With the financial impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) tearing at the very fabric of our economy, many Americans are in search of relief. The government has finally passed a $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill that will go a long way in helping not only businesses, but individuals and families alike. If you are need of some assistance, here’s what the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security (CARES) Act could mean for you.

You Get A Check and You Get A Check and You Get A Check!

The CARES Act will provide economic impact payments to millions of Americans suffering from the impact of the Coronavirus. The amount of the checks will be $1200 for individuals, $2500 for couples and $500 per child. In order to be eligible for the funds, you must have filed your income taxes. If you haven’t filed in 2019, the IRS will use your tax information from 2018.

In order to receive the full amount of the stimulus check, you can’t have an adjusted gross income (AGI) more than $75K per year. A couple can’t have an AGI more than $150K per year. For taxpayers that exceed these limits, the amount will be reduced with a phase out at $99K for individuals and $198K for couples.

Unemployment Boost and Help For Freelancers and Gig Workers

When the unemployment numbers were reported on Thursday, the numbers were over 6 million. With so many people out of work, the CARES Act has provided relief with additional boost of $600 per week to unemployment benefits. This money is available on top of the regular unemployment benefits provided by your state. The boost is available until July 31st, 2020.

There is also expanded eligibility for unemployment for independent contractors, gig workers, part-time and furloughed employees that are unable to work due to the coronavirus. You’ll even be covered if you recently started your job, but due to the pandemic now find yourself out of work.

If you’re under one of these categories, you’ll receive 50% off the unemployment benefits, plus the $600 boost per week.

Small Business Help – Paycheck Protection Program

If you’re running a small business and are in need of help to ensure you can keep your employees. The Payment Protection Program could be an option. The program is available to small businesses with less than 500 employees who were in business prior to Feb 15, 2020 and paid salaries to their employees as well as payroll taxes. This includes payments to independent contractors.

The loans may be used to cover operating expenses, payroll and interest on debts that were incurred prior to Feb 15th, 2020.  Applications are being accepted as of today. At the time of this publication, only Bank of America was actually processing these loans.

A small business can borrow as much as 2 months of payroll costs based on last year’s payroll, plus an additional 25%. Payroll is capped at $100K and the overall loan amount can’t exceed $10 million dollars. Even better news, the loans under certain circumstances, can qualify for forgiveness.

Oh, Those Student Loans

Many consumers have found themselves drowning in massive debt due to student loans even before the coronavirus hit. The CARES Act has made provisions for student loan debt as well as well. Student loans owned by the Department of Education have been suspended until September 30th, 2020. This includes wage garnishments and collections. The loans also won’t accrue any interest during the suspension.

Unfortunately, if you have private loans; you’re not eligible for suspension.

What is the biggest benefit that you’ll receive from the CARES Act? Please let us know in the comments below.

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