US Congress

Coronavirus Economic Relief Bill

US Congress

Members of Congress have passed a $2 trillion emergency relief bill addressing the coronavirus pandemic – the largest emergency aid bill in history.

This legislation provides much-needed financial assistance for individuals, families, small and medium-sized businesses, hospitals, medical facilities, and state and local governments.

The 883-page bill, titled the “CARES Act,” includes thousands of dollars in direct payments to most Americans, and huge loan packages designed to help keep small businesses and corporations afloat.

The Coronavirus Stimulus Bill provides for:

Direct payments: Americans will receive a one-time direct deposit of up to $1,200, and married couples will get $2,400, plus an additional $500 per child. The payments will be available for incomes up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples. This is true even for those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable, means-tested benefit programs, such as Social Security.

Use of retirement funds: The bill waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 for coronavirus-related purposes, retroactive to Jan. 1.

Small businesses: $350 billion is being dedicated to prevent layoffs and business closures while workers have to stay home during the outbreak. Companies with 500 employees or fewer that maintain their payroll during coronavirus can receive up to 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance. If employers maintain payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.

The unemployed: The program’s $250 billion extended unemployment insurance program — “unemployment on steroids,” as Sen. Chuck Schumer calls it — expands eligibility and offers workers an additional $600 per week for four months, on top of what state programs pay. It also extends UI benefits through Dec. 31 for eligible workers. The deal applies to the self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers.

Hospitals and health care: The deal provides over $140 billion in appropriations to support the U.S. health system, $100 billion of which will be injected directly into hospitals. The rest will be dedicated to providing personal and protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, increased workforce and training, accelerated Medicare payments, and supporting the CDC, among other health investments.

Coronavirus testing: All testing and potential vaccines for COVID-19 will be covered at no cost to patients.

Large corporations: $500 billion will be allotted to provide loans, loan guarantees, and other investments, overseen by a Treasury Department inspector general. These loans will not exceed five years and cannot be forgiven. Airlines will receive $50 billion (of the $500 billion) for passenger air carriers, and $8 billion for cargo air carriers.

Payroll taxes: The measure allows individuals to delay the payment of their 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022.
States and local governments will get $150 billion, with $8 billion set aside for tribal governments.

Agriculture: The deal would increase the amount the Agriculture Department can spend on its bailout program from $30 billion to $50 billion, according to a press release issued by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.)

Who Qualifies for a Payment?

Individuals earning up to $75,000 a year will be eligible for the full $1,200 check. Reduced checks will go out to individuals making up to $99,000 a year (the payment amount falls by $5 for every $100 in income above $75,000).

Calculate how much you’ll get from the stimulus bill at www.washingtonpost.com

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