News from Washington suggests that the Administration and both Houses of Congress have agreed upon an unprecedented $2 Trillion stimulus package, designed both to assist individuals and families dealing with the COVID-19 emergency, and to provide much-needed economic assistance to struggling businesses throughout the country.
While full details of the aid package have yet to be released, it appears that it includes at least the following components:
- Economic relief for individuals and families. The bill provides direct payments to American families of $1200 per individual making $75,000 or less, and $2400 for couples earning $150,000 or less, with an additional $500 per family for each dependent aged 17 or younger. The earnings limitations are expected to rely upon 2018 tax return data. If the final bill tracks the earlier versions, the payments would be less for individuals with incomes from $75,000 to $99,000 and couples with incomes from $150,000 to $199,000. There will be no payments for those with greater incomes.
- Almost a trillion dollars for business loans and cash relief, both for small businesses and for selected hard-hit sectors of the economy, such as restaurants and airlines.
- Unemployment relief – The bill is expected to provide new unemployment funding for up to four months. It is expected to include both traditional employees and include sole proprietorships and 1099 independent contractors (which have typically been ineligible for unemployment benefits, as owners of companies).
- Small Business Employment Assistance – we are waiting to review final legislative language to determine whether it includes the language from some earlier versions, which would make small businesses (100 employees or less) eligible for loans which would be wholly or partially forgiven if they keep all of their employees on the payroll through June 30, 2020.
- Additionally, the legislation is expected to direct approximately $130 billion to health care facilities to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and another $150 billion to state and local governments to keep them functioning, and to reimburse them for costs associated with pandemic response.
Earp Cohn will provide further details as they become available. We are continuing to assist clients throughout this emergency and stand prepared to counsel you in dealing with these emergency aid programs, to help keep your business up and running. Please contact our attorneys if you need our legal advice or have any questions.
We will revise and supplement this update once we have the final legislation in hand.