Resources for Relief
Similar to the cash payments disbursed through the IRS under the CARES Act earlier this year, the relief legislation includes direct cash payments for qualifying households. Eligible taxpayers, their spouses, and their dependent children under 17 will each receive $600. The cash payment begins to phase out at $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples filing a joint return. Individuals making up to $87,000 and couples filing jointly up to $174,000 may expect to receive a payment.
If your direct deposit information is on file with the IRS, then your direct payment will be transferred directly to your bank account. Otherwise, the IRS will mail you a check. If you are not sure whether the IRS has your correct mailing address, you should contact them as soon as possible. More information about the second round of direct payments—including information about claiming your first payment—will be made available on the IRS’s website.
For resources about help with your mortgage, rent, utilities, and more, and to learn about scams to be aware of during this time, visit the Treasury Department’s Personal Finance and Consumer Protection page and the Federal Trade Commission’s Coronavirus Advice for Consumers page.
Evictions and Rental Assitance
The new relief legislation also includes important protections for renters by extending the federal government’s moratorium on evictions and also by providing $25 billion in rental assistance for eligible tenants.
The relief legislation extends the CDC’s eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021.
Individuals who expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income in 2020 (or more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return) are covered by the eviction moratorium for the inability to pay rent if they have incurred substantial loss of household income and if eviction would likely result in homelessness or force the individual or household to live in close quarters in a shared living setting.
To use this protection, tenants must provide a completed and signed declaration to their landlord or owner of the residential property where they live. More information can be found here.
The relief legislation provides $25 billion in emergency rental assistance to help families pay their rent and utility bills, while also helping rental property owners of all sizes cover their costs.
Eligible households are tenant households who: have a household income not more than 80 percent of the area median income; have one or more household members who can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and have one or more household members who qualify for unemployment benefits or experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic. Eligible households can receive assistance to make rent and utility payments as well as unpaid rent or utility bills that have accrued since the beginning of the public health emergency.
The emergency rental assistance will be administered by state and local governments. Renters apply for assistance with entities that state and local grantees select to administer the program. Once a renter qualifies for assistance, the administering entity will send rental assistance payments directly to the landlord or property owners. Landlords and property owners can help renters apply for rental assistance under the program or apply on behalf of the tenant, but will be required to notify the renter that assistance is being provided on their behalf.
Congress has sought to limit the impact of the ongoing pandemic on American workers and their families. The relief legislation extends tax credits enacted in March to fund paid family and medical leave for employees impacted by COVID-19. Under the new legislation, employers are not required to offer paid leave, but the federal government will finance paid leave if employers opt to provide it. The IRS has collected further information regarding these benefits on its website. The U.S. Department of Labor has also provided this resource for understanding changes to paid sick and family leave.
Self-employed taxpayers may be eligible for a similar tax credit for the time during which they could not work due to experiencing COVID, caring for a family member experiencing COVID, or caring for their children due to COVID-related school or daycare closures.
Unfortunately, the economic impact of the pandemic has cost many Americans their jobs. To help unemployed workers through these unprecedented times, Congress has passed a $300 weekly benefit in addition to standard unemployment compensation. The additional payment will continue through March 14, 2021 and is retroactive to the week beginning on December 26, 2020. Expanded eligibility categories under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program will also be extended.
Please note that the details of how these new benefits will be implemented will be decided in joint agreements between the federal government and the states. Please contact the Missouri Division of Employment Security for more information or to check your claim status.
Frequently Asked Questions
The new relief legislation extends the CARES Act’s expansion of unemployment compensation eligibility through March 14, 2021. The CARES Act expanded unemployment compensation to cover categories including those unable to work due to coronavirus symptoms, household diagnosis, caregiving for someone with a diagnosis, school closure for a child, inability to reach place of employment related to coronavirus, self-quarantine at suggestion of health care provider, those whose place of employment has closed due to coronavirus, and others. It includes those who are self-employed, those who are seeking part-time employment, and those who lack sufficient work history to qualify for normal unemployment benefits.
