As the coronavirus crisis continues to paralyze our community and the U.S., help may be coming for some of us. Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act on Friday. The bill is now on its way to President Trump to sign. Congressman Vern Buchanan’s office broke down different parts of the package. Here’s what it could mean for you, your family, small and medium-sized business, hospitals, medical facilities and state and local governments.
Buchanan’s office says the CARES Act includes these measures:
- $250 billion for direct cash payments to individuals and families with $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, reduced for individuals making more than $75,000 and couples making more than $150,000 and phased-out for individuals making more than $99,000 and couples making more than $198,000. Social Security recipients are eligible.
- $250 billion for enhanced unemployment insurance payments, with benefits for individuals increased by $600 per week for four months. Freelance workers, furloughed employees and independent contractors are all eligible for these benefits.
- $365 billion for small business loans that will be completely forgiven if used to pay workers, provide benefits or cover rent.
- $500 billion in loans for industries and businesses affected by the pandemic.
- $130 billion for hospitals and medical facilities for COVID-19 related treatments, personnel and preparation costs as well as additional medical equipment and supplies.
- $150 billion in direct assistance to state and local governments.
- $30 billion in disaster relief funding.
- Nearly $25 billion for the development of vaccines, therapies and diagnostics and additional funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- Waivers of early withdrawal penalties for Americans who take out up to $100,000 from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes.
- $30 billion in emergency education funding.
- A new employee retention tax credit for businesses that retain and pay their workers during the crisis.
- An income tax exclusion for people who are receiving assistance from their employer to repay student loans.
Lots of questions remain about the details of this plan and how long it will take to get relief. We found a good Q & A at Hub for Help.