CARES Act Info

What is the CARES act?

Congress passed an emergency relief package to help American businesses, individuals, and families weather the storm of COVID-19. With 880 pages and dozens of programs, this is a complicated bill. We wanted to break down some of the most important programs so you know what this bill does and how you can access the help that you need.

Direct Cash Payments

In the coming weeks, the Treasury will begin mailing cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals and up to $2,400 for couples, with an additional $500 for each child.

AM I ELIGIBLE?
If you are an individual who earned less than $75,000 or a couple filing taxes jointly that earned less than $150,000, you are eligible for the full amount. The payment for individuals falls by $5 for every $100 in income above $75,000. Similarly for joint filers, the payment falls by $5 for every $100 in income above $150,000. Individuals who earn more than $99,000 or joint filers who earn more than $198,000 are not eligible for the direct payment program.

WHEN WILL PAYMENTS BE DISTRIBUTED?
The Treasury Department aims to start sending payments in early April. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact date when to expect payments; the Treasury Department said it aims to have direct deposit processed by April 6th.

HOW WILL I RECEIVE MY PAYMENT?
If you filed your 2019 taxes and included a bank account on file for direct deposit of your tax return, you will receive a direct deposit payment for the COVID-19 rebate. If you have not yet filed your 2019 taxes, the IRS will use information from your 2018 tax return. Those people who did not include direct deposit information will receive a check mailed to their last known address by the IRS.

Student Loan Extensions

Last year, the Sun-Sentinel reported that student debt is increasing faster in Florida than anywhere else in the country. The Department of Education will allow borrowers to defer payment on student loans until as late as September 30th.

AM I ELIGIBLE?
Your student loans are eligible for deferment under this package if they are Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans, Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans, or Federal Direct Consolidation Loans.

Federal education loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), also known as the guaranteed student loan program, are not eligible for the payment pause and interest waiver.

HOW DO I DEFER PAYMENT?
If you have an eligible loan under a federal program, your payments will automatically not be collected and interest will automatically not accrue. It is still recommended that you check your account to ensure no interest accrued.

Unemployment

Florida currently provides for up to 12 weeks of unemployment benefits. Under the CARES Act, the Federal Government will provide an additional $600 per week and provide 13 additional weeks of benefits. That means unemployed Floridians, including those self-employed and in the gig economy, can collect unemployment for up to 25 weeks.

HOW DO I ACCESS MY BENEFITS?
The State of Florida currently administers unemployment benefits. Click here to apply.

HOW WILL BENEFITS BE MADE AVAILABLE TO SELF-EMPLOYED WORKERS?
Self-employed workers will need to sign a self-certification form to acknowledge that they are eligible under the guidelines specified. These guidelines and the portal to sign the self-certification are not yet active, and when the federal government releases the portal, we will update this page.

Small Business

The CARES act offers $350 billion in small business loans in addition to other programs that will help jumpstart our economy.

AM I ELIGIBLE?
The most important eligibility requirement is that the small business requesting assistance does not have more than 500 employees (independent contractors included) and that the company is registered in the United States. It’s important to note that the loan may be eligible for loan forgiveness if businesses keep all employees on payroll during the period of the crisis.

Companies with outstanding SBA disaster relief loans may not be eligible for additional funding until the original loan is fully paid. How do I apply for assistance?

This program is handled by the Small Business Administration. Click here to learn more and apply.

DOES FLORIDA OFFER ANY ADDITIONAL RELIEF FOR SMALL BUSINESSES?
Yes! Florida’s small business bridge loan program provides up to $50,000 ($100,000 in special circumstances) to businesses affected by natural disasters and states of emergency. Click here to apply.

Housing

The CARES Act prohibits foreclosures on homeowners with federally backed mortgages for 60 days as a standard and up to 180 days with an extension. It prohibits landlords with federally backed mortgages from evicting tenants for the next 120 days.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
The federal government has enacted this moratorium on foreclosures automatically for 60 days beginning on March 18. Details regarding an extension and guidelines for landlords have not yet been finalized by the federal government. We will update this page once those details are released.

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