The $300 additional unemployment benefit, on top of standard unemployment compensation amounts, will last through March 14, 2021.
Missourians can apply for unemployment compensation payments and obtain other related information on the Missouri Department of Labor’s website.
In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act which established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a federal relief program designed to help small businesses and non-profits mitigate the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPP has provided hundreds of billions of dollars in relief through federally-backed forgivable loans, and has helped eligible entities keep their employees on payroll and cover other operating costs.
The new relief legislation passed by Congress furthers the government’s commitment to America’s small businesses by replenishing the PPP and permitting the hardest-hit small businesses to receive a second loan. In addition, the legislation includes several modifications intended to make the program more targeted, accessible, and effective, and also includes enhanced relief measures for industries that have been especially impacted by burdensome public health restrictions implemented by state and local governments.
- The Department of the Treasury’s website includes guidance on the PPP program and will be updated to reflect the latest developments: Assistance for Small Businesses
- The Small Business Administration’s website includes information about other debt relief options for small businesses, such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and grants: Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a cash-flow assistance program administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Eligible small businesses and non-profits can receive a 100% federally-backed forgivable loan to help cover payroll costs and other operating expenses.
Small businesses, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, Tribal business concerns, 501(c)(19) veteran’s organizations are eligible for a Second Draw Loan if they have under 300 employees (including part-time), were in operation on February 15, 2020, and certify that they have both experienced disruptions due to coronavirus and that they will use assistance through the PPP to keep employees on payroll. Non-profit organizations are subject to SBA’s affiliation standards.
The new relief legislation expanded PPP eligibility to local newspapers and television and radio stations previously made ineligible by their affiliation with other stations. Eligibility was also expanded to include 501(c)(6) non-profit organizations and Destination Marketing Organizations with 300 or fewer employees so long as they do not receive more than 15% of their revenue from lobbying.
Eligible small businesses and non-profits may apply for a second PPP loan if they have experienced at least a 25 percent reduction in gross revenues between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
The maximum loan size is 2.5X average monthly payroll costs, up to $2 million. Entities in the accommodation and food service industries may receive loans of up to 3.5X average monthly payrolls costs, up to $2 million.
Eligible small businesses and non-profits will receive full forgiveness if they spend at least 60% of their loan on payroll costs over a time period of their choosing between 8 weeks and 24 weeks. Entities may use the remaining balance of their loans on other operating expenses such as mortgage obligations, rent payments, utility costs, and costs associated with protecting their employees and customers from the spread of the coronavirus, among other eligible uses. There are no interest payments owed if the loan is forgiven.
You can apply for the PPP at any lending institution that is approved to participate in the program by the SBA. The Department of the Treasury has certified additional FDIC-insured financial institutions to disburse loans since the establishment of the program.
The new relief legislation established an SBA-administered grant program for certain entertainment and live events businesses that have been forced to close to public health restrictions implemented by state and local governments. Eligible entities include live venue operators, theatrical producers, live performance art organizations, museum operators, and movie theatre operators that have suffered at least a 25% reduction in revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funds may be used for the same costs and items permitted under the PPP.
The SBA will release additional rules and guidance for the Shuttered Venue Operator Grants program.
Congress has passed several phases of relief legislation to bolster America’s public health infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress has allocated hundreds of billions of dollars to healthcare providers and health agencies to ensure that they have the resources they need to combat the coronavirus and provide the care and services Americans depend on. The most recent legislation—signed into law on December 27, 2020—builds upon these efforts and also provides funding for vaccine distribution.
The relief legislation takes several additional steps to provide relief for healthcare providers on the front lines. These include:
- $3 billion in additional funding for the Provider Relief Fund, a grant program established by Congress to assist healthcare providers that have lost revenue due to the pandemic.
- Extending the 2% Medicare sequester moratorium until March 31, 2021.
