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Coronavirus Relief FAQs

Recovery Rebates

You may also hear these called “stimulus checks” in the press or from other people.

Who is eligible for a recovery rebate?

U.S. residents making under $75,000 ($112,500 for head of household and $150,000 married), are eligible for the full recovery rebate. The recovery rebate is $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for a couple. Additionally, families are eligible for an additional $500 per child. A typical Oklahoma family of four is eligible for a $3,400 recovery rebate.

Is anyone not eligible?

Adults who are claimed as dependents of another taxpayer or individuals without a work-eligible Social Security Number are not eligible.

What about taxpayers with income above the phase out threshold? Are they eligible to receive any rebate?

The rebate is phased out by income. The amount is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, $146,500 for head of household filers with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.

Here’s how to calculate how much your family might receive. Start with your joint income, then add $500 per child. That’s the starting rebate amount. The rebate amount is then reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer’s income exceeds the initial phase-out threshold ($150,000 for a couple).

Therefore, for a family of two adults and two children, the amount is not completely phased out until the joint income exceeds $218,000.

What if my income was above the threshold in 2019, but I’ve lost my job due to the coronavirus? Can I still get a rebate check?

If your income in 2019 was in the phase-out range you would still receive a partial rebate based on your 2019 tax return. However, the rebate is actually an advance on a tax credit that you may claim on your 2020 tax return. Therefore, if your 2020 income is below the threshold, any additional credit you are eligible for will be refunded or reduce your tax liability when you file your 2020 return next year.

Do I have to pay federal taxes on the rebate check?

No, the recovery rebate is not considered income. Therefore, you do not have to pay taxes on it.

Do I have to pay back any amount if the rebate based on my 2019 return is larger than what it would be if based on my 2020 tax year return?

No, if the amount you qualify based on 2020 income is less than what you qualify for based on your 2019 tax return, it does not have to be paid back.

Who qualifies as a child for purposes of the rebate?

In general, a child is any dependent of a taxpayer under the age of 17. Any child who is a qualifying child for the purposes of the Child Tax Credit is also a qualifying child for the purposes of the recovery rebate.

Do dependents, other than children, qualify a taxpayer for an additional $500 per dependent?

No, the additional $500 per child is limited to children under 17.

Are individuals with little to no income or those on means-tested federal benefits, such as SSI, eligible for a recovery rebate?

Yes, there is no minimum income requirement. Even individuals with $0 of income are eligible for a rebate so long as they are not the dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible SSN.

Are seniors whose only income is from Social Security or a veteran whose only income is a veterans’ disability payment eligible?

Yes, as long as they are not the dependent of another taxpayer.

If seniors receive an SSA-1099 or a Form RRB-1099, they do not need to take any other action. However, they are encouraged to file their 2019 tax return to ensure they receive their recovery rebate as quickly as possible.

Are college students eligible for a recovery rebate?

Only if they are not considered a dependent of their parents. Generally, a full-time college student under the age of 24 is considered a dependent if their parent(s) provide more than half of their support.

I am eligible for a rebate. What do I have to do to receive it?

For the vast majority of Americans, no action on their part will be required to receive a rebate check since the IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed or their 2018 return if they haven’t filed their 2019 return yet.

Individuals who may not file taxes because they don’t owe federal income taxes should still file a 2019 tax return in order to receive the rebate check.

How soon can I expect to get a check?

After the legislation is enacted, the IRS will move quickly to determine rebates and distribute them to families. Once established, their goal is to send electronic deposits in as quickly as three weeks. Paper checks will take longer because the IRS is limited in how many checks may be mailed each day.

What should I do if I did not file a tax return for 2019 or 2018?

The best way to ensure you receive a recovery rebate is to file a 2019 tax return if you have not already done so. This could be accomplished for free online from home using the IRS Free file program.

If I have a past due debt to a federal or state agency, or owe back taxes, will my rebate be reduced?

