What Does the CARES Act Mean for You and Your Family


As we continue to deal with the ongoing pandemic, economies around the world are struggling. Unemployment has skyrocketed, many businesses can no longer operate profitably, and social safety nets are being put to the test. In response to these enormous challenges, Congress passed the CARES Act in March of 2020, a sweeping legislation aimed at assisting individuals and businesses during these precarious times. This Act contains a variety of programs that affect mortgages, small business loans, student loans, unemployment benefits and income taxes.

You’re probably asking, “how can this Act help me and my family”? The good news is that there are many provisions in the bill that are there to assist everyday Americans. Let’s review the different elements of the bill so that you can determine which of these programs can benefit you.

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small business – if you are a small business owner struggling to survive, this provision was created to supply folks like you with forgivable loans to help cover the cost of your payroll, rent, debt interest, and utilities. So long as the business uses these funds properly to cover the expenses just mentioned the government is willing to completely forgive the loan. Not only does this provision provide businesses with much needed capital to sustain their operations, but it also provides employees with much greater job security as it incentivizes businesses to retain their employers as they weather the storm. In order to determine your eligibility and calculate your loan amount, visit https://www.sba.gov/document/support-how-calculate-ppp-loan-amounts.
  • FPUC & PUA provisions expand unemployment benefits, extending eligibility to freelance and “gig” workers. Also, unemployed individuals can now receive an extra $600 in weekly benefits through July 31st. Congress is now exploring options on extending these supplemental benefits through the end of 2020, so make sure you are following to news to see if and when this provision will be extended. To determine if you’re eligible for unemployment and this additional weekly benefit, please visit your home state’s unemployment website.
  • In addition to the added weekly benefit, the CARES act has also extended benefits for an additional 13 weeks beyond the normal allowance. So long as you are actively seeking work, these benefits can stretch through the end of the year.
  • The CARES Act has also granted additional tax credits to American families. A $1200 benefit plus an additional $500 per child are now available. These rebates do gradually reduce if your household income exceeds $75,000, so be sure to ask your tax return preparer how you can maximize this benefit.
  • The CARES Act also now allows individuals to borrow up to $100,000 against their IRA’s without having to pay a penalty. That’s a potential $10,000 benefit considering the penalty is typically 10% of the borrowed amount.
  • Larger organizations and some industries also have programs in place for assistance. These programs have a trickle-down benefit to the economy overall as they bolster industries that have been particularly hard hit during this crisis.
  • Individuals are also now entitled to mortgage forbearance (payment postponement) so long as you have a federally backed loan and you are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic.
  • For those with student Loans, the CARES Act has postponed payments and waived interest accrual. This benefit is automatic for anyone that has Federally backed student loans.  Even if you’ve accidentally made a payment during this postponement you can easily request a refund.

It is clear that the CARES Act is a truly historic piece of legislation that, so far, has prevented economic chaos. It’s far reaching provisions provide additional support and safety nets for the majority of Americans, as we navigate these difficult times. To learn more about the CARES Act and stay up to date on any extensions, changes, or additional benefits please visit, https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares. Also, here is an easy to follow guide that provides an additional overview on the Act’s important elements. https://www.investopedia.com/coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-cares-act-4800707.