COVID-19 Resources and Information

If constituents have any questions or concerns related to the COVID-19 relief funding, please reach out to our office here

Click here for CDC guidance and prevention methods

 

The 4th Legislative COVID-19 Relief Package:

 

INDIVIDUALS & FAMILIES

  • $600 direct payments to the American people and $600 per dependent child, with the payments phasing out for individuals who make over $75,000 and couples making over $150,000

  • Similar to the first round of payments, the vast majority of Americans will receive their payments automatically with the IRS basing payments on 2019 tax returns

  • $10 billion for child care assistance to working families and support for child care providers as they safely reopen and operate through the pandemic

  • Temporarily increases SNAP benefits by 15% for six months while providing additional funding for Older Americans Act home-delivered meals for seniors, addressing pandemic-related food insecurity

  • Includes Congresswoman Stefanik’s COVID-19 WIC Safety and Modernization Act, which will modernize the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program and address issues of accessibility caused by the pandemic. 

  • Tax relief for small businesses and working families through an expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit, an extension of the FFCRA paid leave tax credits, and provisions to preserve the Earned Income and Child Tax Credit for families financially impacted by the pandemic

  • Extends Unemployment Insurance eligibility, including the PUA coverage for gig workers and the self-employed, with an added $300 per week through March 14, 2021

  • $25 billion for emergency rental assistance targeted to struggling families and an extension of the CDC eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Individuals and Families:

Q: How large will the checks be?

A: $600 per adult and an additional $600 for each child under the age of 17, with the amount phasing out for individuals with an adjusted gross income over $75,000 and married couples with an adjusted gross income over $150,000.

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

A: 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 or prepaid card 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.

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 as soon as the week of December 28th. 

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

A: Yes. The bill includes $25 billion for the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which will flow through states and large localities and provide direct rental assistance to households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the pandemic. States are directed to prioritize rental assistance to households below 50% of the area median and households with one or more individuals who are unemployed. 

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: Is the expanded paid sick time and family leave under the FFRCA extended under this bill?

A: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided a refundable payroll tax credit for the mandated paid sick and family leave that was temporarily required.  This provision extends the tax credit through March 2021 for employers that continue to offer paid sick and family leave to their employees, however the mandate on employers is not extended. 

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: Does this bill extend Unemployment Insurance benefits?

A: Yes. This bill extends and phased out the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides additional weeks when state unemployment runs out, and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides coverage for the self-employed and gig workers, through April 5, 2021, while allowing no new applicants after March 14, 2021. Additionally, the bill provides an added $300 a week to Unemployment Insurance benefits through March 14, 2021.

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

A: Yes, sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and the self-employed remain eligible for unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. No new applicants will be eligible after March 14, 2021 and the program ends April 5, 2021.

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

 

SMALL BUSINESSES

This legislation will include $325 billion for small businesses, extending the Paycheck Protection Program and allowing small businesses to deduct expenses. Please see the information below for more details:

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

  • $284.5 billion for PPP while providing a second round of PPP loans for the hardest-hit small businesses, housing cooperatives, veterans’ organizations, tribal businesses, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and small agricultural co-ops.
  • To be eligible for the second PPP draw down, a business must:
    • Have less than 300 employees and prove that they have used or will use the full amount of their first PPP.
    • Demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 relative to the same 2019 quarter. Provides applicable timelines for businesses that were not in operation in Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 of 2019. Applications submitted on or after January 1, 2021 are eligible to utilize the gross receipts from the fourth quarter of 2020.
    • The maximum loan amount for a second drawn PPP will be reduced to $2 million.
  • PPP loan terms remain largely similar to those enacted under the CARES Act and in general may receive a loan amount of up to 2.5X the average monthly payroll costs in the one year prior to the loan or the calendar year. No loan can be greater than $2 million and must meet the following requirements:
    • Seasonal employers may calculate their maximum loan amount based on a 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019 through February 15, 2020.
    • Businesses with multiple locations that are eligible entities under the initial PPP requirements may employ not more than 300 employees per physical location.
    • Waiver of affiliation rules that applied during initial PPP loans apply to a second loan.
    • An eligible entity may only receive one PPP second draw loan.
    • Fees are waived for both borrowers and lenders to encourage participation.
  • Makes 501(c)(6) organizations, including local Chambers and destination marketing organizations, housing cooperatives, newspapers, broadcasters, and radio stations eligible for PPP
  • Expands the following expenses allowable and forgivable uses for PPP:
    • Payment for any software, cloud computing, and other human resources and accounting needs; costs related to property damage due to public disturbances not covered by insurance; PPE and adaptive investments to help a loan recipient comply with federal health and safety guidelines or any equivalent State and local guidance related to COVID-19 during the period between March 1, 2020, and the end of the national emergency declaration.
  • Creates a simplified PPP loan forgiveness application for loans under $150,000
    • To be eligible for this provision, the borrower will need to sign and submit a one-page certification that lists the loan amount, the number of employees retained, and the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs.
    • The borrower must also attest that they accurately provided the required certification and complied with PPP loan requirements.
    • The SBA must establish this form within 24 days of enactment and may not require additional materials unless necessary to substantiate revenue loss requirements.
    • Additionally, borrowers are required to retain relevant records related to employment for four years and other records for three years. The Administrator may review and audit these loans.
  • $15 billion for live venues, movie theaters, and museums that are experiencing significant revenue loss, modeled after the Save our Stages legislation
  • Expansion to PPP calculations for restaurants (based on NAICS code 72) from 2.5x payroll to 3.5x payroll
    • Eligible expenses are also expanded to include supplier costs, perishable goods, PPE, and outdoor seating for restaurants