No. The only offset that will be enforced applies to those who have past due child support payments that the states have reported to the Treasury Department.

Filing Taxes

When do I have to file my 2019 taxes?

The IRS has extended the federal income tax filing season. Returns and payments are now due July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest, regardless of the amount owed.

This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief.

Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

NOTE: State filing and payment deadlines may not be affected by this change to the Federal deadline. The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for details about due dates. More information is available at TaxAdmin.org.

Filing Unemployment

If I lose my job, can I file for unemployment?

This legislation creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020, to provide unemployment benefits to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.

Furthermore, an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months if they lost their job due to the coronavirus.

Finally, this legislation also provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020, to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment benefits are no longer available.

For additional information related to filing for unemployment or unemployment benefits, more information is available on the website of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission: https://www.ok.gov/oesc/.

Health Care

Will my insurance cover all of these new tests and treatments for COVID-19 since it is a new virus?

Yes. Our legislation makes sure that everyone can access free testing for COVID-19 and guarantees that all treatments, including new treatments that have not yet been developed are covered by all insurance plans.

Additionally, if you have a high deductible plan that normally requires you to meet your deductible before being eligible for tele-health services, this legislation waives that requirement.

This bill also allows patients to use funds in HSAs and Flexible Spending Accounts for the purchase of over-the-counter medical products, including those needed in quarantine and social distancing, without a prescription from a physician.

I am uninsured and worried that I will have to pay high costs for COVID-19 treatment if I get sick.

If you are uninsured or uninsured, you do not need to worry. This bill ensures that uninsured individuals can receive a COVID-19 test and related treatment.

I am a senior citizen with Medicare Part D coverage, are there any Part D benefits that are expanded during this time?

For seniors, Medicare Part D plans will provide up to a 90-day supply of a prescription medication if requested during the COVID-19 emergency period.

Students and Teachers

If I am a student that has been impacted by COVID-19, are there any provisions that will help me seek relief?

For students whose school year has been disrupted as a result of COVID-19, this term will be excluded from the term counting negatively toward your lifetime subsidized loan eligibility, or negatively toward Pell Grant eligibility. This bill also ensures that a student is not required to return Pell grants or federal student loans to the Secretary of Education. During this covered period, the student’s grades do not affect a student’s federal academic requirements to continue to receive Pell Grants or student loans.

I currently have student loans, but I am not receiving any income during this time. Is there a way for me to defer my loan payments?

Yes, for federal loans, the bill directs the Secretary of Education to defer student loan payments, principal and interest for six months without penalty. For additional resources from the Department of Education, please click here.

I am doing a work-study program, does this bill include anything to support these programs?

Yes, the legislation allows institutions to issue work-study payments to students who are unable to work due to work-place closures as a lump sum or in payments similar to paychecks.

I am a teacher that cannot finish my year of teaching because of COVID-19, is there any flexibility or benefits that this bill will provide me with?

For teachers who could not finish their year of teaching service as a result of COVID-19, their partial year of service shall be counted as a full year of service toward TEACH grant obligations or Teacher Loan Forgiveness. Additionally, it waives the requirement that teachers must serve consecutive years of teaching service for Teacher Loan Forgiveness eligibility, if a teacher’s service is not consecutive as a result of COVID-19.

Small Businesses

I am a small business that would like to apply for a loan that was established under a program in this bill. What are the loan programs available to me?

The CARES Act provides $377 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are two programs you can apply for assistance under:

