This novel virus pandemic has hit the United States especially hard. As of Thursday, the number of reported coronavirus cases in America surpassed China and Italy. But short-term relief, in the form of coronavirus stimulus payments are on their way!
Congress Approves Coronavirus Stimulus Payments, President Signs Bill
United States President, Donald Trump, signed the biggest economic rescue package in U.S. history on Friday March 27th, 2020. The bill will authorize direct payments to most Americans and increases unemployment benefits for the millions out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Details are just beginning to be shared; many are still undetermined regarding the coronavirus stimulus payments.
What we are offering our readers are answers to questions they may have regarding the checks coming from the Federal Government to help Americans during this crisis.
Will I really get a check?
The legislation will provide a one-time, lump-sum payment of $1,200 to each American with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals, and $150,000 for married couples.
For individuals making above $75,000, the payment amount falls by $5 for every $100 in income above $75,000, with a cap of $99,000 for individuals, $146,500 individuals with one child and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
Individuals and couples will also receive an additional $500 for qualifying children under 16-years-old.
There Are Other Exceptions
The stimulus check won’t be in the mail for Americans who owe child support, but back taxes or late student loan payments don’t disqualify people from getting the full amount they’re eligible for.
What If I am on Social Security or Disability?
Social Security and Disability recipients, Veterans, and those on Unemployment Compensation are also eligible and will receive a payment.
Will My College Student Child Get Their Own Payment?
Probably not. Individuals who have been claimed as a dependent by someone else (college students for example) will not be eligible for a payment.
What Do I Have To Do To Get Paid?
You don’t have to do anything and beware scams asking you confidential information or a fee to file for your payments. Individuals must have a social security number to qualify.
If you have not filed a tax return in recent years, there could be a delay. Published sources advise you file a 2018 tax return ASAP to make yourself eligible.
How Will I Get Paid?
The IRS will make the payment directly to the bank from which you pay your taxes if you pay online. Those who pay taxes by check will get a check, but that could take a few weeks longer.
When Will I Get Paid?
Trump Administration officials have said they will try to begin transmitting payments in a few weeks.
What Happens to My 401(K)?
You don’t have to take a minimum distribution from your IRA or 401(k) in 2020, selling equities that lost value. And, for the next six months taxpayers will be allowed to withdraw up to $100,000, not subject to the 50% limit and without the 10% penalty. This principal can be repaid over the next three years, or the deferred tax can be paid over three years.
I Want to Contribute to a Charity? Any Extra Benefit?
The program creates a $300 deduction for donations to registered charities (but not donor advised funds) and relieves limits on other charitable donations to stimulate contributions towards COVID-19. This deduction will go beyond 2020.
Can I Get Unemployment Insurance if COVID-19 Made Me Lose Work?
Yes. The law expands the current unemployment assistance program by $600 a week for four months and will apply to part-time and nontraditional employees like independent contractors, the self-employed, freelancers, and so-called “gig-workers.”
I Was Quarantined, Will I Still Get Unemployment Compensation?
Families impacted by COVID-19 sickness or death will be covered by unemployment compensation. The law also provides benefits for those who were required to be quarantined.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program
The CARES Act creates a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that provides federally funded unemployment benefits to many — though certainly not all — workers who lose their jobs but are ineligible for the state’s regular Unemployment Insurance program. This includes workers lacking an extensive enough work history or looking for part-time work as well as those who have exhausted their regular Unemployment Insurance benefits. Workers can receive up to 39 weeks of PUA benefits. This program is only in effect through December 31.
I have more questions about Unemployment Compensation? Where should I turn?
Unemployment Compensation is largely a state program so some rules and payments, including the length of time for which payments are made, will vary by state. Check your state’s website for detailed information.
Do I Still Have to Make Student Loan Payments?
The federal government has waived payments on most student loans originated in the past 10 years until September 30th, 2020. Payments on loans held directly by the Federal government have been suspended. Older loans like FFEL, Perkins, state agency, Sallie Mae, and private loans are not eligible.
Will There Be More Direct Stimulus Payments?
According to many government officials, Congress is already considering a fourth phase of aid. Congress might consider providing more direct payments to Americans.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the end of direct payments,” Pelosi announced during her weekly press conference on Thursday.
Relief for Travel Agencies
As far as travel agencies go, the CARES Act provides several paths for economic help for travel advisors, including offering a variety of direct business loans, loan guarantees, deferral of taxes, direct cash payments to individuals, as well as substantial expansion of unemployment benefits.
IRS’s Coronavirus Website For More Answers
The IRS does not have my direct deposit information. What can I do?
In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail. This comes as the IRS is receiving pushback that previously required recipients to file a tax return to get a stimulus payment.
Despite language Congress passed in #COVIDー19 relief bill to ensure Social Security beneficiaries would NOT have to file taxes to receive direct relief, IRS issued guidance saying seniors DO have to file taxes. That’s ridiculous. IRS should follow the law that Congress passed
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) April 1, 2020
The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. This page will be updated as new information is available. For other information about the COVID-19 virus, people should visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (https://www.coronavirus.gov) for health information. Other information about actions being taken by the U.S. government is available at https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus and in Spanish at https://gobierno.usa.gov/coronavirus. The Department of Treasury also has information available at Coronavirus: Resources, Updates, and What You Should Know.
Coronavirus Stimulus Payments: No information available yet, No sign-up needed
At this time, the IRS does not have any information available yet regarding stimulus or payment checks, which remain under consideration in Congress. Please do not call the IRS about this. When the IRS has more specific details available, we will make it available on this page.
Also, Tax Day is changed to July 15: Treasury, IRS extended filing deadline and federal tax payments regardless of amount Details included with IRS News Release IR-2020-58.
Click here for all the latest coronavirus updates and policies by airline and hotel, travel insurance, stimulus payment, and expert advice posts.
At this time, details are still coming in on the recently enacted Coronavirus Stimulus Payments for citizens. It is designed to provide two benefits. First, it’s designed to get cash into the hands of Americans who need money to buy the basics for life; food and medicines. Secondly, it puts cash back into the money cycle of the US economy; desperately needed as it has been severely slowed with ordered quarantines and lockdowns. Of course, the travel industry is probably hit the hardest.
It is our hope that life returns to normal swiftly and we’ll be talking about great trips and earning points and miles soon! As an interesting note, CNN reported that many members of the House of Representatives were scrambling to book flights and return to Washington on Thursday night amid concerns that they could be asked to vote in person on the stimulus.
In the meantime, these direct payments (with perhaps more coming) should help many Americans who desperately need a paycheck.
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