maintain their full salaries under the program if forced out of work as a result of the pandemic.
Paid Sick Leave
The “phase 2” bill passed in mid-March provides full-time employees of small- and mid-size businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees, and conditional exceptions for companies with fewer than 50 employees) with 80 hours of paid sick leave, and part-time workers paid-sick leave for a number of hours equal to the number of hours the employee works on average over a 2-week period. Payments are equal to 100% of an employee’s usual compensation, capped at $511 per day. U.S. employees of small- and mid-size firms who have worked at the company for at least a month and are unable to work or telework due to COVID19 are eligible. Paid sick leave does not require that an employee is or becomes ill and may be used in addition to paid family leave. Employees who are instructed to remain at home to abide by a company’s social distancing rules are eligible.
CoronaVirus Tracker
Even though the infection curve for COVID-19 appears to be flattening, it is an open question how the economy will restart once new cases come down to a manageable level. Apple and Google are jointly working on a new smartphone-based integrated COVID-19 tracking system to be released as early as May. People must opt in to the system, but it has the potential to monitor about a third of the world’s population. The new API could be crucial to opening the economy back up as soon as possible.
Independent Contractors
Under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, included in the stimulus bill, freelancers and gig workers can receive half the average unemployment benefit in their state and an extra $600 per week.
Tax Relief
The tax filing deadline has been changed from April 15 to July 15. The U.S. Treasury and IRS have also extended the due date for certain federal income tax payments that would have been due on April 15, to July 15. Individual and other non-corporate filers may defer up to $1 million of income tax payments that would have been due April 15. No penalties or interest will be assessed or collected for such deferred payments. Gig workers and those who are self-employed are eligible to receive paid sick leave benefits in the form of a tax credit. Charitable donation deduction caps for individuals will also be increased.
Food Assistance
Additional funding to the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously referred to as “food stamps,” is bolstering funds available to low-income households to assist with food purchases.
Hospitals
The CARES Act provides $100 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. This funding will be used to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and to ensure uninsured Americans can get testing and treatment for COVID-19. Recognizing the importance of delivering funds in a fast and transparent manner, $30 billion is being distributed immediately – with payments arriving via direct deposit beginning April 10, 2020 – to eligible providers throughout the American healthcare system. These are payments, not loans, to healthcare providers, and will not need to be repaid.
Retirement Account Withdrawals
This permits penalty-free withdrawals from retirement accounts up to $100,000 for funds needed to address COVID-19-related issues. You can re-contribute a distribution back into your IRA within three years of the withdrawal date and treat the withdrawal and later re-contribution as a totally tax-free rollover. In effect, this drill allows you to borrow up to $100,000 from your IRA(s) and repay the amount any time up to three years later with no federal income tax consequences. And there are no limitations on what you can use the funds for during the three-year period. If you are cash-strapped, you can use the money to pay the bills and re-contribute later when your financial situation has improved. You can help your adult kids out. You can pay down your HELOC. You can invest the money in the stock market and hope to collect low-taxed long-term gains.
Small Business Owners

CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this interim guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available.

SBA Disaster Loan Assistance

The Small Business Administration provides low-interest loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans can offer up to $2 million in assistance that can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. 
The application process for this assistance will be entirely online. Right now, business owners need to keep an eye on the progress for cities and states submitting applications for their jurisdictions to qualify. Specifically, the governor for each state must first declare a disaster and submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance. The SBA Administrator must then accept it. Those steps are required before a business can begin the application process.

SBA Close or Sell your Business

Create a thorough plan to transfer ownership, sell, or close your business. Get qualified advice and know what to do to tie up loose ends. Includes information on:
  • Close your business
  • Sell your business
  • Transfer ownership
  • File for bankruptcy or liquidate

Business for All – Grants up to $200K available

Join Business for All to lift up thousands of small business owners. Apply for up to $200,000 in business grants and mentorship. Lend your voice to advocate for small business in the U.S., and join the movement to give every American with an entrepreneurial spirit the support to follow their dreams.

National Restaurant Association

For those small businesses in the restaurant industry, the National Restaurant Association has compiled a list of updated food safety guidelines, as well as a list of registered disinfectant products that qualify under its emerging viral pathogen program.

Tech Against Coronavirus

It is very likely that a good portion of the workforce will have to work from home in the very near future due to the coronavirus outbreak. Tech against Coronavirus’ provides a list of products you can use to maintain collaboration and work remotely with your team.
Large Corporations
The “phase 3” bill includes a $454 billion fund for a new lending and grant agency to help distressed corporations, with an additional $46 billion earmarked for the passenger and cargo airline industries. $17 billion of the fund will go to assist companies vital to national security. A new “Office of the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery” will oversee the money that is disbursed. Public companies impacted by coronavirus may be eligible for an extension to file regulatory filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Companies with filings due on or by July 1 may be granted an extension depending on the SEC’s evaluation of its specific circumstances. The SEC also granted 45-day extensions on filings due between March 1 and April 30.

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