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COVID-19 Resources

EN ESPAÑOL

At the end of March, the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) was signed into law. This bill, while not perfect, ensures that relief flows to people and workers first. It makes it clear that any industry receiving relief cannot use the funding for stock buybacks, executive giveaways, or layoffs. As our country moves through this crisis and we get back on our feet, we must continue to prioritize people and families first and build an economy that works for everyone— not just a wealthy few.

To help people navigate the resources that are available to them, you will find information on the following below:

  1. Economic Impact Payments
  2. Expanded unemployment insurance
  3. Aid to small businesses
  4. Paycheck Protection Program
  5. Assistance for homeowners and renters
  6. Student loan debt relief

As state and federal officials work quickly to implement the benefits enacted in the CARES Act, I will provide regular updates and share resources as they become available on my website.

In the meantime, Congress has begun working on a potential fourth relief bill. In my view, this must provide more relief to individuals, especially those who should have benefited more from the CARES Act; boost funding to our state and local governments, especially our smaller and rural localities; address any shortcomings in aid to small business relief; additional support for hospitals, providers, and healthcare workers to ensure they get the supplies they need; provide the U.S Postal Service funding needed so they can continue providing their essential services; and more.

Congress must also pass a true stimulus that creates jobs and rebuilds our crumbling infrastructure. As we move from response to recovery, I will be working on an infrastructure package that repairs the breach left by years of neglect—that rebuilds failing bridges, restores crumbling highways, and puts people to work on projects with jobs that cannot be exported.

Economic Impact Payments

Given that millions of Americans are experiencing serious financial strain due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the CARES Act includes direct Economic Impact Payments to provide individuals across the country with some relief. I am in touch with the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make sure they get these payments out as quickly and efficiently as possible so Oregonians can access this funding as soon as possible.

For the most up to date information, the IRS advises individuals to keep checking its Coronavirus Tax Relief page for information once it is available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for a rebate and how much will I get?
Everyone who has a Social Security number and whose income is not above a certain threshold is eligible for a Everyone who has a Social Security number and whose income is not above a certain threshold is eligible for a rebate payment. This includes Social Security beneficiaries (retirement, disability, survivor) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients.

Individuals making up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) will receive $1,200 ($2,400 for married couples) with an additional $500 payment per child under the age of 17, up to $3400 per family. Rebates are reduced by $5 for every $100 of income to the extent a taxpayer’s income exceeds $150,000 for a joint filer, $112,500 for a head of household filer, and $75,000 for anyone else (including single filers).

When and how will the rebates be distributed?
For the majority of Americans, the IRS will issue payments via direct deposit using information from your 2019 tax return (2018 if you haven’t filed your 2019 return yet) or 2019 Social Security statement. Starting the week of April 13, the IRS started issuing these automatic payments to more than 80 million Americans. Following these direct deposit payments, the IRS will start issuing checks which will be mailed. These checks will start at the end of April or the beginning of May and will be issued starting with those with lower adjusted gross incomes.

The IRS does not have my bank account information. How will I get my money?
If the IRS does not have your bank account information, the IRS has created the free Get My Payment web tool that allows taxpayers who filed a 2019 or 2018 tax return but did not provide their banking information to submit their direct deposit information online. Once submitted, payments will be deposited directly into their bank accounts instead of waiting for a check to arrive in the mail, which could, unfortunately, take weeks. Individuals will also be able to track the status of their payment.

For taxpayers who want to track the status of their payment, they will need to enter basic information in the “Get My Payment” app:

  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Mailing Address

Taxpayers who want to add their bank account information to speed delivery of their payment will also need to provide the following additional information:

  • Their Adjusted Gross Income from their most recent tax return submitted, either 2019 or 2018
  • The refund or amount owed from their latest filed tax return
  • Bank account type, account and routing numbers

The “Get My Payment” tool cannot update bank account information after an Economic Impact Payment has been scheduled for delivery so it’s important for you to add your bank account information as soon as possible if you’d like it directly deposited into your account.

Do the rebates need to be repaid? Are they taxable? Will they affect my eligibility for means-tested programs?
No, rebates do not need to be repaid, no, they are not taxable, and, no, the rebate is not counted towards eligibility for federal programs.

Are non-filers eligible for rebates?
Yes. There is no earned income requirement to be eligible for a rebate, but people who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. The IRS has also created a free tool to give those who do not usually file, including those with too little income, a simple and secure way to provide the IRS with basic information so they can receive their Economic Impact Payments as soon as possible.

