COVID-19 Relief Programs

Current shelter-in-place policies are leaving a toll on the U.S. economy, and Congress is responding by passing several stimulus packages. Below you'll find key provisions from these bills designed to support the individual, along with steps you can take to access this support. 

You can also visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's COVID-19 resource page for more information on stimulus programs to help individuals, including mortgage relief. 

 

Direct payments to individuals and households

The CARES Act provides direct payments (“economic impact payments”) to tax filing individuals and families. The amount received will vary and will be based on 2019 or 2018 tax filings.  Remember Federal tax returns are due on July 15, 2020.  The direct payments are set at:

  • $1,200 for individuals making $75,000 or less
  • $2,400 for those that file a joint return (families, couples, two people filing together their tax-return) making $150,000 or less
  • $500 for each qualifying child for 2020 
  • The amount of payment is gradually reduced based on individual earnings of between $75,000 and $99,000, or for those filing joint returns, between $150,000 and $198,000.  
  • Individuals making more than $99,000 or those filing jointly making more than $198,000 will not receive the economic impact payments

How to Access: The Treasury Department expects to begin making payments starting April 6th via direct deposit. It is unclear how those who do not file taxes will receive these direct payments. See www.irs.gov/coronavirus for more information on economic impact payments. 

Expanded Family Medical Leave (FMLA) and Sick Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expands FMLA to allow an employee to take leave related to COVID-19 if the employee is unable to work, including unable to telework.  The Act extended leave to those caring for an individual with COVID-19, or where a caregiver’s child’s school or place of care is closed. It also expands sick leave for those that cannot work because they are sick with the coronavirus. 

How to Access: Employers with fewer than 500 employees are responsible for complying with the expanded FMLA and sick leave requirements. Additional information explaining your rights to these benefits as an employee can be found at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave.

Expanded Unemployment

The CARES Act expands the duration, benefits, and eligibility of unemployment insurance. Specifically, the CARES Act:

  • Extends the number of weeks a person can be on unemployment by 13 weeks.  For example, if your state provides 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, the CARES Act extends that benefit for an additional 13 weeks, for a total of 39 weeks.  
  • Temporarily adds $600 per week to the state benefit amount. 
  • Expands unemployment eligibility to self-employed, gig workers, and independent contractors, three types of worker not typically covered by unemployment benefits. 
  • Encourages states to provide short-time compensation for individuals that have not lost their jobs but got their hours cut. 

How to Access: Individuals should apply for unemployment in the state where they were working to receive unemployment benefits. States are responsible for implementing the new unemployment duration (13 weeks) and providing the additional $600 to the claimant at the same time as the regular state benefit check.  Please note the checks may be sent separately. More information on filing for unemployment can be found on the Department of Labor’s website.

Not all states offer short-time compensations programs, and the states that do not are encouraged to establish such a program. The states that currently have a short-time compensation program are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

Federal Student Loan Deferment

The CARES Act suspends federal student loan payments and interest through September 30, 2020. 

How to Access: Borrowers do not need to take any action as the suspension will be done automatically by the federal student loan servicer. The suspension does not apply to privately held loans or Federal Family Education Loans. For more details visit The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

 

If you have additional questions about financial support and insurance, visit: https://site.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/living-with-crohns-colitis/managing-the-cost-of-ibd/ or contact the Foundations IBD Help Center for additional assistance by phone, email or online chat.

All information is reviewed by the Foundation's National Scientific Advisory Committee

Last updated 4/13/20