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (also known as the 7(a) Loan Program or PPP) provides $350 billion to support loans for small businesses and other entities. The size of the loans will equal up to 250 percent of an employers average monthly payroll. The maximum loan amount is $10 million through the 7(a) program or a SBA Express loan to $1 million. Express loans provide borrowers with revolving lines of credit for working capital purposes.
  • This program allows for 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If the employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the loan used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to recover quickly from this crisis. This proposal would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto the payroll. The bill requires the SBA Administrator to set a cap on how much a bank can earn to process loan applications and prioritize underserved borrowers, including those in rural communities, minorities, women and veterans.
  • Emergency Economic Injury Grants:The stimulus includes $10 billion in funding for a provision to provide an advance of $10,000 as a grant to small businesses and nonprofits that apply for an SBA economic injury disaster loan (EIDL) within three days of applying for the loan. EIDLs are loans of up to $2 million that carry interest rates up to 3.75 percent for companies and up to 2.75 percent for nonprofits, as well as principal and interest deferment for up to 4 years. The loans may be used to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses. Only the initial $10,000 grant does not have to be paid back, the rest is subject to the standard terms.

Who is eligible to participate in these loan programs?

All businesses who meet the Small Business Administration’s designation as a small business are eligible; additionally, any company with fewer than 500 employees is also eligible.

I am a small business owner that currently has loans with the Small Business Administration and would like some relief on existing loans. Is there anything in this bill that will help with that?

The stimulus includes $17 billion in funding to provide immediate relief to small businesses with existing SBA 7(a), 504 or microloans. Under this provision, SBA will cover all loan payments for existing SBA borrowers, including principal, interest and fees for six months. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out an SBA loan within six months after the President signs the bill.

If I have an existing loan, can I defer my loan payments and still be eligible for relief under the Payment Protection Program loan forgiveness or the Emergency Economic Injury Grants program?

Yes, while existing SBA borrowers receive six months debt relief, they may also apply for a PPP loan and receive the payroll loan forgiveness. However, the six months of SBA payment relief may not be applied to payments on PPP loans.

If I receive a EIDL, can I also apply for and receive a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program?

A business that receives an EIDL between January 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020, as a result of a COVID-19 disaster declaration is eligible to apply for a PPP loan or the business may refinance their EIDL into a PPP loan. For a business that receives both an EIDL and a Paycheck Protection loan, the use of the loan must go for different things.

For example, a business can receive an EIDL for working capital and a PPP loan for payroll assistance. In either case, the emergency EIDL grant award of up to $10,000 would be subtracted from the amount forgiven in the payroll protection plan.

What can I use the funds from the Emergency Economic Injury Grants for?

The funds for the EIDL grant (up to $10,000 of the loan) may be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. Eligible grant recipients must have been in operation on January 31, 2020. The grant is available to small businesses, private nonprofits, sole proprietors and independent contractors, tribal businesses, as well as cooperatives and employee-owned businesses.

What can I use the funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for?

Funds from PPP loans can be used for all aspects of your business. However, up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including salary, wages and payment of cash tips (up to an annual rate of pay of $100,000); employee group health care benefits, including insurance premiums; retirement contributions; and paid leave will be forgiven.

Is there anyway for me to calculate how much I will need to apply for?

The maximum loan amount intended for payroll and operating costs for small businesses is the monthly payroll times 2.5, with a maximum cap of $10 million.

Who is eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program?

Under the PPP, nonprofits and churches designated as 501(c)(3) may participate in the Paycheck Protection Program. Physician practices are eligible, regardless of how they are structured, but 501(c)(6)s are NOT eligible.

Can a small business hire back employees they already laid off and still have their loans forgiven?

Yes, in the Paycheck Protection Program, there is flexibility to allow businesses to rehire employees they have laid off and still qualify for payroll loan forgiveness. In order to be eligible for forgiveness under these circumstances, a business must simply prove to a lender that they were in business before February 15, 2020, and had these employees on payroll.

What about those new payroll tax credits for small and midsize businesses offering paid leave benefits to their employees?

Small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to promptly and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing coronavirus-related leave to their employees.

The IRS has additional details available here.

Nonprofits

Do nonprofits qualify as a small business and can they take advantage of the provisions for small businesses under this legislation?

Only those nonprofits that are 501(c)3 organizations are eligible for the small business assistance provided in this legislation.

Are nonprofits, churches, Chambers of Commerce and physician practices eligible?

