A MESSAGE FROM CONGRESSMAN BRIAN MAST: HELPING AMERICANS THROUGH CORONAVIRUS

Published Friday, March 27, 2020

Congress has just passed a critical piece of legislation called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARE) Act. This bill will provide direct financial relief to American families, support our small businesses and their employees, as well as help our hospitals and medical professionals combat this virus.

If you have any questions about this legislation, please do not hesitate to reach out to your 18th Congressional District Office at 202-225-3026. I am more than happy to help work through your individual circumstances! Here are the details of what is in the bill:

Financial Relief For Families This legislation provides important financial assistance for families, including:

  • $1,200 recovery checks for individuals and $2,400 for married couples who file jointly.
    • Couples will also receive an additional $500 for each child.
  • Individuals with no income - or only Social Security income - are also eligible.
  • Eligibility for recovery checks is reduced starting at $75,000 in income for individuals and $150,000 in for joint filers.
    • For those without children, individuals with income exceeding $99,000 and joint filers with income exceeding $198,000 are ineligible. The income cap is slightly higher for those with children.
  • Eligibility is based on 2019 tax returns or 2018 returns if you have not yet filed for 2019.

Assistance For Small Businesses The legislation also works to help small businesses stay open and keep workers employed by:

  • Creating federally guaranteed loans via the Paycheck Protection Program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency.
    • If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven.
    • Loans can be used to cover payroll costs, paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, health insurance premiums, mortgage payments and other debt obligations.
    • Eligible businesses must have less than 500 employees. Sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals are also eligible.
    • Loans will be available up to $10 million or 2.5 times the average monthly payroll of the business. Loans will be offered at an interest rate of 4%.
  • Providing small business debt relief by requiring the Small Business Administration to pay all principal, interest and fees on all existing SBA loan products for six months.
  • Expanding eligibility for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave and to pay other debts.
  • The SBA and Treasury will be issuing additional guidance in the coming days. In the meantime, you are encouraged to reach out directly to your lender for more information. Your 18th District Congressional Office is also available to help at 202-225-3026.

Protecting Unemployed Americans The CARE Act also strengthens and expands unemployment insurance for Americans who cannot work due to the coronavirus by:

  • Expanding unemployment benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers.
  • Providing additional benefits to each recipient of unemployment insurance for up to four months.
  • Offering paid leave for people who were employed on March 1 and have lost their job due to coronavirus.

Additional Resources For Hospitals  This legislation also provides $100 billion in additional funding for our hospitals and healthcare workers who are on the front lines of this fight by:

  • Increasing the supply of drugs and critical equipment, including ventilators and masks.
  • Boosting hiring for coronavirus-related health care jobs.
  • Ensuring all coronavirus tests are free for those who need them.
  • Speeding up the development of new vaccines and treatments.
  • Ensuring Medicare patients can access treatment for coronavirus by increasing payments for providers. It also ensures Medicare Part D beneficiaries have access to prescription drugs during the emergency.

Care For Veterans The legislation also includes funding to support increased demand for health care services at VA facilities through:

  • Expanding access to telehealth.
  • Purchasing additional medical equipment, supplies, testing kits and personal protective equipment.
  • Enabling the VA to provide additional support for vulnerable veterans.

Supporting Students & Recent Graduates This legislation builds on President Trump’s temporary suspension of federal student loan payments and interest:

  • Students can defer their student loan payments for 6 months and keep their Pell grants.

Funding For Local Government Response Our state and local governments have worked hard to mitigate the spread of this virus. This legislation provides important funding to be a partner in this fight by:

  • Providing $340 billion in emergency funding to continue coordinating and executing an aggressive response to the coronavirus.

The bottom line is that our country and our community are in this together. This legislation will go a long way to help families, support hospitals and healthcare personnel, and get the economy back on track by supporting small businesses. I look forward to President Trump signing this much-needed legislation into law!

Again, if you have any questions about how this bill will apply to your unique circumstances, please do not hesitate to reach out at 202-225-3026. For more information on the coronavirus and recommendations on how to keep your family safe, please visit CDC.gov/coronavirus. You can also read the latest updates and sign up for breaking news alerts here:

https://mast.house.gov/coronavirus

 

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