COVID-19 Resources and Information

If constituents have any questions or concerns related to the CARES Act, please reach out to our office here

Click here for CDC guidance and prevention methods

According to the IRS, some stimulus payments are being sent to individuals by prepaid debit card. The cards arrive in a plain envelope from "Money Network Cardholder Services". Learn more here

Quick Links:

For a top-line overview of the U.S. Treasury Payment Protection Program CLICK HERE

If you’re a lender, more information can be found HERE

If you’re a borrower, more information can be found HERE

The application for borrowers can be found HERE

Click here for the Paycheck Protection Program Interim Final Rule from the SBA 

Click here for more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) About the Paycheck Protection Program

Farmers: Learn more about applying for CFAP funding here.

IRS Coronavirus Resources, Information, and Updates 

Visit this IRS web portal if you are not required to file tax returns to make sure you receive your payment!

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act:

INDIVIDUALS & FAMILIES

  • Provides direct tax rebate checks for individuals and families, based on 2018 tax return
  • Payment is $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for couples, and $500 for each child
  • Payment is available for anyone who falls at or below an income threshold of $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of households, and $150,000 for those filing jointly
  • Checks will be distributed either by direct deposit or U.S. mail within days

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Individuals and Families:

Q: How large will the checks be?

A: It depends on your income. Individuals with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will get the full amount of $1,200. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total of $2,400. The amount will be increased by $500 for each child under the age of 17. Taxpayers filing as head of household will get the full payment if they earned $112,500 or less. Above those income figures, the payment decreases until it stops altogether for single people earning $99,000 or married people who have no children and earn $198,000. According to the Senate Finance Committee, a family with two children will no longer be eligible for any payments if its income surpassed $218,000. You can’t get a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult. In any given family and in most instances, everyone must have a valid Social Security number in order to be eligible. There is an exception for members of the military. You can find your adjusted gross income on Line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax return.

Q: Will I have to apply to receive a payment?

A: No. The payments will be automatic for individuals who qualify based on either their 2018 or 2019 tax return or their Social Security Benefit Statement. However, those who have not filed a tax return in either 2018 or 2019 should consider filing their 2019 return to ensure their income is on file and they are eligible to receive a payment. If the Internal Revenue Service already has your bank account information because you opted to use direct deposit to receive your tax refund, it will transfer the payment to you via direct deposit. All others who did not opt to use this function should expect to receive the check in the mail.

Q: What year’s income should I be looking at?

A: The amount you receive is based on your 2019 tax returns, however, those who have not yet filed a tax return this year will receive a payment based off their 2018 return.

Q: What if my recent income made me ineligible, but I anticipate being eligible because of a loss of income in 2020? Do I get a payment?

A: If you are ineligible based on the income in your 2019 tax return, you will not receive the payment immediately even if you expect a loss of income in 2020. However, you may become eligible once you file your 2020 taxes, since the payment is technically an advance on a tax credit that is available for the entire year. If your income falls below the applicable threshold in 2020, you will see the payment added towards your 2020 tax refund.

Q: When will the payment arrive?

A: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expected most people to get their payments within three weeks.

Q: Will eligible unemployed people get these stimulus checks?

A: Yes. If you are unemployed you will be eligible to receive a stimulus payment. These recipients follow the same guidelines as every other person when determining the amount (see question 1).

Q: If I do not file income taxes will I receive a check?

A: Since the IRS will determine eligibility based on your income, if you have not filed a tax return for either 2018 or 2019 and do not receive Social Security or disability benefits, you are encouraged to file your 2019 taxes even if you did not report any income to ensure you receive a check.

Q: Is there any relief for renters in the bill?

A: Yes. The bill puts a temporary, nationwide eviction moratorium in place for any renters whose landlords have mortgages backed or owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other federal entities. This will last for 120 days after the bill passes, and landlords also cannot charge any fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent.

Q: Will retirees and those on Social Security, including couples who make less than 150k on Social Security, be eligible for stimulus checks and how much?

