FAQs and terminology you should know
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) offers economic aid, such as small business loans and unemployment assistance, to self-employed individuals who traditionally have not been eligible for such benefits. The CARES Act expands traditional unemployment benefits and also makes them accessible by self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, gig economy workers, and independent contractors.
Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) - This program allows states to provide an additional $600 per week benefit to individuals who are collecting regular Unemployment Compensation (including Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX)), as well as the following unemployment compensation programs: Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC); Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA); Extended Benefits (EB); ShortTime Compensation (STC); Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA); Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); and payments under the Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program. FPUC benefit payments are fully federally-funded.
Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) - Federal employees may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE). The UCFE program is administered by state unemployment insurance (UI) agencies acting as agents of the Federal government.
Unemployment Compensation for Ex-service members (UCX) - The UCX Program provides unemployment insurance protection to ex-servicemembers of all ranks who served in the Armed Forces of the United States. More information here.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - An emergency program designed to help Americans affected by the 2020 novel coronavirus pandemic. It was established by the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - Under PUA, individuals who do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are unable to continue working as a result of COVID-19, such as self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers, are eligible for PUA benefits.
Extended Benefits (EB) - Extended Benefits are available to workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits during periods of high unemployment. The basic Extended Benefits program provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits when a State is experiencing high unemployment.
Short-Time Compensation (STC) -Those employees experiencing a reduction in hours are allowed to collect a percentage of their unemployment compensation (UC) benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. STC Fact Sheet here.
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) - Provides income support payments to individuals who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and whose jobs were affected by foreign imports as determined by a certification of group coverage issued by the Department of Labor. Info here.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) - This program provides unemployment benefits to individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of a Presidentially declared major disaster. Check eligibility for DUA here.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - An SBA loan that helps businesses, independent contractors, and 1099 filers keep their workforce or themselves employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online.- You should contact your state's unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after becoming unemployed.- Generally, you should file your claim with the state where you were employed. If you worked in a state other than the one where you now live or if you worked in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency where you now live can provide information about how to file your claim with other states.- When you file a claim, you will be asked for certain information, such as addresses and dates of your former employment. To make sure your claim is not delayed, be sure to give complete and correct information.- It generally takes two to three weeks after you file your claim to receive your first benefit check.
If you filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, you don't have to do anything. The IRS will use this information from 2019, if you have filed, calculate the payment amount. They will use 2018 if you haven't filed 2019.
If you haven’t/don’t file US taxes, use the "Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here" application to provide simple information so you can get your payment. You should use this application if:
Requirements vary by state, but here is likely what you will need to fill out the application:
Any portion of the loan that is not forgiven will carry an interest rate of 1.0% and is due to be paid back within two years. However, payments are deferred for the first six months. There’s no pre-payment penalty (if you decide to pay it off early).
The money can be used for payroll (no more than $100,000 annual salary per employee) as well as benefits (including paid sick leave and insurance premiums) and taxes on compensation. Up to 25% of the loan may be used to cover mortgage interest, rent, utilities and interest on pre-existing loans.
Lenders will forgive your PPP loan if you spend 100 percent of the funds on payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities in the eight weeks after receiving the loan. You must spend at least 75 percent specifically on payroll. The other 25 percent can be divided up between rent, utilities, and mortgage interest (if applicable).
You can also use your loan to cover existing debt obligations, such as credit card payments, but you will not receive loan forgiveness on those costs.
The Small Business Administration has made all approved PPP loan lenders searchable on their website here.
Who gets stimulus payments largely depends on your previous annual income. The bill excludes individuals earning more than $99,000, and married couples without children earning more than $198,000.
This will depend on how you've filed your most recent taxes. If you included direct deposit information for your bank account, you should see the check wired into your account directly. However, if you did not include you direct deposit information, stimulus checks will be mailed out to the address listed in your last tax filing. You can also update your banking information on the IRS "Get My Payment" website here.
You can check the status of your stimulus payment on the IRS "Get My Payment" website here. Otherwise, here is the planned weekly schedule for the IRS to mail stimulus checks based on annual income, but the IRS could change this schedule at any time:
The CARES Act signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, gives states the option of extending unemployment compensation to independent contractors, self-employed, sole proprietors and other workers who are ordinarily ineligible for unemployment benefits. You can contact your state’s unemployment insurance office to learn more about the availability of these benefits where you work.
You cannot apply for FPUC, it is a supplement to your regular unemployment. If you are currently receiving unemployment benefits and receive at least $1 in a regular payment each week, you should receive the additional $600 if eligible. The payment will be automatically updated once your state's system is modified. It is considered taxable income, but it is not deducted from your max benefit amount.Under the UIPL 15-20 guidance "child support obligations must be deducted from FPUC payments in the same manner and to the same extent as these obligations are deducted from regular UC."
Unemployment Benefits amounts are determined by each state, typically using previous income amounts as guidance.
Each state sets its own unemployment insurance benefits eligibility guidelines, but you usually qualify if you:
Eligibility for the new benefits outlined by the CARES Act can be found here.
To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online.
In most states, you can't get unemployment insurance if you:
Commit fraud. If you don't report income or a new job, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits—and you might have to repay your benefits or even go to jail for fraud.
Anyone who has exhausted their regular unemployment compensation benefits can get an extra 13 weeks of benefits through the PEUC program. To receive PEUC, you must be actively engaged in looking for work. Individual states will offer guidance on how to extend benefits through this program. In addition to the weekly benefit amount you can receive under PEUC, you will also be eligible for $600 per week under the FPUC program.
For additional CARES Benefits - do nothing except continue to certify weekly. Your benefits will be updated automatically. What you may qualify to receive depends on the state you live or work in - check here to see to find benefits for your state.
Each state determines how long they pay unemployment benefits. Some states provide extended benefits when there’s high unemployment. Extended unemployment insurance benefits last for 13 weeks. You can apply for extended benefits only once you’ve run out of regular benefits. Check with your state; not everyone qualifies.
NOTE: Check with your state’s unemployment insurance program regarding the rules in your state.
Federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law provides states flexibility to pay benefits where:
In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.
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