Nonprofits and churches designated as 501(c)(3) may participate in the Paycheck Protection loan program. Physician practices are eligible, but unfortunately, most trade associations (therefore most Chambers) are organized at 501(c)(6)s and are not eligible to participate.

Financial Institutions

I am a lender that wants to provide additional relief to my Small Business customers, is there anything in this bill that will allow me to do that?

Yes, this bill encourages banks to provide further relief to small business borrowers by allowing them to extend the duration of existing loans beyond existing limits; and enables small business lenders to assist more new and existing borrowers by providing a temporary extension on certain reporting requirements.

I am a community bank or other financial institution interested in utilizing the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) lending programs. How do I get started?

The SBA has three lending programs: 7(a), CDC/504, and Microloan. Each program has its own lending practices and eligibility requirements for lenders. To obtain more information about these programs and eligibility, click here. To contact a lender relations specialist at your local SBA district office to start the application process, please click here.

I am a lender that wants to participate in the 7(a) SBA Lending Program, what forms do I need for that?

There are only two forms for all 7(a) lending programs. For additional information on lending in the 7(a) program click here.

Rural Communities

I’m interested in applying for a loan through the Rural Business Cooperative Service. Do I qualify?

The legislation makes $1 billion available for the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee program, which provides much-needed financing to rural business owners that might not be able to qualify for a loan on their own. Eligible businesses may apply for this in addition to the other SBA programs.

This program offers loan guarantees to for-profit businesses, nonprofits cooperatives, Federally-recognized Tribes, and public bodies if they live in an eligible area. Interested applicants can learn more about the loan process here and inquire about the loan through their lender.

Lenders send applications and questions to the USDA state office. Applicants can check if their address qualifies for a loan here.

I would like to help my community or reservation receive broadband access. How can I do that?

The CARES Act provides $100 million to cover grants and loans for the costs of construction, improvement or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.

The program offers 100 percent grants, 50 percent loan / 50 percent grants, or 100 percent loans. To learn more about the program, potential applicants can check here. To determine if you live in an eligible service area, click here and apply by March 31, 2020.

Additionally, this bill provides additional money for grants specifically for distance learning and telemedicine for rural communities through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program. For more information on the program and how to apply, click here. The Oklahoma representative for this program is Robert Machado. He can be reached via email: Robert.Machado@usda.gov.

Food Security Programs

I’m having trouble juggling all of my expenses and am afraid that I will not be able to buy enough food in the coming month. Do I qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?

While SNAP benefits are handled at the state level, the bill provides additional funding for SNAP to cover waiver authorities granted in previous legislation and anticipated increases in participation as a result of coronavirus. Eligibility for SNAP benefits is based on need. This means the amount of food benefits is based on the number of people in the household and the amount of income available to the households.

To determine if you are eligible for SNAP benefits, click here for the Oklahoma SNAP program eligibility page.

My child was enrolled in the Child Nutrition Program at their school. Now that schools are no longer meeting in person, is the Child Nutrition Program still running?

Yes, the CARES Act expanded the Child Nutrition Program by $8.8 billion and granted flexibility for schools and other providers to continue to provide benefits when schools are not meeting.

For specific information regarding the program at your child’s school, contact the school or school board directly.

My child was not enrolled in the Child Nutrition Program before this crisis but I would like to register them now. Is that an option?

Yes, you can still enroll your child in the Child Nutrition Program. Please contact your child’s school or school district to receive the proper forms and process to enroll in the program.

My community food bank is running low on food. Is there a program that can help us restock the shelves and provide food to our neighbors?

The CARES Act gave $100 million to the Emergency Food Assistance Program. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program that provides eligible Americans with emergency food assistance at no cost.

States provide the food to local agencies that they have selected, usually food banks, which in turn distribute the food to soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public. For more information, visit the Emergency Food Assistance Program website or contact the Oklahoma TEFAP administrator, Gina Kazerooni at 405-521-6472 or gina.kazerooni@okdhs.org.