A: Yes. Those who receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits but do not file a tax return will also receive stimulus checks. The IRS will use SSA-1099 information from the Social Security Administration to identify seniors and individuals with disabilities who are eligible but may not file taxes. These recipients follow the same guidelines as every other person when determining the amount (see question 1).

Q: Will there be expanded sick time and leave under the stimulus bill?

A: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed into law on March 18, temporarily expands the availability of paid sick leave and family leave to more employees who have been impacted by COVID-19. Specifically, most employers with fewer than 500 employees will be required to provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work because they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis, are quarantined pursuant to the advice of a healthcare provider or a federal, state, or local government order, or are caring for a child whose school or child care provider is closed because of COVID-19. Additionally, employees may be eligible for up to another 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave if they remain unable to work due to the need to care for a child whose school or child care provider remains closed. Employers required to provide paid leave under this law will receive a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through advanced payroll tax credits, while small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for certain exemptions to these requirements.

Q: If you pay child support and owe payment, will that stimulus check go directly to your counterpart or to you first?
A:
If you are behind on child support payments and this has been reported by the state to the Treasury Department, the amount of your stimulus check may be reduced. In this case, the offset will follow normal IRS procedures and the funding will be transmitted through the state child support agency.

Q: Who will be covered by the expanded Unemployment Benefits program?

A: The program will include far more workers than are usually eligible for unemployment benefits, including self-employed people and part-time workers. Those who are unemployed, are partly unemployed or cannot work for a wide variety of coronavirus-related reasons may now be eligible to receive benefits and can apply though the state Unemployment Insurance system.

Q: Are gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors covered by the Unemployment Benefits program?

A: Yes, sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and the self-employed are temporarily eligible for unemployment benefits. Benefit amounts will be calculated based on previous income, using a formula from the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program. Self-employed workers will also be eligible for the additional weekly benefit of up to $600 provided by the federal government.

Visit this IRS web portal if you are not required to file tax returns to make sure you receive your payment!

SMALL BUSINESSES

  • Provides working capital to keep operations running and people employed
  • Existing SBA lenders as well as new lenders will be offering these loans to eligible small businesses, putting money in the hands of the businesses faster
  • New Loans are eligible for forgiveness if the business maintains payroll continuity from February 15th, 2020 through June 30th, 2020.
  • Qualifying small businesses with 500 employees or less may use loan funds to cover additional costs like healthcare benefits, paid sick or family leave, insurance premiums, and employee salaries
  • Increases the maximum loan amount for “Express Loans”, which have a turnaround time of 36 hours, from $350,000 to $1,000,000

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Small Businesses:

 

Q: Where can I apply for the Paycheck Protection Program?

A: You can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program at any institution that is approved to participate in the program through the existing U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) lending program and additional lenders approved by the Department of Treasury. This includes local community banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.

Q: Do I have to go through the SBA to receive these loans?

A: No. All lenders participating in the Payment Protection Program, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions will be moved to delegate authority which allows lenders to process loans quickly. We encourage businesses interested in applying for this program to reach out their local community banks or credit unions immediately to see if they qualify.

Q: Who is eligible for the loan?

A: Small businesses that employ 500 employees or fewer, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, 501(c)(19) veteran organizations, sole-proprietors, independent contractors, tribal businesses, and other eligible self-employed individuals are eligible for this loan. In addition, if you are a restaurant, hotel, or a business that falls within the North American Industry Classification System code 72, “Accommodation and Food Services” and each of your locations has 500 employees or fewer, you are eligible. Independently owned franchises with under 500 employees, who are approved by SBA, are also eligible.

Q: Are small business concerns (as defined in section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632) required to have 500 or fewer employees to be eligible borrowers in the PPP?

A: No. Small business concerns can be eligible borrowers even if they have more than 500 employees, as long as they satisfy the existing statutory and regulatory definition of a “small business concern” under section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632. A business can qualify if it meets the SBA employee-based or revenue based size standard corresponding to its primary industry. Go to www.sba.gov/size for the industry size standards.

