President Donald Trump has signed a massive $2.2 trillion economic rescue bill in an effort to offer some financial relief to the nation, which has been shaken by the recent COVID-19 outbreak.
The package – called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act – will offer direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits, and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home. It also steers substantial aid to larger industries as well.
Here’s why it matters most to laundromat owners:
The main benefits to small business include emergency grants and a forgivable loan program for companies with 500 or fewer employees. There also are changes to rules for expenses and deductions meant to make it easier for companies to keep employees on the payroll and to stay open in the near-term.
Emergency grants: The bill provides $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 to provide emergency funds for small businesses to cover immediate operating costs.
Forgivable loans: There is $350 billion allocated for the Small Business Administration to provide loans of up to $10 million per business. Any portion of that loan used to maintain payroll; keep workers on the books; or pay for rent, mortgage and existing debt could be forgiven – provided workers stay employed through the end of June.
Relief for existing loans: There is $17 billion to cover six months of payments for small businesses already using SBA loans.
Other highlights of the CARES Act include:
Direct payments: Americans will receive a one-time direct deposit of up to $1,200, and married couples will get $2,400, plus an additional $500 per child. The payments will be available for incomes up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples. This is true even for those who have no income, as well as those whose income is derived entirely from non-taxable, means-tested benefit programs, such as Social Security.
Use of retirement funds: The bill waives the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 for coronavirus-related purposes, retroactive to January 1.
The unemployed: The program’s $250 billion extended unemployment insurance program expands eligibility and offers workers an additional $600 per week for four months, on top of what state programs pay. It also extends unemployment insurance benefits through December 31 for eligible workers. The deal applies to the self-employed, independent contractors and “gig economy” workers.
Large corporations: $500 billion will be allotted to provide loans, loan guarantees and other investments, overseen by a Treasury Department inspector general. These loans will not exceed five years and cannot be forgiven.
Payroll taxes: The measure allows individuals to delay the payment of their 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022.
States and local governments: States and municipalities will receive $150 billion, with $8 billion set aside for tribal governments.
Hospitals and health care: The deal provides more than $140 billion in appropriations to support the U.S. health system, $100 billion of which will be injected directly into hospitals. The rest will be dedicated to providing personal and protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, increased workforce and training, accelerated Medicare payments, and supporting the CDC, among other health investments.
Coronavirus testing: All testing and potential vaccines for COVID-19 will be covered at no cost to patients.
The 883-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history.