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  • Writer's pictureTerry Austin

How the CARES Act Helps You

President Trump has signed into law the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, which seeks to provide economic relief to individuals, businesses and hospitals who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides for the following:

Individuals $1,200 will be allocated to every adult who has filed taxes with a social security number, $2,400 to a married couple filing jointly, and $500 for each child aged 17 and under. The IRS will attempt to use the most recent banking information on file for taxpayers to distribute funds electronically. If the IRS is unable to manage distribution in this manner, it will issue paper checks. People who don’t file a tax return but receive Social Security benefits are eligible.

This calculator can be used to determine the amount you will receive.

Unemployment For the unemployed, an additional $600 per week will be added to the base amount of Virginia’s unemployment benefits for up to 4 months. The law also creates the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for gig workers and freelancers who lose work as a direct result of the pandemic. Funding will be provided to pay the cost of the first week of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 for states that choose to pay recipients as soon as they become unemployed instead of waiting one week before the individual is eligible to receive benefits. It also provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 to help those who remain unemployed once state unemployment benefits are no longer available. For more information please visit the Virginia Employment Commission.

Health Care All COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and services are now covered without cost sharing by private medical plans. The law also reauthorizes a critical telehealth program to extend the reach of virtual doctors’ appointments.

Small Businesses Up to $350 billion in Small Business Administration loans will be granted and forgiven. $10 billion is set aside to provide $10,000 grants through the SBA and $17 billion is set aside for SBA to cover 6 months of payments on existing SBA loans. For more information, please visit the Virginia Small Business Development Center.

Larger Businesses The Treasury will oversee a $500 billion fund in conjunction with the Federal Reserve to leverage $4 trillion in loans that must be repaid.

Taxes Employers have the option to delay payment of their 2020 payroll taxes until 2021. Early withdrawals from IRAs and 401k plans due to COVID-19 are not subject the 10 percent penalty any time during 2020.

State and Local Government Virginia will receive $3.31 billion in additional relief funding. Localities with a population greater than 500,000 may also apply for funding, but that total will be deducted from their state’s total allocation.

K-12 Education $13.5 billion will go toward elementary and secondary school relief funding, with most to be designated in the form of sub-grants to individual schools.

Hospitals $117 billion is now available for hospitals and the Veterans Administration, with $16 billion going toward replenishing the Strategic National Stockpile of drugs, PPE, and other equipment and $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and other needs.

Higher Education Students are able to defer student loan payments for 6 months and keep their Pell grants, while preventing students who had to leave school as a result of COVID-19 from losing eligibility for future Pell grants. Students may keep unspent money from Pell grants or student loans; colleges and universities may continue to pay students for work-study programs even if they are unable to work due to closures.

Mortgage Relief Foreclosures will be prohibited on all federally-backed mortgage loans for a 60-day period and will provide up to 180 days of forbearance for federally-backed borrowers who have experienced a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 emergency. The law also provides for up to 90 days of forbearance for borrowers with a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan who have experienced a financial hardship. Borrowers receiving forbearance may not evict or charge late fees to tenants for the duration of the forbearance period.

Further, for 120 days, landlords will be prohibited from initiating legal action to evict or charge fees and penalties to the tenant if the landlord’s mortgage on the property is in any way assisted by Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Rural Housing Voucher Program, or the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.

Please also be aware of the following:

REAL ID The deadline to obtain a Federal REAL ID license for airline travel and entrance into Federal buildings has been pushed back to October 2021.

My office will continue to provide COVID-19 updates as they become available. Please continue to be safe.


Delegate Terry L. Austin

19th House District

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