The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability Act (CARES Act) recently joined other federal and state laws to aid people affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Here at Mission Lane, we’ve made it a priority to help you understand what this might mean for you. While we don't have all the answers, we’ve gathered the following useful information, and will be updating this page as we gather more.
You might be eligible for a tax credit or check from the IRS.
How do I know if I’m eligible?
There are two things that affect your eligibility:
- your adjusted gross income
- your 2019 or 2018 filed tax return, or where applicable a 2019 Social Security Benefits Statement
If you haven’t already filed a return for 2019 or 2018 you should do so as soon as possible. These payments will be available until the end of 2020.
How much might I get?
Eligible taxpayers will automatically receive a payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples filing jointly. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child. How much you may get depends on your adjusted gross income from your 2019 tax return (or your 2018 return, if you haven’t filed your 2019 return yet).
- For adjusted gross income less than $75,000 for individuals or $150,000 for married filing jointly Individuals making less than $75,000 and married couples filing jointly making less than $150,000 should receive the full payments of $1,200 or $2,400, respectively, plus $500 for each eligible child.
- For adjusted gross income greater than $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 married filing jointly For individuals with income above $75,000 or married couples filing jointly with income above $150,000, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 of income above these thresholds. Individuals making over $99,000 and married couples filing jointly making over $198,000 are ineligible for the payment.
You can use an online calculator to estimate your payment, like this one from taxfoundation.org.
How do I get my payment if I’m eligible?
According to the IRS, the vast majority of people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the payment to those eligible. There are two ways these payments will be sent: either by direct deposit to the account connected to your tax return, or by a physical check mailed to the address the IRS has on file for you.
Other ways the CARES Act and other laws might help you
Relief options from loan, credit, or service providers
Reach out to your bank, mortgage servicer, credit card companies (including us!), and loan providers to see what relief options (if any) are available. We also encourage you to reach out to other service providers, including utilities, cable, phone, landlord, etc., especially if they report to a credit bureau.
Federally-backed mortgage loan relief
Specifically for homeowners, foreclosures and evictions are temporarily frozen (through at least May 17 and July 25, respectively) for anyone with a mortgage backed by FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac. In addition, many servicers are offering up to 180 days of grace on mortgage payments for individuals impacted by COVID. Talk to your mortgage servicer for more information and to see if you’re eligible.
If you lost your job or you had a reduction in hours, file for support at your local unemployment office as soon as you can. Each state sets its own unemployment eligibility guidelines, but you can find your own state’s unemployment program to get started.
Paid sick leave
Regulations have been updated for certain companies to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for full-time employees (or average hours worked over 2 weeks for part-time employees) if an employee is unable to work or telework due to COVID symptoms, or needs to care for others at home due to COVID. This leave is available regardless of length of employment. Reach out to your manager or Human Resources with any questions about available sick leave.
Up to 12 weeks of covered leave for child care
New federal legislation expands extended leave availability at a broad set of companies as long as you have been employed with them for at least 30 days and cannot work or telework because of a need to care for a child due to a COVID-related school or care facility closure. Talk to your manager or Human Resources about potential extended leave available from your employer.
Federal student loan assistance
A grace period for federal student loans has been mandated through September 30, 2020, during which time you can skip your payments with no penalty. There is nothing you need to do to receive this assistance if your loans are eligible, but talk to your loan servicer if you have any questions.
Loans from retirement plans
If you have an eligible retirement plan, you may be able to take up to a $100,000 loan from it without violating IRS restrictions. Contact your retirement plan administrator to discuss options for such a loan.
Small businesses loans, grants or loan forgiveness
There are various loan programs available to self-employed and small business owners. Contact your bank or the Small Business Administration for more information.
Watch out for scams, fraud, and people looking to take advantage of you during this pandemic.
Scammers are often very active during uncertain times, and will use current news to take advantage of folks. So, be alert against scam emails and texts, sham charities or any other potentially fraudulent contact. There are many helpful articles out there with practical tips on how to detect and prevent fraud, including these from usa.gov and fraud.org.
Helping people thrive is part of our mission, and we’re committed to it. We’re in this together, and we’ll get through this together.