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance Program

  • $20 billion for new EIDL grants and extends the covered period through December 31, 2021
  • Creates a process for existing EIDL Advance grantees that received less than $10,000 dollars to reapply for the difference between what they received and the maximum EIDL Advance Grant of $10,000 dollars
  • Increases verification tools at the SBA to ensure accurate information is submitted on a grant application
  • Ensures borrowers will not have to deduct their EIDL Advance from their PPP loan forgiveness amount 

7(a), 504, and Microloan Program Enhancements

  • Supplies $2 billion dollars to enhance the SBA’s existing government guarantee loan programs, including the 7(a) Loan Program, the 504 Loan Program, and the Microloan Program
  • Waives borrower and lender fees within the 7(a) and 504 loan programs
  • Increases the 7(a) loan guarantee to 90%
  • Extends the $1 million dollar loan limit for SBA Express Loans
  • Establishes a 504 Express Loan Program
  • Enhances the Microloan program in order to provide financial and technical assistance tobusinesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

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: If I received a PPP in round one, will I be eligible for a second draw down?

A: Hardest-hit small businesses, housing cooperatives, veterans’ organizations, tribal businesses, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and small agricultural co-ops. are eligible for a second round of PPP. To be eligible for the second PPP draw down, a business must have less than 300 employees and prove that they have used or will use the full amount of their first PPP. They also must demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 relative to the same 2019 quarter. This bill provides applicable timelines for businesses that were not in operation in Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 of 2019. Applications submitted on or after January 1, 2021 are eligible to utilize the gross receipts from the fourth quarter of 2020.

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

A: Yes, 501(c)(6) organizations, including local chambers and destination marketing organizations, housing cooperatives, newspapers, broadcasters, and radio stations eligible for PPP. Additionally, 501(c)3 non-profits and 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. The maximum loan amount for a second drawn PPP will be reduced to $2 million. Additionally, the bill includes an expansion to PPP calculations for restaurants (based on NAICS code 72) from 2.5x payroll to 3.5x payroll. Eligible expenses are also expanded to include supplier costs, perishable goods, PPE, and outdoor seating for restaurants.

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, seasonal employers may calculate their maximum loan amount based on a 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019 through February 15, 2020.

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: 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. The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees retained compared to the prior year. 

Q: My PPP loan was under $150,000 – am I eligible for relief?

A: Yes. This bill creates a simplified PPP loan forgiveness application for loans under $150,000. To be eligible for this provision, the borrower will need to sign and submit a one-page certification that lists the loan amount, the number of employees retained, and the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs. The borrower must also attest that they accurately provided the required certification and complied with PPP loan requirements. The SBA must establish this form within 24 days of enactment and may not require additional materials unless necessary to substantiate revenue loss requirements. Additionally, borrowers are required to retain relevant records related to employment for four years and other records for three years. The Administrator may review and audit these loans.

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: 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: If I take out an EIDL and PPP loan, does that affect my forgiveness?

A: No, this bill eliminates the provision included in the CARES Act, ensuring borrowers will not have to deduct their EIDL Advance from their PPP loan forgiveness amount.

Q: I own a restaurant or a manage a live venue, am I eligible for targeted relief?

A: Yes. This bill includes $15 billion for live venues, movie theaters, and museums that are experiencing significant revenue loss, modeled after the Save our Stages legislation. Additionally, the bill includes an expansion to PPP calculations for restaurants (based on NAICS code 72) from 2.5x payroll to 3.5x payroll. Eligible expenses are also expanded to include supplier costs, perishable goods, PPE, and outdoor seating for restaurants.