- Providing a 3.75% reimbursement rate increase for all specialties and payments listed in the final 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.
- Delaying cuts to the Medicaid disproportionate-share hospital payments through fiscal year 2023.
Since the beginning of the public health emergency, Congress and HHS have provided resources and flexibilities to promote and expand telehealth access for patients and providers. The relief legislation builds on these efforts by providing $250 million in additional funding for the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program. This program provides grants to healthcare providers to help them develop the infrastructure they need to expand services to patients at their homes or mobile locations.
The relief legislation provides additional resources to help the nation effectively monitor and suppress the coronavirus pandemic, including:
- $22.4 billion to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for testing and contact tracing.
- $19.695 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for the development and production of vaccines and therapeutics.
- $8.75 billion to the CDC to help state and local governments to distribute and administer vaccines.
- $3.25 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile with personal protective equipment and supplies.
The relief package includes essential funding for agricultural programs and disaster assistance through the USDA to protect our nation’s food supply and provide relief and security to our farmers and ranchers. The package provides $13 billion for agricultural programs and direct support for producers.
In addition, another $13 billion was allocated to increase benefit amounts under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help fight food insecurity during the pandemic. Other important nutrition programs—such as Meals and Wheels and Pandemic EBT—will also have more resources or expanded eligibility.
For more information please visit the USDA’s coronavirus resource page.
Frequently Asked Questions
The bill directs USDA and the Secretary of Agriculture to aid producers impacted by COVID-19 including growers, processors, specialty crops, non-specialty crops, dairy, livestock, poultry, and contract livestock and poultry producers and other purposes. The relief package also allows the Secretary of Agriculture to compensate producers who had to depopulate herds as well as support biofuel producers.
The majority of the aid will be distributed through USDA programs. USDA will make information available to producers as to how the funds will be distributed.
Starting in January and ending in June, SNAP monthly benefits will be increased by 15%.
Other supplemental benefits received—such as the $300 weekly unemployment insurance boost—will not count toward income when applying for SNAP. Please see this website to apply for SNAP.
The CARES Act passed in March took significant steps to ease the burden on students whose education was interrupted by COVID-19. The CARES Act allowed institutions of higher education to continue paying Work Study even if students weren’t on campus, forgave federal student loans for the semester during which students were forced to drop out due to the virus, exempting the term from lifetime limits on Subsidized Federal Loans and Pell Grants, and more.
The new relief legislation passed in December continues to support students in need. The bill included $22.7 billion in aid to institutions of higher education. Similar to the CARES Act, colleges and universities are required to distribute a significant portion of the relief funds they receive as emergency financial aid grants to students. The grants may be used to cover a range of student costs such as tuition, food, housing, health care, or childcare. The bill also includes a significant investment in our nation’s K-12 schools to help them manage disruptions due to the pandemic.
In addition, Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has extended the federal student loan forbearance period through January 31, 2021. Borrowers who wish to stop making payments during this time may apply for an administrative forbearance, during which no interest will be charged.
Frequently Asked Questions
Borrowers who are required to make consecutive, on-time payments as part of a federal loan forgiveness program will not be penalized for taking advantage of this grace period.
The new relief legislation includes $54.3 billion in emergency relief funding to elementary and secondary schools as well as $4.1 billion in supplemental education funding for governors to use for their state’s unique education needs. New funding for both the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund will be allocated to states using the same formulas as were used for money distributed from the CARES Act. The new legislation specifically sets aside $2.75 billion of the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund for assistance to non-public schools.
Missouri COVID–19 hotline staffed by medical professionals for people seeking guidance on the new coronavirus
There are steps people can take to reduce their risk of getting any viral respiratory infections. These include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid close contact with others
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces EPA list of disinfectants
It is also important for people to stay at home away from others if they are sick.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include:
- Shortness of breath
If you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, call your health care professional.
If you have been notified by public health authorities that you might have been exposed, follow instructions provided by your local health department.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
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