Note: I’ll be updating this periodically as more information comes to light and as you all ask me questions. I want to make it relevant to YOU.

Note 2: This reflects my interpretation. As the days and different entities start to applying those bills, this might be updated.

Understanding the between the lines from the Stimulus Package 2020 – CARES Disaster Relief for COVID-19.

I know everyone is worried. I know people are going stir crazy with the lockdown. I know that this is what we have to do to save lives.

The U.S. government has just signed a $2 trillion (yes, TRILLION with a T) disaster relief bill. This is to help businesses and individuals throughout this time.

Now, I know you do not want to read an 880 pages bill. So I’ve done it for ya! Below are the major takeaways from it:

DIRECT STIMULUS PAYMENTS

This means cash on hand. The government will “give” people up to $1,200 for single and $2,400 for married couples, plus $500 per child. You’re eligible for this if: as a single taxpayer, your adjusted gross income (line 8b if you file a 1040 form) on your last federal income tax filed was for less than $75,000, and for married couples less than $150,000. A child is anyone 16 years old or younger. The amount is reduced $5.00 for each $100 over the set amounts.

If you’re in college and your parents claim you as a dependent, you’re not eligible for this “cash” relief.

There’s no action needed from you to receive this income if you’re eligible. It’s expected to take a few weeks for payments to be released. It can hit your bank account or your mailbox. When? No one knows, yet. (It was stated “a few weeks”, but experts believe it’ll take a bit longer as the IRS system is a bit archaic)

Note that this assistance is not taxable –> when filling for your 2020 taxes, this will not add to your taxable income.

UNEMPLOYMENT

As of March 26, 2020, over 3 million people filed for unemployment. It’s the highest rate in history. The government is granting up to $600 extra per week on your unemployment check. How states are going to work this out still not clear. But this will be helpful for many people.

Another difference is that self-employed people that lost business due to the virus, will be able to apply for unemployment.

It is being discussed to increase the time for unemployment benefits in an additional 13 weeks, on top of what each state already offers.

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS

This CARES bill layout a very generous loan package. Businesses can apply for up to $2M loan with a very low-interest rate, to be paid in up to 30 year period.

There’s the Paychex Protection Loan meant for small businesses (less than 500 employees) to help them keep the employees on the payroll, regardless if they’re working or not. From the CARES bill, $350 billion dollars were allocated to this fund. Small businesses can take loans for up to $10 million and cover up to $100,000 annual wages per employee.

Click here for more information and how to apply.

STUDENT LOANS RELIEF

This is only for money borrowed from the federal government. Automatic payments are canceled until September 30th, 2020. Are all loans eligible? Nope. You’ll receive a letter indicating the status of your loan or you can check your account online. No interest will be applied to this “hold”.

RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

If you need to “borrow” from your retirement account, for up to $100,000 there will be no penalty for an early draw. Usually is about 10%. The caveat? The penalty is not applied only for epidemic related expenses.

CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS

For 2020, there’s a new deduction available, up to $300 in annual charitable contributions can be added to your deductions – only if you do not itemize them. If you already contributed in 2020, this will count towards this cap.

If you’re pretty wealthy, if you donate to a public charity, 100% of the donation can count towards your adjusted income.

GRANTS

Grants will be provided for education, training and advising on COVID-19 concerns.

And before you ask… Yes, this bill includes a $58 billion dollars relief for the airline industry, a few more breaks for large businesses, about $100 billion dollars for hospitals and some billions to food stamps and child nutrition.

My advice to you – if your small business is impacted by this epidemic, apply for a small business loan, this will help your business stay afloat for a little longer. And, whenever you can, shop small. Support your local shops. We’re stronger together.

Stay safe, stay healthy and wash those hands.