On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the CARES Act (Senate Amendment to H.R. 748). The intention of the Act is to provide economic and financial relief to American families and businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the relevant parts of the Act intended as relief for families are as follows. Keep in mind, that every family situation is unique, and every individual has specific needs. The points below are just a few of many provisions in the CARES Act, and only some of those that are particularly relevant to families.
- The Act creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020 to provide payment to individuals not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed individuals, independent contractors and those with limited work history.
- Provides payment to states to reimburse nonprofit organizations, government agencies and Indian tribes to pay unemployment benefits.
- Includes an additional $600 per week payment, on top of state benefit levels, to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months, through July 31.
- Provides an additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits beyond the normal 26 weeks through December 31, 2020 to help those who remain unemployed after state unemployment benefits are no longer available at the regular amount paid by the state.
Cash to Americans through Direct Payments and Retirement Provisions
- All U.S. Citizens and residents who are not claimed as a dependent on another’s tax return will be entitled to a maximum payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child.For the adults, joint filers will be entitled to a maximum of $2,400.The full payment is available to individuals with incomes up to $75,000 per person, $112,500 for a head of household and $150,000 per couple.The reduction is $.05 per dollar of income over these amounts.The payment phases out at $24,000 of additional income per adult person and $10,000 of additional income per child.
- Payments for children are to be based upon who claimed the child on their 2019 income tax return.For parents who have not yet filed for 2019, the payment for the child will be based upon which parent claimed the child on their 2018 income tax return.
- The law provides that for parents who filed jointly for 2018 but were divorced in 2019 and neither has yet filed their 2019 returns, the tax credit will be applied and sent electronically to the account identified on the 2018 return.If that account is no longer available, a jointly payable refund check will be sent to the address on the tax return.Each adult is expressly entitled to their own payment.
- There is no instruction as to which parent is entitled to keep any payment related to the child or children.However, the payment is intended as a benefit of the child and how it is split must be determined by agreement or potentially a court order.
- Most high school seniors and college students will not receive any money.The bill does not provide for children older than 16.
- Many immigrant families may not be eligible because in order for anyone in the family to receive a payment, each person in the household – including children – is supposed tohave a valid Social Security number.
- Clarifies that all testing for COVID-19 is to be covered by private insurance plans without cost-sharing.
- Provides free coverage of a COVID-19 vaccine without cost-sharing within 15 days.
- Reauthorizes rural health care services programs.
- Allows nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants to prescribe home health services.
- Supports the healthcare workforce, including reauthorization of health professions workforce programs, education and training related to geriatrics, and nursing workforce development.
- Allows for accelerated Medicare payments.
- Creates a 20 percent add-on payment for inpatient treatment.
- Increases Medicare Access to Post-Acute Care.
- Delays scheduled reductions in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments through November 30, 2020.
- Extends the Medicaid Community Mental Health Services demonstration that provides coordinated care to patients with mental health and substance use disorders, through November 30, 2020.
This article is not meant to provide legal advice or tax advice but to give you general knowledge so that you know what questions to ask when seeking counsel from professionals.