For more information, including who should use the tool and how to use it, users can access the IRS.gov/coronavirus Users should look for “Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here” to take them directly to the tool.

I’m a college student. Will I receive a check?
If you are claimed as a dependent on another tax return, you’re ineligible. But if you’ve been working and filing taxes independently in recent years, you may qualify. I am working to ensure any future relief packages use a more inclusive definition to ensure students up to age 24 can benefit from these payments.

Will the IRS ever email me asking for my financial information?
No. Multiple federal agencies have also issued warnings to taxpayers cautioning them to be aware of potential scams related to Economic Impact Payments. The IRS will not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.

Scams can come in the form of calls, emails, text messages, websites, and social media attempts. Red flags to look for include requests for money or personal taxpayer information. Some common red flags to look for include:

  • Emphasizing the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” Those are incorrect. The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Asking the taxpayer to sign over their Economic Impact Payment check to them
  • Asking by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.

Unemployment Insurance

A record number of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in recent weeks. As our economy continues to deal with the economic repercussions of the battle against COVID-19, jobless claims will continue to climb. That’s why it’s so important that the CARES Act included significant funding to make critical reforms to and expand the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program in order to help the millions of Americans who are suddenly and unexpectedly out of work.

Unemployment Insurance is administered by the states. Your state Employment Department provides unemployment insurance benefits to workers who are out of work.

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is managed by the state’s employment office. The Oregon Employment Department (OED) has built this website resource with links to file a claim, Unemployment Insurance 101s, Q&As, and more. Individuals with questions or concerns about accessing benefits should contact the Oregon Employment Department. You can also email OED at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-877-345-3485. You may also wish to contact your state representatives with questions or concerns.

I’ve heard from a lot of Oregonians concerned that OED hasn’t processed their applications and hasn’t answered their email questions. I am working closely with OED and the Governor’s office to ensure they are doing everything possible to expedite claims processing. Federally, I’m working hard to ensure they have the funding and guidance they need from the Department of Labor to implement all necessary changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for unemployment insurance if I am self-employed, an independent contractor, or a “gig economy” worker?
Yes. The CARES Act permits states to expand eligibility to provide Unemployment Insurance benefits to workers who are not normally eligible, so long as their unemployment is connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. Expanded eligibility provides benefits to self-employed individuals, independent contractors, “gig economy” workers, and individuals who were unable to start a new job or contract due to the pandemic.

The Oregon Employment Department is working to expand these benefits and anticipates delivering benefits in the coming weeks.

How much will my Unemployment Insurance benefits be?
The amount of money you can expect to receive will vary for each individual. The federal government, however, is providing a temporary (available through July 31, 2020) Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) of $600 a week for any worker eligible for state or federal UI benefits, meaning every individual will receive at least $600 provided they are eligible for state or federal UI benefits and their unemployment is related to COVID-19. The benefit would be paid in addition to and at the same time as regular state benefits.

Do I have to look for other work if my employer temporarily closes because of the coronavirus?
If your employer expects to re-open in the future, you do not actively have to look for another job to receive benefits. To continue to get UI benefits, you must be able to work, stay in contact with your employer, and be available to work when your employer calls you back to work. If you fall under this circumstance, please make sure you indicate you are looking for when filing for benefits.

If you are not in contact with your employer, you are currently considered to be actively seeking work if you are doing what you can to be prepared to return to new work or find new employment.

What if I haven’t been laid off, but my hours have been cut?
The CARES Act makes a substantial federal investment in supporting Short-Time Compensation (STC), which allows employers to make an agreement with the state to reduce hours, instead of laying people off, and then have workers receive partial UC benefits for their lost hours.

Your employer must apply for the program by sending in a written plan to the Oregon Employment Department. Your employer must state that your work hours and wages will be cut by at least 20%, but no more than 40% per week, and that your normal work week is 40 hours or less.

I am staying home by order of a medical professional or at the direction of the government. Will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?
Generally, yes, you would be considered available for work. If you have turned down work with a new employer, that could affect your benefit eligibility.

My unemployment benefits are about to expire. Are benefit extensions available?
The CARES Act empowered states to provide an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to workers who need it beyond what is provided for in state and federal law. This equates up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits in total. Oregon Employment Department is working to implement this expansion and deliver benefits.

Will I be eligible for unemployment benefits if my employer remains open, but I don’t want to come to work because of the risk of exposure to the coronavirus?