Additionally, a business can qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program as a small business concern if it met both tests in SBA’s “alternative size standard” as of March 27, 2020: (1) maximum tangible net worth of the business is not more than $15 million; and (2) the average net income after Federal income taxes (excluding any carry-over losses) of the business for the two full fiscal years before the date of the application is not more than $5 million. A business that qualifies as a small business concern under section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632, may truthfully attest to its eligibility for PPP loans on the Borrower Application Form, unless otherwise ineligible.

Q: Are non-profits, chambers, physician practices, eligible for 7(a) loans?

A: 501(c)3 non-profits are eligible. No other 501(c) organizations are eligible, including chambers structured as 501(c)6s. Physician practices are eligible, no matter how they are structured.

Q: What is the maximum amount I can borrow?

A: Eligible businesses will be able to receive a loan in an amount equal to the lesser of $10 million or 2.5x the average monthly payroll based on the prior year’s payroll. This program provides 100% federally-guaranteed loans for 8 weeks of assistance to cover payroll expenses and additional amounts for making payments towards debt obligations.

Q: I own a seasonal small business. How will this program work for me?

A: Seasonal small businesses are eligible to receive a loan and forgiveness through the Paycheck Protection Program just like other small businesses. While the maximum loan amount is generally based on average monthly payroll from the prior year, for seasonal businesses it will be based on average monthly payroll for the 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019, or at the election of the seasonal business, the period from March 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019.

Q:  My small business is a seasonal business whose activity increases from April to June.  Considering activity from that period would be a more accurate reflection of my business’s operations.  However, my small business was not fully ramped up on February 15, 2020.  Am I still eligible?  

A:  In evaluating a borrower’s eligibility, a lender may consider whether a seasonal borrower was in operation on February 15, 2020 or for an 8-week period between February 15, 2019 and June 30, 2019.

Q: How can I use the money such that the loan will be forgiven?

A: Loans can be forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities. Payroll costs include employee salaries (up to a $100,000 annual rate), hourly wages and cash tips, paid sick or medical leave, and group health insurance premiums. If you would like to use this program for other business-related expenses, like inventory, you can, but that portion of the loan will not be forgiven. The loan is forgiven at the end of the 8-week period after you take out the loan. Borrowers will work with lenders to verify covered expenses and the proper amount of forgiveness.

Q: What is the covered period of the loan?

A: The covered period during which expenses can be forgiven extends from February 15, 2020, to June 30, 2020. Borrowers can choose which 8 weeks they want to count towards the covered period.

Q: How much of my loan will be forgiven?

A: 100% of the loan will be forgiven if the business uses the loan to maintain payroll continuity from Feb. 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020. The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees retained compared to the prior year. 

Q: Can small businesses can hire back previously fired employees and still have the loans forgiven? If so, what is the hire-back date?

A: Yes. There is flexibility in the program to allow businesses to hire new, or returning employees, by June 30, 2020, and still qualify under the headcount requirements.

Q: What are the interest rate and terms for the loan amount that is not forgiven?

A: The SBA would guarantee 100% of Loans provided at a 4% interest rate. You will not have to pay any fees on the loan, and collateral requirements and personal guarantees are waived. Loan payments will be deferred for at least six months and up to one year starting at the origination of the loan.

Q: What does this bill do to provide relief for rural communities and farmers?

A: The bill includes a number of small business provisions designed to help farmers stay in business and take care of their employees during this difficult time. These include provisions that allow farmers to work with their trusted farm credit institutions for the purposes of securing payroll tax loans, along with 1-year deferrals, 100% guarantees, and low rates. The bill provides $14 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), the funding mechanism for all major USDA programs. It also appropriates an additional $9.5 billion to specifically respond to losses due to COVID-19. Additional funding is provided for USDA agencies that are on the front lines of responding to COVID-19, including the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The bill also includes $100 million to provide financing for rural broadband through the ReConnect program, and $25 million for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program to provide grants for equipment and connectivity improvements.

