The C.A.R.E.S. Act FAQ

March 27, 2020 at 8:00 PM
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Here are the answers to common questions about what’s in the plan.

The information in this article was written during the published date. We’ll update this article as we have more answers about the details.

Stimulus Payments

How large would the payments be?

Most adults would get $1,200, although some would get less. For every qualifying child age 16 or under, the payment would be an additional $500.

How many payments would there be?

Just one. Future bills could order up additional payments.

How do I know if I will get the full amount?

It depends on your income. Single adults with Social Security numbers who are United States residents and have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less would get the full amount. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less would receive a total of $2,400. And taxpayers filing as head of household would get the full payment if they earned $112,500 or less.

Above those figures, the payment decreases until it stops altogether for single people earning $99,000 or married people who have no children and earn $198,000. According to the Senate Finance Committee, a family with two children would no longer be eligible for any payments if its income surpassed $218,000.

You can’t get a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult. In any given family and in most instances, everyone must have a valid Social Security number in order to be eligible.

Do college students get anything?

Not if anyone claims them as a dependent on a tax return. Usually, students under age 24 are dependents in the eyes of the taxing authorities if a parent pays for at least half of their expenses.

What year’s income should I be looking at?

2019. If you haven’t prepared a tax return yet, you can use your 2018 return. If you haven’t filed that yet, you can use a 2019 Social Security statement showing your income to see what an employer reported to the I.R.S.

Would I have to apply to receive a payment?

No. If the Internal Revenue Service already has your bank account information, it would transfer the money to you via direct deposit based on the recent income-tax figures it already has.

When would the payment arrive?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expected most people to get their payments within three weeks.

Would most people who are receiving Social Security retirement and disability payments each month also get a stimulus payment?

Yes.

Would eligible unemployed people get these stimulus payments?

Yes.

Do I have to pay income taxes on the amount of my payment?

No.

Unemployment Benefits

Who would be covered by the expanded program?

The new bill would wrap in far more workers than are usually eligible for unemployment benefits, including self-employed people and part-time workers. The bottom-line: Those who are unemployed, are partly unemployed or cannot work for a wide variety of coronavirus-related reasons would be more likely to receive benefits.

How much would I receive?

It depends on your state.

Benefits would be expanded in a bid to replace the average worker’s paycheck. The average worker earns about $1,000 a week, and unemployment benefits often replace roughly 40 to 45 percent of that.

The expansion would pay an extra amount to fill the gap. Under the plan, eligible workers would get an extra $600 per week on top of their state benefit.

Here's an example: So let's say Karen was making $1,100 per week in New York; she’d be eligible for the maximum state unemployment benefit of $504 per week. Under the new program, she gets an additional $600 of federal pandemic unemployment compensation, for a total of $1,104, essentially replacing her original paycheck.

States have the option of providing the entire amount in one payment or sending the extra portion separately. But it must all be done on the same weekly basis.

Are self-employed or independent contractors covered in the bill?

Yes, self-employed people would be newly eligible for unemployment benefits.

Benefit amounts would be calculated based on previous income, using a formula from the Disaster Unemployment Insurance Progam. Self-employed workers would also be eligible for the additional $600 weekly benefit provided by the federal government.

Who would the bill leave out?

Workers who are able to work from home, and those receiving paid sick leave or paid family leave would not be covered. New entries to the workforce who cannot find jobs would also be ineligible.

How long would the payments last?

The extra $600 payment would last for up to four months, covering weeks of unemployment ending July 31.

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