You may be eligible for benefits. You can file a claim, and the Oregon Employment Department will gather information from you and your employer to see if benefits would apply.

Small Businesses and Employers

The programs and initiatives in the CARES Act are intended to assist small business owners with whatever immediate needs they have to ensure they can keep paying employees and keep their businesses from permanently closing.

Paycheck Protection Program

The PPP, which is available to eligible businesses through June 30, 2020, provides eight weeks of cash-flow assistance. Eligible small businesses include:

  • Any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.
  • Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s industry size standards; and.
  • Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible at the store and location level if the store employs less than 500 workers. This means each store location could be eligible.

Under the terms and conditions of the PPP, loans can be fully forgiven if funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.

I know many business and nonprofit leaders are concerned that funding for the PPP has run out before they even received funds. Congress is engaged in discussions about bolstering PPP funding, and I am committed to ensuring that the program has the funding it needs. Its success is critical. If your business has not yet received funding through the PPP program but has applied, you should contact your bank to learn where your application is in the process.

I have also heard from dozens of frustrated small businesses, nonprofits, and lenders in the district about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. The PPP and EIDL programs were designed to provide immediate relief for small businesses, but the rollout has led to a number of problems, and many business owners and nonprofits are not getting the help they desperately need.

I am working with my colleagues in Congress to push the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Treasury for a more comprehensive and adequate response to this crisis.

Oregon Small Business Development Center Network Many businesses have told me that their first call was to their local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the SBA, the Oregon Business Development Department, and other private and public partners, the Oregon SBDC Network provides guidance, training, online courses, and resources for businesses throughout our state, with 19 centers across Oregon.

In the midst of this crisis, Oregon SBDCs are working in close coordination to share and leverage resources across their network. They can help businesses understand cash flow and budgets to help preserve businesses for the duration of shelter-in-place restrictions and also help those business owners who have accessed the PPP with ensuring that funds are used appropriately so that businesses remain eligible for loan forgiveness. They have assisted roughly 1,000 clients in the past two weeks, focusing on helping small businesses survive by offering:

  • One-on-one virtual advising for any small business in Oregon
  • Online classes and webinars to help businesses with current issues (offered regionally)
  • Regional Capital Access Team experts to help businesses prepare for financing requests

Their bizcenter.org website has a section specifically devoted to COVID-19 resources and is updated on a regular basis. To access SBDC services, find your local center at bizcenter.org.

Housing Assistance

The CARES Act includes modest relief for homeowners and renters in federally-backed housing. The bill institutes a 60-day moratorium on foreclosures for any homeowner with a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Agriculture (USDA), 184/184A mortgage, or a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Those experiencing financial hardship are eligible for up to 6 months’ foreberance on their mortgage payment, with another 6 month extension possible if hardship continues.

Renters who have trouble paying rent also have protections if they live in a property that has a federal subsidy or federally-backed loan. Owners of these properties are barred from filing evictions or from charging fees for nonpayment of rent for 120 days. For those who receive housing subsidies such as public housing or Section 8, if your income has fallen, you should recertify your income with your public housing agency (PHA).

If you are still able to make monthly payments, it is in your best interest to continue doing so. You will have to pay missed mortgage or rental payments after the relief period ends.

Still have additional questions?

Visit the Housing and Urban Development website regarding coronavirus and how the federal government is seeking to provide relief to those in federally-assisted housing.

Student Loan Relief

The CARES Act provides multiple benefits for your student loans in order to help borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes:

  • Deferring payment of your federal student loans during the public health crisis;
  • Waiving the accrual of interest on your federal student loans; and
  • Halting the garnishing of wages, Social Security benefits, and tax refunds for student loan debt collection.

All loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) are eligible for these benefits through September 30, 2020. That includes Direct Loans, as well as Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans held by ED. The Department of Education will remind borrowers in August that payment will resume at September’s end.

Please note that some FFEL Program loans are owned by commercial lenders, and some Perkins Loans are held by the institution you attended. These loans are not eligible for this benefit at this time.

If you are pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), you may already know that you can’t make a qualifying payment for PSLF while your federal student loans are in forbearance. However, the CARES Act makes sure that any federal student loan payments that you skip between now and September 30, 2020, will still count toward the required 120 qualifying payments.

If you can afford to make your loan payments during the COVID-19 national emergency, you may want to continue to do so to pay off as much of your loan as possible while there is a 0 percent interest rate.

I still have additional questions.
Visit the Federal Student Aid website regarding coronavirus and forbearance info for students, borrowers, and parents.

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