Q: Are farmers eligible for any of the SBA loans?

A: Farmers are eligible to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program loans that can be used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks. Farmers may apply through an existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Farmers are also now eligible, and encouraged to apply for, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Farmers are encouraged to consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. 

Q: Employee retention credit – how will this work?

A: The Employee Retention Credit provides a refundable payroll tax credit equal to 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages per employee (including health benefits) paid by certain employers during the coronavirus crisis. The credit is available to employers: whose operations were fully or partially shut down by government order limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to coronavirus, or whose quarterly receipts are less than 50% for the same quarter in the prior year. Wages paid to employees during which they are furloughed or otherwise not working (due to reduced hours) as a result of their employer’s closure or economic hardship are eligible for the credit. However, for employers with 100 or fewer employees, all employee wages qualify for the credit, regardless of whether they are furloughed or face reduced hours. To prevent double dipping, employers that receive Small Business interruption loans are not eligible for the credit. Additionally, wages that qualify for the required paid leave credit are not eligible for the credit. The credit is for wages paid by eligible employers from March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Q: Can a borrower double dip between an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and a new Paycheck Protection loan?

A: Businesses will be able to receive an EIDL and a Paycheck Protection loan as long as they go for different things. For example, a business can receive an EIDL for working capital and a Paycheck Protection loan for payroll assistance. Additional flexibility is granted through no prepayment penalties on EIDLs and no prepayments penalties on Payment Protection loans. Additionally, a refinancing option has been included. Under this legislation, the maximum loan amount intended for payroll and operating costs for small businesses is the monthly payroll times 2.5 with a maximum cap of $10 million. 2.5 times the average monthly payroll is not nearly enough money for small businesses. The calculation is at 2.5 times monthly payroll, earmarked to payrolls, etc. over 8 weeks, because that is what the $350 billion will cover.

Q: When is the application deadline?

A: Applicants are eligible to apply for the loan program until June 30, 2020.

Q: How quickly will businesses be able to access loans?

A: We are working with the SBA on capacity issues, including onboarding new lenders, to ensure resources will be available for small businesses soon. The SBA is working to issue guidance for small businesses and lenders on the new Paycheck Protection Program as quickly as possible. We will make this information accessible on the website once it becomes available.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Guide to the Loan Program

U.S. Chamber Economic Injury Disaster Loan Guide

U.S. Chamber Employee Retention Tax Credit Guide

U.S. Chamber Small Business Emergency Loan Guide 

Department of Labor Guidance on Paid Leave

Resources for Department of Defense Related Small Businesses

Farm Credit East Resources for Farmers

For a top-line overview of the U.S. Treasurey Payment Protection Program CLICK HERE

If you’re a lender, more information can be found HERE

If you’re a borrower, more information can be found HERE

The application for borrowers can be found HERE

The application for existing lenders can be found HERE

The application for new lenders can be found HERE

Click here for the Paycheck Protection Program Interim Final Rule from the SBA 

Click here for the Paycheck Protection Program Interim Final Rule on Affiliation

Click here for the Paycheck Protection Program Applicable Affiliation Rules

Click here for Paycheck Protection Program Frequently Asked Questions

Find an eligible lender HERE

Click here for a comprehensive list of resources for small businesses

HEALTHCARE FACILITIES AND PROFESSIONALS

  • Provides $100 billion to reimburse eligible healthcare providers for expenses and lost revenues
  • Provides $1.32 billion for community health centers
  • Waives requirement for providers to have a prior relationship with a patient in order to conduct telehealth visits
  • Provides $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile of PPE, ventilators, and other supplies
  • Requires all testing for COVID-19 be covered by private insurance plans

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Healthcare Facilities and Professionals:

Q: How does this bill support our healthcare providers and hospitals?

