By Judy Sanderson, NENA Director
Director, Vocational Services
Granite State Independent Living
We are all being inundated by news stories, articles, emails, and social media posts on the current COVID-19 situation. This includes information on everything that the government, state and federal, are putting in place to try and mitigate the wide-ranging impacts. NENA wants to provide you with some links to information on a variety of these safety nets so you can review them as you need to and have time to absorb it.
1. Stimulus Check Information
The stimulus checks (or economic impact checks) will start arriving shortly and there is some confusion as to who is eligible and how to make sure you will get what you should get. Click here for a link to the IRS site that provides an explanation.
It is important to note that SSDI recipients do not need to file a tax return. To date, SSI recipients will need to do so although the IRS is still looking at ways to bypass that requirement. Also, those who have eligible children will need to file to receive the additional $500/child without waiting. The link for information and the form is here:
2. Cornell University on the impact of the stimulus check on various benefits.
In general, this document states who is eligible and that it will not impact either SSDI, SSI or TANF benefits. There is also information on SNAP, Medicare/Medicaid, VA Pensions, unemployement and more. Click here to view the form.
3. Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced new action regarding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Q&A from DOL
Wage and Hour Division of DOL posted a recorded webinar on Friday, April 3, 2020, to provide interested parties a more in-depth description and help them learn more about the FFCRA. Click here to watch the webinar.
WHD offers a number of plain-language compliance assistance materials to explain FFCRA’s benefits and requirements. Tools include a Fact Sheet for Employees and a Fact Sheet for Employers, available in both English and Spanish, and an expansive list of Questions and Answers addressing the questions WHD has most frequently received from stakeholders to date. Available guidance also includes two new posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, available in both English and Spanish, that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under this new law, Questions and Answers about posting requirements, and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD’s 30-day non-enforcement policy.
4. Unemployment Insurance
This is something that will vary from state to state. Many of us are facing lay-offs, furloughs, reduction in work hours for our staff and ourselves. Click here to help you find information for your state(s).
5. IRS: Employee Retention Credit for many businesses financially impacted by COVID-19
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.
The credit is available to all employers regardless of size, including tax-exempt organizations. There are only two exceptions: State and local governments and their instrumentalities and small businesses who take small business loans. Click here for more information.
6. Paid Leave
The US Department of Labor has just clarified that parents of adult children who have lost their usual source of care due to COVID-19 may receive Paid Leave to stay home to care for their adult children just as parents of children up to age 18 may stay home to care for their child who has lost their usual source of care due to school or childcare closings or inability of childcare providers to come to the home to care for their child. The US Department of Labor has finally determined that the definition of “son or daughter” for the new program should be consistent with that of the existing Family and Medical Leave Act, which “expressly includes children 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.” Find out more here.
7. The Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. 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. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
Most of us have heard about the problems businesses have had when applying for these loans, but in case you want to look into it, click here for additional information.