We know COVID-19 is impacting all our students in different ways, so we put together some resources that might be helpful for you and your family to help navigate through this difficult time.
The resources below are only intended to provide guidance and should not be taken as legal advice. Please refer to the CARES Act and formal government updates for the most up-to-date information.
Q. What is the CARES Act?
A. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), passed on March 27, 2020, is designed to provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. It covers things such as individual/family payments, unemployment benefits, health coverage, and more.
Q. How does this benefit me?
A. According to the government, the CARES Act provides for Economic Impact Payments to American households of up to $1,200 per adult for individuals whose income was less than $99,000 ( or $198,000 for joint filers) and $500 per child under 17 years old – or up to $3,400 for a family of four.
The CARES Act also expands health-insurance coverage for diagnostic testing and required coverage for preventative services and vaccines, when they becomes available, among other items. Click here to learn more.
Furthermore, under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, eligible individuals who are collecting certain UI benefits, including regular unemployment compensation, will receive an additional $600 in federal benefits per week for weeks of unemployment ending on or before July 31, 2020. Additionally, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program allows those who have exhausted benefits under regular unemployment compensation or other programs to receive up to 13 weeks of additional benefits For more information, visit the Department of Labor at https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus
Q. How much will I receive in my check?
A. According to the IRS, anyone with a Social Security number who is not a dependent may receive up to $1,200 as an individual or $2,400 as a married couple, with an additional rebate of $500 per qualifying child. To qualify for the full amount, you must make under $75,000 per year as an individual, $150,000 per year as a married couple, or $112,500 per year as a head of household using information given to the IRS. If you make more than that, you may still get a check, but in a smaller amount based on your income.
Q. Do I need to file my taxes to be eligible?
A. According to the IRS, your 2018 or 2019 tax filings will determine your rebate amount. If you have not filed in either year yet, the IRS will require a simple tax return to receive the economic impact payment. Tax filings for 2019 have been delayed until July 15, 2020 so if you have not filed for 2019 yet, your 2018 filing will be used to determine your payment amount.
If you have further questions, please reach out to the IRS to discuss your situation.
Q. When will I get my check?
A. The IRS notes that if you entered direct deposit information when you filed your taxes, you should receive your rebate in about three weeks from when the CARES Act was passed on March 27, 2020. If you are unsure if the IRS has bank account information from you and/or want to check your payment status, visit the Get My Payment page on their website.
Q. Are there any health coverage benefits? What if I get sick?
A. The Act states that for health coverage, the bill:
Q. How do I identify CARES Act scams?
A. According to the Better Business Bureau, government agencies do not communicate through social media avenues like Facebook. You should be wary of unsolicited messages.
Do not assume an offer in a social media message is from a real friend. It’s easier for scammers to impersonate real people on social media than lure victims in with a fake name. Call your friend to verify they contacted you and share this scam alert with them if they are spreading false information.
If they ask you to pay a processing fee to get your money sooner, it’s not legitimate. Do not pay any money for a "free" government grant. If you have to pay money to claim a "free" government grant, it is not really free. A real government agency will not ask you to pay an advanced processing fee. The only official list of all U.S. federal grant-making agencies is https://www.grants.gov/
Check for lookalikes. Be sure to do your research and see if a government agency or organization actually exists. Find contact information on your own and call them to be sure the person you’ve heard from is legitimate.
Q. Who are unemployment benefits available to?
A. According to the Department of Labor, new unemployment benefits will be available to anyone, including those who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment compensation. Benefits available to covered individuals cover weeks of unemployment from January 27, 2020 to December 31, 2020 that are directly because of COVID-19.
Coverage includes individuals who have exhausted all rights to regular UC or extended benefits under state or federal law or PEUC.
These requirements include that individuals are only entitled to benefits if they are no longer working through no fault of their own and that individuals must be able and available to work.
Q. What changed with unemployment benefits?
A. The Department of Labor created a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program to provide payments to eligible people, even those who have used up regular unemployment compensation, who are unable to work as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. In addition, the program may provide increased and extended payments to individuals who have otherwise qualified for regular unemployment compensation. Click here to learn more.
Q. Will I receive more in unemployment benefits?
A. According to the government, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) under section 2104 provides for an additional $600 per week to an individual collecting regular UC, PEUC, PUA, EB, STC, TRA, DUA, and SEA. Individuals receive FPUC payments concurrently with payments under these programs. Upon execution of an agreement between the state and Department, this applies to all weeks of unemployment ending on or before July 31, 2020.
To find your state’s specific information and how to apply, click here.
Q. How long are unemployment limits extended for?
Q. I didn’t qualify for unemployment benefits before. Do I qualify now?
A. The government program made unemployment provisions for workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment, such those who are self-employed, or have limited recent work history, can now get access to traditional unemployment benefits, including the extra 13 weeks of benefits and $600/week.
We know that COVID-19 is affecting a lot of our students, so below are some resources, by state, we thought might be helpful for you and your families to navigate through these difficult times. Benefits are continually changing. Check your state website often for the latest guidance.