A: The bill provides $100 billion to be used to reimburse eligible healthcare providers for healthcare-related expenses including the building of surge capacity, purchasing of medical supplies and equipment, and increased workforce costs. Additionally, the bill delays the Medicaid DSH cuts that were scheduled to go into effect on May 23rd. It also expands the Medicare accelerated payment program for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency period so that hospitals can request up to a six-month advance lump sum or periodic payment and up to 100% of “net reimbursement” from the prior period.

Q: How does this bill support critical access and rural hospitals and their patients?

A: This bill includes $275 million in funding to expand services and capacity for rural hospitals.

Q: How does this bill support community health centers and their patients?

A: The bill requires that all testing for COVID-19 to be covered by private insurance plans without cost sharing. It also provides $1.32 billion in funding to community health centers who are on the frontlines of testing and treating patients. It also provides $250 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics to increase access to mental healthcare services.

Q: How does this bill support doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals?

A: This legislation establishes a Ready Reserve Corps to ensure that there are enough trained healthcare professionals to respond to COVID-19. Additionally, it makes clear that doctors who provide volunteer medical services during this public health emergency have liability protections.

Q: Does this bill address the nationwide supply shortage?

A: Yes. This legislation requires the strategic national stockpile to include certain types of medical supplies. It provides $16 billion to the Strategic National Stockpile to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts. It also requires the FDA to prioritize and expedite the review of drug applications and inspections to prevent or mitigate a drug shortage.

SENIORS

  • Includes $955 million for resources for:
  • Senior nutrition programs
  • Home and community-based support services
  • Family caregivers
  • Independent living  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for seniors: 

Q: How large will the checks be?

A: It depends on your income. Individuals with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will get the full amount of $1,200. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total of $2,400. The amount will be increased by $500 for each child under the age of 17 and individual taxpayers filing as head of household will get the full payment if they earned $112,500 or less. Above those income figures, the payment decreases until it stops altogether for single people earning $99,000 or married people who have no children and earn $198,000. Additionally, individuals can’t get a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult. In any given family and in most instances, everyone must have a valid Social Security number in order to be eligible.

Q: Will retirees and those on Social Security, including couples who make less than 150k on Social Security, be eligible for stimulus checks and how much?

A: Yes. Those who receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits but do not file tax returns will also receive stimulus checks. The IRS will use SSA-1099 information from the Social Security Administration to identify seniors and individuals with disabilities who are eligible but may not file taxes. These recipients follow the same guidelines as every other person when determining the amount (see question 1).

Q: Will I have to apply to receive a payment?

A: No. The payments will be automatic for individuals who qualify based on either their 2018 or 2019 tax return or their Social Security Benefit Statement. If the Internal Revenue Service already has your bank account information because you opted to use direct deposit to receive your tax refund, it will transfer the payment to you via direct deposit. All others who did not opt to use this function should expect to receive the check in the mail.

Q: What year’s income should I be looking at?

A: The amount you receive is based on your 2019 tax returns, however, those who have not yet filed a tax return this year will receive a payment based off their 2018 return or their SSA-1099 benefit statement.

Q: If I do not file income taxes will I receive a check?

A: Since the IRS will determine eligibility based on your income, if you have not filed a tax return for either 2018 or 2019 and do not receive Social Security or disability benefits, you are encouraged to file your 2019 taxes even if you did not report any income to ensure you receive a check.

Q: Have there been any changes to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security payments?

A: No. Recipients will continue to receive their monthly benefit amount. If you receive these benefits by mail, please visit  United States Postal Service for their latest statements about COVID-19. 

Visit this IRS web portal if you are not required to file tax returns to make sure you receive your payment!

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative has created a 1-pager of resources for seniors and those involved in investigating and prosecuting cases of elder fraud and abuse. Learn more here.

Social Distancing: Apps for Seniors

VETERANS

  • TRICARE funding for the emergency use of purchased care contracts to support beneficiaries if care in Military Treatment Facilities is unavailable
  • Includes $14.4 billion for VA healthcare services like telehealth, medical equipment and supply purchases, testing kits, and Personal Protective Equipment

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for veterans: 

Q: Will veterans receive a stimulus check?

