Financial Help for Those Affected by COVID-19
The Trump administration has finally released a stimulus package to provide financial help for those affected by COVID-19. Here is a brief breakdown.
Anyone earning $75,000 or less can get a $1,200 U.S. Treasury check. Every couple making $150,000 or less and filing taxes jointly will receive a total of $2,400. An additional $500 will be provided to married couples per child under the age of 17.
People with yearly salaries ranging between $75,000 and $99,000 will get reduced checks. However, only those who filed their taxes for 2018 and 2019 will fit the eligibility criteria. The relief is expected to be funded in the form of checks and directly deposited by April.
The government has ensured that unemployed people are not left without aid. On average, a check of $300 will be received by them on a weekly basis for 26 weeks. Recently, this period has been extended to 39 weeks, and for the first time, freelancers are considered eligible for these benefits.
Moreover, individuals who are unable to work due to COVID-19 infection can also get a check for $600 per week; this would last for four months.
Several SMEs (small businesses and enterprises) were forced to shut down or lay off workers due to the recent pandemic. A ray of hope awaits them as the government grants $400 billion in zero-percent APR interest loans. Only businesses that employ less than 500 employees are eligible. At most, a company can obtain a $10 million-dollar loan.
It is also likely that these loans will be forgiven altogether. However, this is only possible if the company adheres to certain conditions, such as:
- Does not fire its employees
- Uses the money to pay for employee salaries
- Pays for health insurance premiums, rent, and health
Organizations with 500+ employees that are found as “severely distressed” get to avail large loans and grants. For instance, the passenger airline industry is in line to receive $50 billion relief—$25 billion in loans and $25 billion in grants.
The government has also allocated $425 billion for other businesses, cities, and states, whereas $17 billion will go to those companies that are deemed critical to national security.
The healthcare industry is the most important industry at the moment. The bill allocates $100 billion to sustain hospitals in their battle against the pandemic. These grants will help them support emergency operation centers, purchase protective and safety gear for health-care professionals, and purchase testing supplies.
Public health agencies such as the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and community health centers will also secure funding to fight the current crisis.
Support from Government Agencies
Before the bill arrived, some agencies had already introduced a list of relief strategies. Here are some of those.
Paid Sick Leave
Congress passed a bill for companies with less than 500 workers. These businesses can take advantage of a tax credit for the next year if they provide two weeks of fully-paid leave to their employees—a total of $5,110 and up to $511 per day. You will receive a paid family and medical leave for two weeks at two-thirds of your salary if you have to look after a family member who is subjected to quarantine. However, only those employees are eligible who have worked for at least 30 days.
If you owe 2019’s income taxes, the Treasury Department has increased the filing period of taxes for three months.
Suspension of Student Loans
Students with student loans don’t have to pay anything for two months. The Department of Education announced that borrowers don’t have to pay any interest on student loans for the time being.
The Federal Reserve has reduced interest rates to 0% in a bid to slow down the economic downturn. Unfortunately, the move was ineffective as the stock market has become unstable.
Loans for Small Businesses
Recognizing the fact that COVID-19 is deadly for small businesses, the SMA (Small Business Administration) has taken matters into its own hands. It is offering low-interest capital loans to small businesses for up to $2 million.