 

Click here for a comprehensive list of resources for small businesses

HEALTHCARE FACILITIES AND PROFESSIONALS

Support for Vaccine Distribution and Other Healthcare Items 

  • $68 billion for procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine, testing and tracing, and mental health funding including:
    • $20 billion for purchase of vaccines that will make the vaccine available at no charge for anyone who needs it
    • $8 billion for vaccine distribution
    • $20 billion to assist states with testing
    • $20 billion distribution from existing provider relief fund
  • Includes a version of Congresswoman Stefanik’s Opioid Workforce Act to provide 1,000 new residency positions at teaching hospitals to promote physician-focused partnerships between rural and urban hospitals  
  • Protects patients from surprise medical bills while enhancing price transparency for medical services

SENIORS

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

  • Allows transfer of previously appropriated CARES funds to the Veterans Benefits Administration, the National Cemetery Administration, and the Board of Veterans Appeals to address the increased backlog due to the coronavirus response.
  • Allows transfer of previously appropriated CARES funds to the Veterans Benefits Administration and Information Technology Systems accounts to support necessary updates in the administration of education benefits due to the coronavirus response.
  • Allows transfer of previously appropriated CARES funds to support State Veterans Homes.
  • Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct new grant competitions to support state efforts to modify or alter existing facilities due to the coronavirus response utilizing previously appropriated CARES funds.
  • Clarifies the Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ ability to increase grants and per diem payments to support homeless veterans during a public health emergency utilizing previously appropriated CARES funds.

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 ection 6428a of the 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, the VA is allowed, as originally established under Public Law 116-128, to continue making 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

  • $82 billion for local school districts and higher education institutions to assist with safely restoring and continuing in-person learning.

  • $54.3 billion for K-12 schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which will be allocated to states and local school districts based on Title I allocations

  • $22.7 billion for postsecondary institutions and students through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, to be distributed largely based on both an institution’s FTE and total Pell Grant recipients

  • $2.75 billion in separate funding designated for private K-12 schools

Schools 

  • $54 billion for the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Fund, which will be allocated to states based on each state’s relative share of funds under Title I of ESEA. The states must then allocated at least 90% of the funds they received to local educational agencies based on each LEA’s relative share of funds under Title I of ESEA.
    • The funds are flexible and school districts can use them on any activity authorized under ESEA, IDEA, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Perkins CTE Act, the education provisions of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as well as a wide variety of activities, including technology and cleaning supplies, needed to respond to the coronavirus.
  • $2.75 billion in a completely separate fund for non-public schools to help cover costs due to the pandemic, which will be allocated to states based on the population of low-income students attending private schools. Non-public schools seeking assistance would then apply directly to the state for funding.
  • Officially postpones the statutorily required National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 4th and 8th grade reading and math assessments from the 20-21 school year to the 21-22 school year.
  • Simplifies the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to make it easier for students to apply and qualify for federal student aid as they pursue postsecondary educational opportunities.
    • Reduces the total questions on the FAFSA from 108 to a maximum of 36 questions.
    • Changes the name of the formula from “Expected Family Contribution” to “Student Aid Index” to reduce confusion about what the calculation represents.
    • Streamlines the Department of Education’s financial data verification process.

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

RURAL COMMUNITIES

  • $13 billion in direct payments to farmers to help cover pandemic-induced losses 

  • Additional funding directed to programs that support local producers including new and beginning farmers, dairy producers, dairy processors via reimbursement for donated dairy products, small and medium size meat producers, and state departments of agriculture 

  • $45 billion for Transportation funding, including direct support to the motorcoach sector and MTA

  • $7 billion in broadband funding, including:

    • Fully funding the rip-and-replace program established by the Secured and Trusted Communications Networks by providing $1.9 billion for communications providers with 10 million subscribers or less to replace equipment in the communications that poses a national security threat.
    • $3.2 billion for an FCC to establish a temporary, emergency broadband benefit program to provide support for low-income Americans to get connected and remain connected to the internet for the duration of the public health emergency.
    • $1 billion for a program at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to support broadband infrastructure deployment, telehealth, and broadband adoption activities for federally recognized tribal nations.
    • $300 million for an broadband deployment program at NTIA to support broadband infrastructure deployment to unserved areas, with the priority for unserved rural areas.
    • An additional $250 million for the FCC to carry out the temporary telehealth polit program authorized under the CARES Act, which provides immediate support for health care providers by funding their telecommunications services, and requires that the FCC distribute the funding equitably.
    • Fully funds the Broadband DATA Act with $65 million to improve FCC maps and precisely target areas that lack broadband access 

Click here for Farm Credit Resources for farmers

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