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First-time jobless claims hit nearly 3.3 million the Labor Department reported March, 26th. That's important when you consider that at the height of the Great Recession, initial claims topped out at just shy of 700,000. The legislation that was signed into law on March, 27th, 2020 provides economic aid as the US braces for this massive economic blow.
The CARES Act is a single-biggest economic relief package in American history. It is believed to be twice as large as any relief ever signed. The President said "It’s $2.2 billion, but it actually goes up to 6.2 — potentially — billion dollars — trillion dollars. So you’re talking about 6.2 trillion-dollar bill."
One Trillion has 12 zeros after it, and it looks like this: 1,000,000,000,000 - it's massive. Now imagine 6x this!
What is it officially called? What is it in a nutshell?
H.R. 748, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act,” which provides emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide emergency appropriations to support Executive Branch agency operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who gets the money?
There are seven main groups that would see the widest-reaching impacts:
Hospitals and public health,
Federal safety net
State and local governments
What is in it (Summary)
$300 billion in direct cash payments will be available to every American citizen earning less than $99,000 per year; Up to $3,400 for a typical family of four.
$350 billion in job retention loans for small businesses, with loan forgiveness available for businesses that continue paying their workers.
Approximately $250 billion in expanded unemployment benefits. The average worker who has lost his or her job will receive 100 percent of their salary for up to four full months.
$500 billion in support for hard-hit industries, with a ban on corporate stock buybacks.
Over $100 billion to support doctors, nurses, and hospitals.
$45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund, supporting our state, local, and tribal leaders.
$27 billion for the development of vaccines, therapies, and other public health response efforts, including $16 billion to build up the Strategic National Stockpile with critical stockpiles.
There will be direct cash for many, plus expanded unemployment benefits and new rules for filing taxes and making retirement contributions. It is hoped that this will help protect Americans from severe economic pain, but there is some question whether it's enough for the long run.
Individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time cash payment of $1,200.
Families get $500 per child. A family of four earning less than $150,000 can expect $3,400. The checks start to phase down after that and disappear completely for people making more than $99,000 and couples making more than $198,000. The cash payments are based on 2018 or 2019 tax filings. Extra unemployment payments
Gig workers and freelancers
CARES Care c
The tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15. The IRS will provide refunds if declarants are owed one. Student loans
Employers can provide up to $5,250 in tax-free student loan repayment benefits. That means an employer could contribute to loan payments and workers wouldn't have to include that money as income. Insurance coverage
The bill requires all private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccines and makes all coronavirus tests free.
For Small Businesses
Key support for small businesses includes emergency grants and a forgivable loan program for companies with 500 or fewer employees. The rules around expenses and deductions change too, which should facilitate keeping staff employed.
Emergency grants: $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 to provide emergency funds for small businesses to cover immediate operating costs.
Forgivable loans: There is $350 billion allocated for the Small Business Administration to provide loans of up to $10 million per business. Any portion of that loan used to maintain payroll, keep workers on the books or pay for rent, mortgage, and existing debt could be forgiven, provided workers stay employed through the end of June.
Relief for existing loans: There is $17 billion to cover six months of payments for small businesses already using SBA loans.
For Large Businesses
The bill sets aside roughly $500 billion in loans and other money for big corporations. These companies will have to pay the government back and will be subject to public disclosures and other requirements.
Airlines: About $58 billion is allocated to help airlines stay open. One portion of that money is set aside to help cover employee wages, salaries, and benefits divided up as up to $25 billion for passenger air carriers, up to $4 billion for cargo air carriers, and up to $3 billion for airline contractors.
Stock buyback ban: Any company receiving a loan under the program is barred from making stock buybacks for the term of the loan plus one year.
Reporting requirements: All loans, their terms and any investments or other assistance provided by the government must be publicly disclosed.
Oversight: The bill creates a special inspector general to oversee pandemic recovery. That person, along with a special committee, would provide oversight of all loans and other uses of taxpayer dollars.
All businesses: The bill establishes a fully refundable tax credit for businesses of all sizes that are closed or distressed to help them keep workers on the payroll. The goal is to get those employees hired back or put on paid furlough to make sure they have jobs to return to. The credit covers up to 50 percent of payroll on the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, for each employee.
For employers with more than 100 full-time employees, the credit is for wages paid to employees when they are not providing services because of the coronavirus. Eligible employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees could use the deduction even if they aren't closed.
What about Customs and Global Trade measures against the COVID-19 fight?
On March 25th, the US modified the action in the Section 301 investigation of China’s actions by removing additional duties from medical-care products needed to address the COVID-19–19 outbreak, including face masks, stethoscope covers, and blood pressure cuffs, The USTR has requested public comments on possible further modifications to remove duties from additional medical-care products.
Visit Coronavirus.gov for the latest official information from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force at the White House.
Visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for official Coronavirus (COVID-19) health information.
Visit FEMA for answers to coronavirus myths