The COVID-19 crisis confronting all Americans and the world at large has created countless health and economic challenges for us all. The U.S. Federal Government’s response to this crisis has been unprecedented. The largest economic relief initiative in U.S. history, referred to as the CARES Act, includes financial relief programs for American citizens and businesses alike. This Act and it’s planned economic infusion was passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and then signed by President Donald Trump on Friday March 27th.
Within this update, the LL Roberts Group has prepared some key points and information detailed within the CARES Act pertaining to the economic relief payments for individuals and families. Hopefully, these insights will provide you and your workforce with useful information that you may not yet be aware of. The following info is based on various reports and notices released by the government, as well as through media outlets and publications. As the government defines and refines the guidelines and processes associated with disbursing relief funds to the American population, there may be certain adjustments. So, we encourage you and your employees to pay attention to any directives or new information released by the government concerning the disbursement of the CARES Act relief funds. Also, please visit the LL Roberts Group Blog (accessible from our website www.llroberts.com), our LL Roberts Group Facebook page, and our LL Roberts Group LinkedIn page for regular updates and information throughout the crisis. We will be posting regular updates on these web based and social media sites.
The following are questions and answers regarding the individual relief funds to be issued by the federal government to Americans under the CARES Act:
Who will receive relief funds under the CARES Act?
Basically, the Act is intended to provide American workers and their families with much needed “relief funds.” Most individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time cash payment of $1,200. Married couples would each receive funds, and families would get $500 per child. That means a family of four earning less than $150,000 can expect $3,400. The check amounts start to phase down after that level of income and fade away completely for people making more than $99,000 and couples making more than $198,000. The cash payments are based on either your 2018 or 2019 tax filings. People who receive Social Security benefits but don’t file tax returns are still eligible. Their checks will be based on information provided by the Social Security Administration. You can’t get a payment if someone else claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult.
If my employment is not interrupted and if I am not laid off or terminated, do I still get the relief funds?
Yes. The checks being issued are relief funds for Americans. The checks are not unemployment benefit payments, although there are increased unemployment benefits for those laid off or furloughed as a result of the COVID-19 virus crisis. So, workers that remain employed throughout the crisis will receive the payments detailed above.
How does the government determine how much I will receive?
The government will use your 2019 tax return to determine your annual wages and number of dependents. However, if you have not yet filed your 2019 taxes, your 2018 tax return will be utilized.
How will I receive the relief funds?
The government is using the information that it has on file for funding you electronically via a direct deposit. However, if no such information is on file for you, they will mail you a paper check to the address associated with your IRS filings and records. According to the government, you will also get a paper notice in the mail no later than a few weeks after your payment has been sent. That notice will contain information about where the payment was sent and in what form it was made. If you don’t get the payment, you will need to contact the IRS using the information on the notice.
When will I receive the relief funds?
At the time the CARES Act was passed (Friday March 27th) it was projected that relief funds would start being received in approximately three weeks (estimated to be sometime shortly after April 13th). However, those receiving their funds via direct deposit will likely be funded first.
Will I have to pay income taxes on the relief payment that I get?
No. The CARES Act states that these relief funds will not be taxed.
How many payments will I receive?
Just one. However, there is discussion within the government that there could be additional Bills or “Phases” that might result in additional payments, although there are no such guarantees from the government (at this time) that additional funds will be issued to individuals.
What can I spend the relief funds on once I receive them?
These are relief funds that the government is sending out in order to assist Americans with their various financial needs during the crisis. The primary goal is to make sure that you receive help covering your food, shelter, and medical costs. However, there are no restrictions on what you can spend the relief funds on.
Again, for anyone that has become unemployed due to the COVID-19 virus crisis, there are enhanced and extended unemployment benefits. Furthermore, for those that have a reduction in wages, but continue to be employees, they may be eligible for partial unemployment benefit payments.
As it pertains to your family and friends that receive Social Security retirement and disability benefits each month, most will also receive a relief payment.
The LL Roberts Group will work to keep you posted on any new updates or developments related to the CARES Act as they become available. Please visit our blog and social media pages for the most current updates and information released by the LL Roberts Group.
As we all work our way through this crisis please be safe and healthy.
LL Roberts Group