This Friday, March 27th, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) to address the public health and economic concerns related to COVID-19.
The sweeping legislation will provide significant economic assistance to address the impact of COVID-19. While the CARES Act is over 800 pages long (which you can read in full, here), we've narrowed down some of the economic provisions most relevant for you.
What This Means For You
Direct payments: Americans will receive a one-time direct deposit of up to $1,200, and married couples will receive $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, rely on Social Security benefits, or whose income comes entirely from non-taxable, means-tested benefit programs.
A family of four earning less than $150,000 can expect to receive $3,400.
Use of retirement funds: The bill waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 for coronavirus-related purposes, retroactive to Jan. 1.
Small businesses: The bill provides $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 to provide emergency funds for small businesses to cover immediate operating costs.
Companies with 500 employees or fewer that maintain their payroll during coronavirus can receive up to 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance. If employers maintain payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.
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.
The unemployed: The program's $250 billion extended unemployment insurance program — "unemployment on steroids," as Sen. Chuck Schumer calls it — expands eligibility and offers workers an additional $600 per week for four months, on top of what state programs pay. It also extends UI benefits through Dec. 31 for eligible workers. The deal applies to the self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers.
Hospitals and health care: The deal provides over $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.
Freelance or Independent Contractors: Typically, self-employed people, freelances and contractors can't apply for unemployment. This bill creates a new, temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program representing $600 per week through the end of the year helping people who lose work as a direct result of the public health emergency.
Coronavirus testing: All testing and potential vaccines for COVID-19 will be covered at no cost to patients.
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.
Airlines will receive $50 billion (of the $500 billion) for passenger air carriers, and $8 billion for cargo air carriers.
Payroll taxes: The measure allows individuals to delay the payment of their 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022.
States and local governments will get $150 billion, with $8 billion set aside for tribal governments.
Agriculture: The deal would increase the amount the Agriculture Department can spend on its bailout program from $30 billion to $50 billion.
What This Means for the Housing Market
Despite the ongoing uncertainties our city is facing, demand in the Boston housing market has not been quelled.
While the housing market was already off to a strong start prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, a combination of low interest rates and new technology (virtual tours, video calls, e-signing tools) has driven buyer demand further.
At BostonRealEstate.com, discover:
• Interactive development maps
• Luxury buildings with unit floor plans
• Localized market reports
• Neighborhood information and price indexes
• Greater Boston On Market and Coming Soon listings