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Coronavirus Relief Guide, Part 1: A Timeline of 2020-2021 Federal Stimulus Actions

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Since March 2020, we’ve seen a flurry of government action to combat fiscal challenges wrought by the pandemic. The U.S. Federal Government has crafted trillions of dollars in relief spending bills, mandates, and executive orders. In addition, the Federal Reserve has implemented numerous policies to complement spending with far-reaching changes to the central bank’s monetary policy.

Here’s a chronological summary of federal Coronavirus relief spending we’ve seen so far:

March 6, 2020

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (Phase One) provided $8.3 billion to fund Coronavirus vaccine research and state-led and overseas efforts to fight the spread of the virus.

March 13, 2020

State of emergency declared, making $50 billion in emergency aid available for states, cities, and territories. 

March 18, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Phase Two) set aside $3.4 billion to fund relief for families on the free school lunch program, tax credits for small employer-paid (government-mandated) sick leave covering COVID-19, $1 billion for state unemployment insurance in the form of grants and loans, and free COVID-19 testing efforts nationwide.

Foreclosure and eviction moratoriums issued by FHA and FHFA for federally backed or insured mortgages. The FHFA ban on evictions ends March 31. The FHA ban runs through June 30.

March 20, 2020

Student loan payments and interest accrual suspended for federally backed loans, eventually extended through Sept. 30, 2021.

March 27, 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or Phase Three) was the single largest relief package in U.S. history. Its $2.3 trillion price tag included:

  • Direct cash payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child.
  • Expanded PPP applicability to furloughed and contract workers through the end of 2020.
  • Additional unemployment benefits of $600 per week through July 2020.
  • Waived early withdrawal penalties for 401(k)s (up to $100,000) until Dec. 31, 2020.
  • $500 billion in business loans.
  • $367 billion for small business via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expanded Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.
  • More than $130 billion for medical facilites and providers.
  • $150 billion for state and local government operational grants.
  • Nearly $60 billion for education spending.

April 19, 2020

Businesses granted 90-day extension to pay tariffs if they suspended operations during March and April and could prove significant financial hardship. 

April 24, 2020

Phase 3.5 stimulus totaled $484 billion, mostly to replenish the PPP and the EIDL, with additional funding for hospitals and COVID-19 testing.

June 5, 2020

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 modified the PPP, extending the timeline businesses had to spend the money to 24 weeks and easing requirements for loan forgiveness, payback deferment, and maturation timelines. PPP recipients were also given more payroll tax and restoration flexibility.

Aug. 10, 2020

President Trump signed four executive actions:

  • Creating the Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWA), a $400-per-week payment to those currently receiving more than $100 a week in unemployment benefits.
  • Extending the moratorium on payments and interest accrual on student loans held by the government until the end of 2020.
  • Directing HUD and FHFA to explore ways to assist renters and homeowners with expanded foreclosure or eviction prevention.
  • Deferring payroll taxes for Americans earning less than $100,000 per year for the period from Sept. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020, now payable in 2021.

Sept. 1, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an eviction moratorium through Dec. 31, 2020 for those who met certain income and hardship requirements, providing no compensation to landlords for delayed rent payments and no limits for landlord-assessed penalties on past rents due in 2021.

Dec. 21, 2020

Congress passed a $900 billion stimulus and relief bill including:

  • Direct payments (to those making as much as $75,000 annually) of $600 per person and for dependents 16 and younger.
  • $300 per week additional for those on unemployment, and extending the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for self-employed and contract workers and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) for people whose eligibility for unemployment had been exhausted.
  • Additional PPP forgivable loan funds.
  • Extending the CDC eviction moratorium through the end of January 2021.
  • Bailing out the struggling transportation industry.
  • Adding to public health funds and medical research.
  • Funding emergency relief measures for K-12 and higher education.
  • Providing funds for rent, agriculture, and food assistance programs.

March 11, 2021

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 totaled $1.9 trillion for stimulus and relief programs including:

  • Direct cash payments of as much as $1,400 per person and dependent, on a sliding scale for those making up to $100,000 per year.
  • Increasing the maximum annual Child Tax Credit (for households making less than $112,500 individual and $150,000 couples) from $2,000 a child to $3,000 per child between the ages of 6 and 17, and $3,600 for each child under the age of 6.
  • Extending the $300 a week in expanded unemployment insurance lasting through Sept. 6. It also makes $10,200 in unemployment benefits tax free for households with incomes under $150,000 a year.
  • $169 billion in funding for K-12 schools and higher education and $40 billion for childcare.
  • $55.5 billion for CDC COVID-19 efforts.
  • $30 billion for public transit and $15 billion for airline industry workers.
  • $25 billion in emergency rental assistance.
  • $25 billion for SBA grants for restaurants and bars.
  • $7.25 billion expanded PPP funding which includes more nonprofits.
  • A provision assigning student loan forgiveness between Dec. 31, 2020, and Jan. 1, 2026, as non-taxable income.

How COVID-19 Stimulus Impacts You

The immediate and lasting effects of all these federal government actions on the larger economy are still unknown. What BSquared is currently working through with our clients is the effect on small businesses and individual tax burdens, filing, and planning ahead for fiscal year 2021-2022. That’s dependent on a lot of factors that are specific to your situation, so contact us today to learn how we can help you wade through these changes and make smart financial choices in the coming months.