A: Yes

Q: If I receive VA disability payments and I do not file taxes, am I eligible for a stimulus check?

A: Yes. Veterans receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs for VA disability benefits, pensions, and survivors’ benefits will be treated the same as those receiving SS, SSDI, SSI benefits and do qualify for stimulus checks.

Q: I’m a veteran receiving pension and health care benefits from VA.  Will the Recovery Rebate payment from the CARES Act count towards my income for determining my eligibility for pension, health care, and other needs-based benefits?

A: No.  Under Section 20010 of the CARES Act, the 2020 Recovery Rebate payment cannot be counted as income when determining a veteran’s eligibility for any VA needs-based benefits.

Q: I have a VA-backed mortgage.  Am I protected against foreclosure during the COVID-19 emergency declaration?
A: Yes, under the CARES Act Section 4022, federally backed mortgages, including those guaranteed by VA can be protected from foreclosure for 180 days by requesting a forbearance through your mortgage holder.

Q: I run a veteran-owned small business. Can the CARES Act help me?
A: Yes.  If you are a veteran-owned small business, you can receive support through the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program to cover 8-weeks of your payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs.

Q: My school is converting to online education because of COVID-19, will I still receive my housing allowance?

A: Yes, with the passage of Senate Bill 3503 into law (P.L. 116-128), VA will continue to make housing allowance payments to students using VA education benefits at the on-campus rate, even if the school converted to online education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here for Veterans' Benefits information for VA-guaranteed or VA-held loans

Click here for a comprehensive list of resources and services for veterans

Click here for a comprehensive list of resources and services for Fort Drum

STUDENTS

  • Distributes $13.2 billion to states and local school districts
  • Pauses all federal testing requirements
  • Suspends all student loan payments and interest accumulation on federal student loans
  • Allows greater flexibility for schools to use Title I funds for programs
  • Provides funding to Institutions of Higher Education to continue to serve students
  • Delivers significant aid relief for students that had their semester cut short

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for students:

Q: Will college students receive a stimulus check?

A: Not if anyone claims them as a dependent on a tax return. Usually, students under age 24 are dependents in the eyes of the taxing authorities if a parent pays for at least half of their expenses. You are not eligible for a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult.

Q: The federal government has already waived two months of student loan payments and interest for many federal student loan borrowers. Is there a bigger break on loans now with the passage of this new bill?

A: Yes, there is an automatic payment suspension in place until September 30th, 2020 for any student loan held by the federal government. No interest will accrue on the loan during this payment suspension. Check your online loan servicers account in the coming weeks and look at the amount due. There, you should be able to identify if the servicer has reset its billing systems to show that no payment is due.

Q: How do I know if my loan is eligible?

A: If you have borrowed money from the federal government as a so-called direct loan in the past 10 years, your loan is eligible. Additionally, Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) are eligible if the loan is currently held by the U.S. Department of Education. Older FFEL Program loans that the U.S. Department of Education does not own are not eligible, nor are Perkins loans still held by the institution, loans from state agencies, or loans from private lenders. The holders of all those kinds of loans may be offering their own assistance programs. Within a few weeks, you are supposed to receive notice indicating what has happened with your federal loans. You can choose to keep paying down your principal if you want.

Q: Will the six-month suspension cost me money, since I am trying to qualify for the public service loan forgiveness program by making 120 monthly payments?

A: No. The legislation says that your payment count will still go up by one payment each month during the six-month suspension, even though you will not actually be making any payments. This is true for all forgiveness or loan-rehabilitation programs.

Q: If my campus is closed or only offering online instruction, will I still get paid for the hours I am unable to work for my Federal Work-Study job?

A: If you’re unable to work your scheduled hours because of coronavirus-related disruptions, your school may pay you for any scheduled hours or allow you to work by another means—for example, completing work online or remotely, depending on the job. You should contact your school for more information.

Q: Will I be penalized if I was not able to complete the current semester due to the public health emergency?

