These are anxious times. I hope you are well, taking care of yourselves, and finding a way to connect with God and the people you love.
If you are healthcare worker, first responder, store employee, food delivery person, or anyone out there on the frontlines: THANK YOU! We owe you a deep sense of gratitude for pushing through.
On March 27 the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. Now that the CARES Act has been signed into law, I want to share some of the actions taking place for families and individuals impacted by the coronavirus. There are several measures in this Act to help small businesses and bolster support for the health care response, but I am not specifically addressing these measures here. Below are additional links if you would like to learn more.
CARES ACT – SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES
- Recovery Rebates for most taxpayers, providing cash immediately to individuals and families. Individuals are eligible for checks up to $1,200 and married couples filing jointly are eligible for checks up to $2,400, with an extra $500 for each child under the age of 17.
- The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers. According to the site, no information is available yet on when the checks will be delivered. There is no sign-up needed to qualify.
- Allows individuals to take hardship distributions of up to $100,000 from eligible retirement plans and individual retirement accounts without the ten percent withdrawal penalty. Amounts withdrawn may be repaid over 3 years.
- Individuals who have a current loan outstanding from their retirement plan with a repayment due from the date of enactment of the Cares Act through Dec. 31, 2020, can delay their loan repayments for up to one year.
- For retired individuals, required minimum distributions are waived for 2020.
- Provides an emergency increase in traditional unemployment insurance of $600 per week through July 31, 2020.
- Creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for those not traditionally eligible for unemployment compensation, including the self-employed, independent contractors, and “gig economy” workers.
- Eligible individuals adversely impacted by COVID-19 would receive benefits equal to the amount normally provided under state law plus $600 through December 31, 2020.
- Creates the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program to provide an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 for eligible individuals after state benefits are no longer available.
Education and Child Care
- Provides flexible funding to states, local school districts, and institutions of higher education to help schools, students, teachers, and families to address COVID-19 related issues.
- Gives temporary relief to federal student loan borrowers, through September 30, 2020.
- Provides states $3.5 billion in Child Care and Development Block Grants to support child care for families during the public health emergency.
Food and Nutrition
- Provides $25.06 billion in additional funding for food and nutrition assistance programs during the crisis, including certain child nutrition programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. LCSS will continue to provide sack lunches for ALL families each week. We encourage anyone to participate in the program who would like a healthy meal prepared for their child(ren).
- Creates a universal charitable deduction, which is an above-the-line deduction of $300 and will be available to all taxpayers, not just those who itemize.
- Lifts the cap on annual contributions, for those who itemize, increasing it from 60% to 100% of AGI for 2020.
Again, thank you to everyone on the frontlines – you are the true heroes in this pandemic. To our teachers, you continue to inspire me everyday. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for all children while looking after your own. You are all in my thoughts and prayers during this challenging time. Together we will prevail through this unchartered period in history.