Washington, D.C., March 27, 2020.
The CARES Act, signed into law today by President Trump, offers relief to state and local governments, individuals, small and large businesses, hospitals and public health agencies, the federal safety net, and educational institutions affected by the coronavirus crisis. It authorizes direct payments to individuals and companies whose livelihoods and businesses have been affected by the pandemic.
Some of a the provisions of the new law:
- Appropriates $1,200 for every American earning less than $75,000 per year and $500 to the parents of every child.
- Authorizes payments directly to state governments to strengthen their unemployment benefits programs, including an additional 13 weeks of benefits.
- Extends unemployment insurance to those not previously covered, including freelancers and those working in the gig economy.
- Offers loans and tax breaks to companies facing closure, as one in every four Americans has been ordered to shelter at home and go outside for essential needs only.
- Enables employers to provide up to $5,250 in tax-free student loan repayment benefits. An employer could contribute to loan payments and workers would not be required to include that money as income. In addition, all loan and interest payments would be deferred through September 30 without penalty to the borrower for all federally-owned student loans
- Requires all private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccine — once it becomes available — and makes all coronavirus tests free.
- Makes available $100 billion for hospitals responding to the coronavirus.
- Provides $1.32 billion in immediate additional funding for community centers that provide health care services for roughly 28 million people.
- Furnishes $11 billion for diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. CARES also includes $80 million for the Food and Drug Administration to prioritize and expedite approval of new drugs.
- Grants CDC programs and response efforts $4.3 billion.
- Sets aside $20 billion for veterans’ healthcare.
- Reauthorizes a critical telehealth program to extend the reach of virtual doctor appointments.
- Gives $16 billion to the Strategic National Stockpile to increase availability of equipment, including ventilators and masks.
- Boosts hiring for vital health care jobs during the pandemic and speeds the development of a vaccine, treatments, and more rapid diagnostic tools.
- Sets aside $8.8 billion to give schools more flexibility to provide meals for students in need.
- Authorizes $15.5 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. This money will help cover the expected cost of new applications to the program as a result of the coronavirus.
- Makes available additional funds and access to federal nutrition programs for American Indian reservations, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.
- Earmarks $450 million more for food banks and other community food distribution programs.
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