A: No. Lifetime eligibility for subsidized loans and Pell Grants will not be impacted for students who are not able to complete their semester. Additionally, students are relieved from having to pay back the unearned portion of student aid from the current semester if they have to withdraw from a program, while institutions are able to exclude uncompleted credits from counting against the satisfactory academic progress metric, preserving students’ eligibility for future financial aid.

Click here to visit the Federal Student Aid Website for more information

RURAL COMMUNITIES

  • Provides $9.5 billion for agricultural producers including farmers markets, restaurants, schools, livestock and specialty crop producers
  • Provides $8.8 billion for Child Nutrition Programs and $15 billion for SNAP
  • Provides $1.5 billion in CDC State and Local Preparedness grants
  • Provides $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for rural communities:

Q: How does this bill change SNAP and other nutrition programs?

A: This bill includes $8.8 billion for Child Nutrition Programs including $15 billion for SNAP and $1 billion for food distribution. Additionally, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service has waived several requirements for food programs in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. USDA has granted site area eligibility waivers to New York. This waiver removes the requirement that Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) open sites must be in areas where at least 50 percent of participants are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Additionally, the waivers allow State agencies to waive certain onsite monitoring and oversight requirements for the school meals programs and the Child and Adult Care Food Program so that the programs can maintain program integrity and support social distancing while providing meals. State Agencies must notify FNS of their plans to opt-in to these waivers.

Q: Is there additional support for Territories and Tribal governments?

A: Yes. This legislation provides $150 billion for states, territories, and tribal governments to use for expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency. $8 billion is reserved for Tribal governments while $3 billion is reserved for the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. This funding is allocated by population proportions, with a minimum of $1.25 billion for states with relatively small populations. Units of local government with populations above 500,000 are able to receive direct payments from the Department of Treasury.

Q: What relief is provided for our community banks and local credit unions?

A: The CARES Act temporarily reduces the Community Banking Leverage Ration by one percent, allowing federal banking regulators to grant a “reasonable” grace period if any bank falls below that eight percent threshold. This change will allow community banks to deploy additional, needed capital to consumers and businesses through this time of crisis. This legislation also allows federal finance regulators to temporarily guarantee non-interest-bearing accounts of banks and credit unions without a maximum guarantee limit. It also temporarily suspends “generally accepted accounting principles” (GAAP) requirements for Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) classifications on loans. This change will assure banks and credit unions that loan modifications resulting from coronavirus-related distress do not trigger a TDR classification or disclosure, further incentivizing banks and credit unions to exhaust all options to support consumers and businesses. Furthermore, the CARES Act gives banks and credit unions the option to decide whether to comply with the new accounting standard known as Current Expected Credit Losses (CECL) Standard. This gives larger banks the option to free up trapped capital and will allow banks and credit unions to extend additional loans to consumers and businesses

Q: What additional funding is available for rural communities?

A: This bill provides $5 billion in Community Development Block Grant funding for senior citizens, the homeless, and public health services. It also provides $1 billion in direct funding to community-based organizations to provide social services and emergency assistance and $345 million for states and communities to respond to workforce impacts and layoffs.

Q: How does this bill support local farmers and related industry?

A: The CARES Act provides $9.5 billion for agricultural producers including specialty crop producers, local food system suppliers, farmers markets, restaurants, and livestock and produce farmers.

Q: What financial resources are available to farmers?

A: Farmers and businesses with 500 or fewer employees are eligible to apply for SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans. The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Farmers are also eligible to apply for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. More information is forthcoming on the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance (CFAP) funding that will also be made available to farmers. 

Q: How does this legislation support our first responders?

A: This bill provides $100 million for Assistance to Firefighter Grants to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and related supplies. In addition, it provides $1.5 billion in CDC State and Local Preparedness grants for local response activities.

Click here for Farm Credit Resources for farmers

Farmers: Click here to apply for the SBA EIDL program

Click here for guidance on applying for the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

Watch USDA's CFAP Payment Calculator Preview Video here

Click here for a comprehensive list of resources and services for rural communities