Answering Every Question About Coronavirus Response in North Carolina
Even during these tough times, I want you to know that as a public servant, my staff and I are working around the clock to ensure that our North Carolina communities in our state remain safe, healthy and have the resources they need to navigate the economic and health uncertainty caused by COVID-19.
Last week, the House passed Phase 3 of the coronavirus stimulus legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. The Act provides relief in the form of direct income for American families, support for small businesses, assistance to distressed job creators, direct funding to combat the pandemic, and ensures access to care for all Americans.
In the last three weeks, we have fielded questions and aided thousands of North Carolinians. We want to provide that level of service to every single person we can. Please read the information below and let us know if you have additional questions.
Income for North Carolina Families
The CARES Act offers desperately needed relief to North Carolina families who are struggling to make ends meet due to a sudden lack of income. Under the provisions of the bill, eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will receive direct payment of up to $1200 per individual, $2,400 per couple and $500 per eligible child with reduced rates for higher-income earners above $75,000.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will calculate and automatically send these economic impact payments beginning in the next three weeks, with no action required for the vast majority of people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment. Those with little or no taxable income are encouraged to use the IRS’ Free File Program which can be viewed here: https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free
The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the bank account reflected on your 2019 tax return. If you have not filed your return for 2019, the IRS will use information from your 2018 tax return to calculate the payment. While these economic impact payments will be available throughout the end of the year, I encourage anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as possible to receive this economic relief.
For more information on receiving your economic impact payment, please visit IRS.gov/coronavirus.
The CARES Act also provides hope and a lifeline to the nearly 100,000 North Carolinians who filed for unemployment last week by dedicating $250 billion to give workers more access to unemployment benefits during this public health emergency.
The Act increases unemployment benefits for Americans by $600 per week for up to four months while extending coverage to gig workers and self-employed and non-profit employees. It also makes available 13 additional weeks of unemployment for those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment benefits are no longer available.
To apply for this unemployment relief, please visit the N.C. Department of Commerce's website here.
Small Business Assistance
During a briefing on Tuesday with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump announced new details about the Paycheck Protection Program which was a major element of the CARES Act that was signed into law last week. This new Small Business Administration (SBA) backed loan program comes at a critical time for businesses that are struggling due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Paycheck Protection Program allows businesses and 501(c)(3)s with less than 500 employees to keep their workers employed with a 100% guaranteed loan. For businesses that retain their staff up until June 30, 2020, or rehire before this date, the loan will be forgiven. The loan amount may also be used for group health care benefits, employee salaries, interest on any mortgage obligation, rent, utilities and any other debt obligations occurred before February 15, 2020.
The maximum amount that a business can borrow is the lesser of $10 million or 2.5 times the average monthly payroll based on last year’s payroll. The SBA has authorized lenders to process, close, and service loans without SBA approval, meaning you will have the ability to invest in your business immediately.
Applications for small businesses to receive these funds will be accepted starting Friday, April 3rd. The application and more information can be found here: home.treasury.gov/coronavirus
Further information on how the federal government is supporting small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic can be found at the links below:
- Topline Overview of Small Business Paycheck Protection Program
- Coronavirus.gov Small Business Resources Page
- Treasury Department Website on the CARES Act
- SBA Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
Ensuring Access to Care for All Americans
Throughout our response to the COVID-19 outbreak, one of my top objectives remains ensuring access to care for all Americans by providing our public health officials with all the resources they need to save lives.
The CARES Act increases the Medicare reimbursement rate to assist providers caring for our most vulnerable population. It also increases access to testing by allowing the Strategic National Stockpile to stockpile swabs necessary for test kits.
Prevention and treatment of COVID-19 is critical, and the CARES Acts allows the FDA to quickly approve the use of new medication and treatments, while providing $11 billion to support research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. The CARES Acts also facilitates the use of new and innovative telemedicine technology to protect and contain the spread of COVID-19.
Direct Funding to Combat the Pandemic
The CARES Act provides $340 billion in direct funding to combat the pandemic, including $150 billion for states, cities and localities. This supplemental appropriation supports health care workers and hospitals and provides critical funding for personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other medical supplies for state and federal response efforts.
Additionally, the CARES Act provides much needed support to our local first responders as well as college and university students and directs a total of $19.6 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs for purposes including veteran health care.
The Act also provides a total of $10.5 billion for Department of Defense (DOD) response to the coronavirus, including $3.4 billion for defense health care programs, $1.5 billion to support the deployment of the National Guard, and $1 billion to expand availability of necessary supplies through the Defense Production Act.
The spread of this virus has presented an unprecedented global health and economic crisis for North Carolina and the country. I will continue to work with the Administration to defeat this virus and protect the health and economic security of our communities.
Have a safe and blessed weekend.