On March 13, 2020, President Donald J. Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency. Following that declaration, a majority of state governors ordered shelter and stay-in-place orders. Governors also placed restrictions on businesses to prevent people from gathering in confined areas.
For weeks, families and individuals have diligently taken steps to stay healthy and safe. Furthermore, millions immediately became unemployed and don’t know when or if employers will reopen their businesses.
Essentially, the pandemic forced the United States to put the economy on hold to ride out this crisis.
To keep the economy from dangerously spiraling downward and to provide financial emergency relief to U.S. residents, the Senate and House approved a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package in late March. This fund was divided into several programs designed to help individuals, families, businesses, the healthcare system, and the economy.
In this article, you’ll find relief programs that are available to individuals and families.
Coronavirus Stimulus Checks
The IRS will send economic impact payments to qualifying U.S. residents in the latter part of April.
For more information, see this link.
Keep in mind; these are the guidelines the government will use to make payments:
- Recipients must have a social security number and cannot be a dependent on someone else’s tax return. Nonresident aliens do not qualify for the payment.
- Social security recipients, railroad retirees, and anyone else who doesn’t file a tax return are eligible to receive a coronavirus stimulus check. The IRS will use 2018 and 2019 tax return information to calculate and send the payment. You can access the IRS portal where you can can provide information to receive impact payments electronically.
- Individuals with an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 will receive the full payment of $1,200.
- Married couples filing jointly with an adjusted gross income not exceeding $150,000 will receive an impact payment of $2,400. These married couples will also receive $500 for each qualifying child.
- Payment amounts will be adjusted $5 for every $100 above the minimum thresholds ($75,000/$150,000) up to the $99,000/$198,000 maximum limits.
- Single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000 and joint filers with incomes exceeding $198,000 with no children are not eligible. The IRS will post more information as it becomes available at this site.
- You can check on where their impact payment is in the system here.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Federal Home Loan Bank are taking steps to assist people who can’t make their mortgage payments due to the coronavirus crisis.
Borrowers won’t incur late fees, and foreclosure proceedings will be suspended. If you are unable to resume making payments at the end of the temporary relief period, more assistance may be available.
For more information, see this link.
Federal student loans
The U.S. Department of Education is providing relief to students by suspending payments from March 13, 2020, to September 30, 2020. During that time, the interest rate has been set to 0% on defaulted and non-defaulted direct, FFEL, and Federal Perkins loans.
If you’re working with commercial lenders, the benefit is not available. Some lenders, like Sallie Mae, Navient, and Wells Fargo are offering temporary suspension of payment. Borrowers should contact their loan providers to determine whether their loan qualifies for the temporary loan suspension.
For more information, see this link.
Paid sick and family leave
As part of the coronavirus stimulus package, employees are eligible to receive up to two weeks of paid sick leave at their regular and/or two-thirds rate of pay when the COVID-19 virus prevents them from working.
Employees who have worked for an employer for at least 30 days may qualify for up to 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave to care for a child due to a school or caregiver facility closure.
For more details, read this information provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.
As part of the coronavirus stimulus incentives, the IRS extended the deadline to file taxes and make Federal income tax payments to July 15, 2020 (before, it was April 15).
This extension applies to all taxpayers to include individuals, trusts and estates, corporate and non-corporate filers, and anyone who pays self-employment tax. Additionally, the IRS will not charge penalties and interest regardless of how much tax you owe during the 3-month extension. Individuals and businesses unable to meet the July 15th filing deadline can request a filing extension.
Also, the IRS People First Initiative provides temporary modifications to existing regulations to collect tax debt owed by taxpayers.
Key elements of the coronavirus stimulus initiative include suspending existing installment agreements from April 1 to July 15 for anyone unable to make payments. The IRS is also assisting taxpayers who are in various stages of offers of compromise, liens and levies, passport certifications, appeals, audits, and other types of taxpayer issues.
The IRS continues to review 2019 tax returns and encourages taxpayers who anticipate getting a refund to file their taxes now.
Each state will abide by its unemployment insurance program and coronavirus stimulus guidelines. Namely, employees who cannot come to work because an employer closed, are quarantined or left work concerned they might be infected or need to care for a family member are eligible to receive benefits.
During this temporary period, coronavirus stimulus aid is available to the self-employed, part-time workers, and workers whose hours were reduced.
Contact your state’s unemployment insurance office to find out its requirements and apply for benefits.
- Dial 211 to access a free helpline and referral system available in your locality for help with health and human services. Get information on how to contact your local 211 if you need aid to pay for food, housing expenses, or other essential services.
- The Federal Communications Commission is working with internet providers to “Keep Americans Connected.” Companies pledge for 60 days to not terminate service to residential and small business owners, waive late fees, and open Wi-Fi hotspots to Americans affected by the pandemic. Here’s a list of companies who have made this pledge so far (click on the dropdown arrow to display the list).
- Use this site for updates from the Federal government regarding student financial aid, the latest information on travel, immigration, health and safety, benefits and grants, and the most current updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Check back frequently with the U.S.A. coronavirus website as it is updated regularly.
- In addition to this aid, we encourage you to use this government benefits finder to determine other types of assistance you may qualify for.
As a side note, everyone should be aware that scammers are actively taking advantage of people during the coronavirus crisis. Examples include fake emails from the Center for Disease Control, coronavirus-related tax fraud, COVID-19 testing and treatment scams, and offers to purchase fraudulent medical equipment such as face masks. Consumers should also be leery of receiving a letter stating your Social Security benefits will be suspended.
Camino Financial understands how you feel
We’ve seen how this virus not only drastically changed our lives but the lives of our staff and Camino Financial members.
But we’re here to provide hope and encouragement as everyone works together to overcome this upending challenge.
Remember, people are the backbone of our family-oriented business and what drives our motto, “No Business Left Behind.”
In addition to the personal resources we just mentioned, we encourage you to keep reading more about the subject in: