Democracy Awards

Coronavirus Update

April 6, 2020
DeSaulnier Digest

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

As coronavirus continues to impact our communities, we want to share updated resources and information for you and your families. We encourage you to visit our dedicated coronavirus page on our website, which includes resources from across the federal, state, and local governments, and check out our FAQ guide, which you can find here.

Individual Direct Cash Rebates

As part of the recently passed coronavirus relief legislation, the CARES Act, millions of Americans now qualify for direct cash rebates of up to $1,200 for an individual and $2,400 for a married couple. Details on who will receive these rebates and when are below.

  • $1,200 direct payment to individuals making $75,000 a year or less, with smaller payments to those with higher incomes up to $99,000.
  • $2,400 direct payment to couples filing taxes jointly making $150,000 or less, with smaller payments to those with higher incomes up to $198,000.
  • Taxpayers with children under the age of 17 will receive an additional rebate of $500 per child.
  • Anyone who does not file a tax return, except for Social Security beneficiaries, must do so in order to receive a rebate.
  • Only individuals with a Social Security number qualify to receive a rebate.
  • Rebates will not count as income on 2020 taxes.
  • The IRS aims to begin processing rebates on April 13th to individuals who have previously authorized the IRS to directly deposit funds.
  • The IRS will mail checks beginning in early May to individuals who have not previously authorized the IRS to directly deposit funds.

California Response

The State of California is working closely with federal and local public health officials and private industry to respond as quickly and effectively as possible to this virus. Below is a short list of efforts the state is taking to protect our communities, including:

  • Providing $50 million to the state infrastructure bank for microloans;
  • Established the California Health Corps to bring skilled health care professionals who are not currently employed into service to combat the virus;
  • Allowing a one-year reprieve on state sales tax up to $50,000 per business;
  • Distributed over 35.9 million N95 masks to health care professionals;
  • Banned evictions and water shut offs during the pandemic;
  • Partnered with Google to provide 3-months of free access to broadband internet to ensure connectivity across the state;
  • Acquired over 4,00 ventilators and working to acquire an additional 10,000; and
  • Acquired a waiver from the federal government to increase access to free meals for students across the state.

Small Business Protections

The coronavirus relief package included nearly $350 billion in funding to help small businesses during these uncertain economic times. Among these provisions was the creation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is intended to help businesses survive this virus and keep their workers. Information on the program is below.

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) is partnering with banks, which will directly administer the loans – the program is now active.
  • Businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including sole proprietors, qualify for loans.
  • Businesses qualify for up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll with a maximum of $10 million, with some restrictions.
  • Loans will have an interest rate of 1% with repayment deferred for 6 months.
  • Workers who file 1099s are eligible for loans, therefore businesses cannot claim these workers on their payrolls.
  • If a business has already received a disaster loan, it can refinance it into a loan under this program without being penalized.

Additional FAQs

What is the government doing to develop vaccines and treatments for coronavirus?

While there are no FDA approved vaccines or therapies for coronavirus, Congress provided $1.8 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the CARES Act to develop both. There are currently several drugs in the first phase of trials for treatment of the virus. Additionally, multiple private manufacturers are working with federal researchers to develop vaccines that could prevent coronavirus.

When will I be able to access the additional funding Congress provided for unemployment insurance?

The state of California now has an agreement in place with the Department of Labor to add an additional $600 a week in supplement unemployment benefits to each recipients’ claim. The State is still finalizing the process for distributing these funds, but anticipates that the money could go out as early as this week.

Will the IRS contact individuals to obtain bank account information, Social Security numbers, or other personally identifiable information in order to distribute stimulus payments?

No. Beware anyone contacting you claiming to be from the IRS seeking your personally identifiable information.

What can I do if I think I have been a victim of fraud?

If you think you have been the victim of fraud related to the coronavirus, you can submit a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) through their complaints website, available here. You can also contact the CFPB via phone at (855) 411-2372. Additionally, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) here or by calling (877) 382-4357.

Do I need to make student loan payments during the pandemic?

The CARES Act suspends payments and the accrual of interest on federal student loans until September 20, 2020. The stimulus also suspends debt collection on federal student loans – prohibiting wage garnishment, tax seizure, and benefits reduction. Note that these provisions do not apply to private student loans.

CDC Guidance

As a reminder, to help protect yourself and the community, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people take the following steps:

  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and immediately throw away the tissue;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, face, nose, and mouth;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
  • Stay home when you are sick except to get medical care;
  • If you are unable to maintain social distancing while performing essential activities wear a cloth mask that snuggly covers your mouth and nose;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.