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Key Points We Should Know About COVID19 Stimulus Bill

Photo Credit: Associated Press

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act better known as "CARES ACT” is the $2 trillion emergency relief package designed to stabilize households and businesses and stimulate the U.S. economy that have been hit hard by the 2020 coronavirus outbreak. For those who are out of work and faced with difficult decision, it is important to know there is something in this bill for you. From the small business owner to the laid off employee, it is important that you apply for resources that can be beneficial to you. This review is meant to provide residents of Caddo Parish what this means and how you can get resources:

Direct Emergency Relief Checks:

For individuals making less than $75,000 and married couples making less than $150,000, the checks will be $1,200 per adult and $500 per child under the age of 17. Those amounts phase out for taxpayers above the income thresholds, eventually zeroing out for individuals making more than $99,000 and married couples with no children making more than $198,000. For more information on direct payments click here for FAQ

Unemployment Benefits Beefed Up:

The bill provides funding that will extend unemployment insurance program for laid-off workers that will allow for four months of "full pay.” It will also raise the maximum unemployment insurance benefit by $600 per week on top of normal unemployment insurance ($2400/month guaranteed). It will apply to traditional workers for small and large businesses as well as expand benefits to those who are self-employed and workers in the gig economy ( gig workers include but are not limited to: barbers, beauticians, make up artist, massage therapist, freelance workers, uber and lyft drivers, independent contractors, on call workers, and temp workers).

Small Business Loan & Loan Forgiveness:

There is approximately $350 billion for small businesses impacted by the pandemic in the form of loans. These loans are federally guaranteed loans available at community banks to small businesses that pledge not to lay off their workers. The loans could be used for payroll support, including paid sick, medical, or family leave, healthcare benefits, employee salaries, mortgage payments, rents, utilities, and other debts. Loans used to cover payroll will be forgiven if businesses retain employees through June 30, 2020. Funds used to pay tipped employees, such as bars and restaurants, may be eligible for loan forgiveness if they are used to provide additional wage.

Hospital and Healthcare Aid:

The agreement includes $100 billion for hospitals and health systems across to furnish personal and protective equipment and increased for health care workers, testing supplies, and new construction to house patients. The bill also increases Medicare payment to all hospitals and providers.

Funding for State and Local Governments:

$150 billion of federal money would be allocated for state and local governments who are dealing with the impacts of the crisis in their local communities, including $8 billion for tribal governments. This includes the following: $45 billion fro FEMA to reimburse government agencies on expenses for emergency and major disaster declarations, $150 Million for Headstart, $900 million in grants to states for home energy assistance for low-income households affected by coronavirus, $45 million to provide additional support to family violence shelters,  and $25 million for additional immediate assistance to current programs providing critical services and housing for runaway and homeless youth. NEXT STEPS: The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday March 25, 2020 by unanimous consent. It is hope that the House of Representative will pass via unanimous consent. However, conservative Republicans have voiced objections and plan to block unanimous consent. In that case it is expected the House of Representative will approve the bill on Friday or Saturday by a simple voice vote.

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