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Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Relief

Here are some FAQs about legislation passed for Coronavirus (COVID-19) relief.


Individuals

Q: Will I receive a stimulus check (Economic Impact Payment)? If so, when?

A)   Americans will be provided with a one-time tax rebate check of $1,200 per individual, $2,400 per couple, plus $500 per eligible child.  Total benefits will begin to be reduced for Americans with an adjusted gross income above $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for the head of household, and $150,000 for married couples.  Individuals making over $99,000 and married couples making over $198,000 will not receive a direct payment.

A) The deadline to request the $500 payment for eligible children is September 30th and inquiries should be made at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here

A)   To check the status of your Economic Impact Payment, please visit: IRS Get My Payment Website

A)   The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on March 30, 2020 that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people.  Those who receive Social Security benefits, and do not file tax returns, will still receive an Economic Impact Payment.  Recipients will receive the payment in the same format they receive their Social Security benefits.

    **Note: Beware of scammers.  During uncertain times like these, we are especially vulnerable.  For information on
         how to identify scams and fraud, please visit: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) guidance.**

 Q: What were the changes made to unemployment insurance?

A)   Unemployment insurance was expanded to provide to coverage for self-employed and non-profit employees.  Additionally, through the end of July 2020, unemployment will provide an additional $600/week across-the-board payment increase over the state payment rate, and for those in need, the bill provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond what states typically allow.

Q: Does my insurance cover getting tested for COVID-19?

A)   Insurers are required to fully cover the cost of testing for COVID-19.  Cost sharing is also waived for Americans on Medicaid, Medicare, and Tricare.  States may also cover tests for those without insurance through Medicaid and receive a 100% federal medical assistance percentage to cover the cost.

Q: Can I get assistance with child care after schools have been closed?


A)   Parents and caretakers may take family leave if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is authorized to provide the state with emergency Electronic Benefit Transfer food assistance (Lone Star Card) to assist households with out of school children who would otherwise receive free or reduce-priced meals.

Q: How does this bill affect my community?

A)   Large investments were made in nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Meals on Wheels, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the Disaster Relief Fund, and other economic assistance funds.

Business

 Q: Are there resources for small businesses?

A)   Provides funding for a new loan program backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small businesses pay for expenses.  This includes the creation of the Payment Protection Program (PPP), which will allow small businesses to take loans to keep employees on payroll that may be forgiven.  To apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) through the SBA, and/or for more information, visit: EIDL Application.

Q: Will there be more money for PPP and EIDL since they were depleted?

A)   As of April 24, 2020, PPP and EIDL funds have been replenished for small businesses who did not receive relief in the first round. Additionally, billions have been reserved for small and medium-sized banks to ensure that local businesses have the access to these programs as necessary.

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

A)   Businesses are allowed to hire new, or returning, employees by June 30, 2020 and still qualify under the headcount requirements. 

Q: What qualifies for paid medical leave?

A)   Employers are required to provide notice of eligibility for paid leave to employees if they meet the following qualifying reasons:

1. Being subject to a Federal, State, of local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
2. Being advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
3. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
4. Caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
5. Caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
6. Experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasuries.

Employers are required to cover the first two weeks of paid medical leave at the employee's standard rate of pay.  Employers may also apply for sick and family leave tax credits to help pay for medical leave benefits.

 Q: Who is eligible for forgivable SBA 7(a) loans?

A)   The Federal government will forgive 8 weeks of cash flow, rent, and utilities at 100% up to 2.5x average monthly payroll.  Additionally, a 501(c)(3) will also be eligible for this new program.  501(c)(3) non-profits and physician practices are eligible, regardless of how they are structured.

Q: How quickly will my business be able to access loans?

A)   The SBA has continued to work on onboarding new lenders and will adopt the legislation requirements as quickly as possible.

Q: Employee retention credit - how does it 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 to employers that fall under the following qualifications:

    - those whose operations were fully or partially shutdown by government order due to COVID-19, or:
    - those whose quarterly receipts are less than 50% for the same quarter in the prior year.

A)   Wages paid to employees while they are not working as a result of their employer’s closure or economic hardship are eligible for the credit.  In instances where an employer has 100 or fewer employees, all employee wages will qualify for the credit, regardless of whether they are furloughed or face reduced hours.

A)   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.          

Agriculture

Q: What resources are being provided to rural communities and farmers and ranchers?

A)   Several new policies were enacted to help farmers and ranchers across Texas stay in business and take care of their employees during this difficult time.  These include provisions that allow farmers and ranchers 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.

A)   The USDA and its underlying agencies responding to COVID-19 were provided additional funding, including the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

A)   Rural broadband is being prioritized by adding $100 million to provide financing through the ReConnect program and $25 million for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program to provide grants for equipment and connectivity improvements in rural communities.

A)   As of April 24, 2020, agricultural enterprises with fewer than 500 employees can apply for EIDL through the SBA.

 
Defense

 Q) What resources are being provided for veterans and servicemembers?

A)   $10.4 billion for Department of Defense (DOD) functions and programs, including $1 billion to expand the availability of necessary supplies through the Defense Production Act, $3.8 billion for defense health care programs, and $1.5 billion to support the deployment of the National Guard during the outbreak.

A)   $1.1 billion has been allocated for Tricare, to continue providing our servicemembers and veterans with vital healthcare during this emergency.

Healthcare

 Q: Will I be able to receive the health care resources I need?

A)   $16 billion in funding has been provided for states and local communities to purchase necessary medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and medicine for those in need.

A)   Telehealth services have been expanded within Medicare to cover additional services, including mental health and substance abuse.

Q: How will funds be distributed to hospitals, including rural hospitals?

A)  As of April 24, 2020, hospitals have been provided $175 billion to help cover costs associated with COVID-19.

For more information and updates on COVID-19 resources, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at CDC.gov.