Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been three stimulus bills passed through Congress that have become law to provide emergency assistance to impacted Americans. The first bill, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (HR 6074), became law on March 6 and included $8.3 billion in emergency funding. The second bill – Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6210) became law on March 18 and included $100 billion in emergency funding to respond to COVID-19. The third bill – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (HR 748) – included over $2 trillion of emergency aid to address COVID-19. Below is information on some of the provisions included in each of the three bills that directly impact the financial health of working families. The Conference of Mayors encourages mayors to review these provisions and continue to update their residents on the resources available to them.
COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments (Third Stimulus Bill)
Through the third stimulus bill, economic impact payments of $1,200 will be provided to individual recipients who make up to $75,000 AGI, heads of household making $112,500 AGI. $2,400 will be available to joint filers making up to $150,000 AGI. Eligible recipients will also be able to receive $500 for each child under 17. Those making over the above income thresholds may be eligible for smaller stimulus payments. Click here for a more detailed outline on the Economic Impact Payments for mayors and residents. Go to IRS.gov/coronavirus to learn more.
COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave for Workers, Tax Credits for Small & Mid-Sized Businesses (Second Stimulus Bill)
Through the second stimulus bill, working Americans directly impacted by COVID-19 will be provided expanded paid sick leave and paid extended family leave. Click here for a breakdown on the expanded benefits. Through the bill, employers with fewer than 500 employees will be able to take advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits – the Paid Sick Leave Credit and the Child Care Leave Credit – designed to immediately and fully reimburse them for the cost of providing COVID-19 related leave to their employees. Click here for more information.
Expanded Unemployment Benefits (Second and Third Stimulus Bills)
The second stimulus bill provided roughly $1 billion to provide supplemental assistance to states to process unemployment insurance and provide additional benefits to those who have exhausted their benefits.
The third stimulus bill provided $600 a week in federal assistance to be added to the unemployment benefits being offered through states. The bill expanded benefits to be available to independent contractors, the self-employed, and gig economy workers. Eligible workers are encouraged to reach out to their state unemployment agencies to learn more about how this impacts them. Click here for more information and to locate your state’s unemployment agency.
Federal Student Loan Relief (Third Stimulus Bill)
Through the third stimulus bill, the U.S. Department of Education is providing an automatic suspension of principal and interest payments on federally-held student loans, through September 30, 2020. Borrowers are not required to take any action in order to participate in this automatic suspension. Click here for more information on Federal Student Loan relief from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Mortgage Relief for Federally-Backed Mortgages (Third Stimulus Bill)
The third stimulus bill also offers two primary protections for borrowers with federally-backed mortgages, such as homeowners with FHA loans. Homeowners without federally-backed mortgages may qualify for mortgage relief that may have been enacted through their states.
The new provision in the CARES Act for federally backed mortgages includes:
- A Foreclosure Moratorium that suspends the foreclosure process for homeowners who fail to meet payments. The new law prohibits lenders or loan providers from foreclosing on you for 60 days beginning March 18, 2020. Lenders and servicers may not begin a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure or finalize a foreclosure judgement or sale during this time.
- A Right to Forbearance for homeowners experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the new law, homeowners have the right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days, by contacting their loan servicer. There will be no fees or penalties added to borrowers’ accounts for obtaining a forbearance, and no documentation required other than a claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship. Click here for more information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as a brief video from the CFPB for borrowers.
SBA Disaster Loans and the Payment Protection Program for Small Business and Nonprofits (First and Third Stimulus Bill)
Through the first stimulus bill, $20 million was made available to the Small Business Administration to leverage $7 billion in low-interest disaster assistance loans to small businesses. Click here for more information on how to apply.
Through the third stimulus bill, $349 billion was made available to the Small Business Administration to launch the Payment Protection Program designed to help small businesses and nonprofits cover payroll, rent and mortgage payments, and utilities for 8 weeks. The program offers SBA loans of up to $10 million, which can be forgiven if employers maintain employee wages for the entire 8-week period. Participants in the program will have to apply through designated SBA lenders. Click here for more information on how to apply. Click here for the Treasury Payment Protection Program Fact Sheet.
Many of these programs may be updated over time. Please continue to remain informed regarding these programs so that you can be aware of any new regulations or policy changes that may affect you. For more information on these provisions or the Conference of Mayors DollarWise Campaign, please contact James Kirby at firstname.lastname@example.org.