The CARES Act: help for America, help for Kentucky

By MARY BETH SALLEE
Jobe Publishing Reporter
marybeth@jpinews.com

On March 27, President Donald Trump signed into law a historic $2 trillion coronavirus emergency relief bill. Known as the CARES Act, the stimulus package came as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to sweep across the nation, devastating families, businesses, and the economy.

According to Congressman Brett Guthrie, U.S. Representative for Kentucky’s 2nd Congressional District, elements of the stimulus package include relief checks sent to qualifying families and individuals, financial assistance for small businesses, and financial support for health care providers.

Relief checks
The CARES Act provides a one-time check as financial support for individuals and for families. Those eligible to receive the credit must have an adjusted gross income (AGI) that does not exceed certain criteria, have a valid social security number, and not be a dependent of someone else. Workers, social security beneficiaries, those receiving welfare, and many others are all eligible.

Of those eligible, individuals with an income at or below $75,000 ($112,500 for heads of household) will receive $1,200 and couples with an income at or below $150,000 will receive $2,400. For those with children under the age of 17, an additional $500 per child will also be received.

“There are expenses that people are having,” Guthrie said. “People aren’t working. They’ve got to pay rent. They have other things that they need to do. That’s what this money is for. It goes to the individual to spend. There are no strings attached to it.”

The tax rebate amount, however, will be reduced by $5 for each $100 a person’s income exceeds the above income limits. This means that for those without children, an individual with an income that exceeds $99,000 and couples with an income that exceeds more than $198,000 will not receive a tax credit.

The first checks are expected to arrive in bank accounts as soon as mid-April for those with direct deposit. Those without direct deposit may receive their check at a later date.

Small businesses
For small businesses, the CARES Act provides emergency grants and a forgivable loan program for businesses with 500 employees or less.There are also changes to rules for expenses and deductions meant to make it easier for companies to keep employees on the payroll and stay open in the near future.

With emergency grants, the act provides $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 in emergency funds to cover immediate operating costs by small businesses.
The CARES Act also allocates $350 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) for loans of up to $10 million for each small business. Providing workers stay employed through the end of June, any portion of that loan may be forgiven if it is used to keep workers on the books or pay for rent or to maintain payroll. Mortgages and existing debt could also be forgiven. For small businesses already using SBA loans, the act also has $17 billion in relief for existing loans to cover six months of payments.

“What people need to do is contact their local financial officer, their local banker, and say, ‘I wanna participate in the Payroll Protection Program,’” Guthrie explained. “It’s a loan that can be converted into a grant. You can take a loan of up to eight weeks of two-and-a-half times your payroll. You have to maintain your payroll. The check that you write to your employees, the benefits you provide to your employees, it covers all of that.”

Unemployment Insurance
The CARES Act also expands unemployment insurance (UI) benefits via the Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act. Under this expansion, persons who would typically qualify for unemployment compensation benefits under State law would also be entitled to the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation which is an additional flat-fee amount of $600 per week. These benefits, however, are not available for individuals who are already receiving paid leave benefit acts or those who are able to work remotely as from home.

“The way the unemployment insurance works is they will go to State unemployment,” Guthrie said. “They will get whatever they will qualify for under their income, and if it’s a commission income they just show what their last year’s income was. They will qualify for their income for what Kentucky unemployment would normally pay. That’s a percentage of your income, and then it’s an extra $600 per week that is added to that…The reason it was done that way was to find a median so to speak.”

Health care
Community and private health systems will also be supplemented via the CARES Act in order to meet the influx of new patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes, among other things, $11 billion put toward diagnostics, treatments and vaccines and $80 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to accelerate the approval of new drugs, $16 billion to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) for increasing the availability of equipment such as masks and ventilators, $100 billion for hospitals that are responding to the coronavirus outbreak, and $20 billion set aside for veterans’ health care.

Student Loans
The CARES Act also provides relief for those with federal student loans. Loan payments have been automatically suspended from March 13 through September 30, otherwise known as administrative forbearance. However, individuals can still make payments if he or she so chooses.

Also, during this time period, the interest rate is 0% on the following types of federal student loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education (ED): defaulted and non-defaulted FFEL Program Loans, defaulted and non-defaulted Direct Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans.

The FFEL Program Loans that are owned by commercial lenders and the Perkins Loans that are owned by the attended institution are not eligible for this benefit of the CARES Act at this time. Also, private students loans are not covered by the CARES Act either.

“There are a lot of things we had to do in the CARES Act for student loans,” Guthrie said. “One, if you don’t complete your semester, the school has to pay it back…So, there were provisions in there to make sure that universities, because students were no longer able to live on campus, the students didn’t owe that back…Students are supposed to be held harmless because of their post-secondary education has either shut down or doing classes remotely off campus. The students are, under the CARES Act, held harmless under that decision.”

For more information regarding the CARES Act and its numerous benefits, visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury website at https://home.treasury.gov/cares

52 Comments

  1. Vickie Carden on April 10, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    I had a small business that I had to close because of Covid 19. I didn’t pay in unemployment on myself. Do I still qualify for the $600 a week from the Federal Cares Act? And how do I apply?

    • Donnie Mccarty on April 14, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      Yes. I get a small amount of unemployment plus the 600$ a week.

      • Bc on April 27, 2020 at 5:40 am

        Do you live in Kentucky and did you receive your first unemployment payment the day you was supposed to receive it and did you also get the payment for 600$ a week exstra with your first unemployment payment?

  2. Brandu on April 10, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    How do you know of you are not eligible? My husband owes back child support but it’s less than $1,000 the state took our taxes and he pays $80 a week so it’s not like he’s not making a effort our family will be affected by this he’s an essential worker and I am on SSI we have two small kids at home with us and also if his ex gets well she has 4 kids with 4 different dads

    • Jeremy on May 5, 2020 at 11:41 am

      I’m sorry to hear that brandu. child support don’t care if u an ur other kids starve .. long as they get the money.. Russell county is bad for this..father’s have no rights even when they pay and still do whatever they can for the kids. Cuz too many women go flirt with the county att..or someone who can pull some strings. I been thru it myself and it’s hard.. it teaches girls just get pregnant and I have it made.

  3. Edsel g. Arnett o.d. on April 11, 2020 at 7:21 am

    My office is closed until the regulations change. What do I need to receive the Cares benefit.

    Edsel g. Arnett

  4. Robby Adkins on April 14, 2020 at 10:27 am

    I had to close my appliances and furniture store is their compensation that I Can apply for

  5. Kim Martin on April 14, 2020 at 11:42 am

    If you were receiving unemployment benefits before the pandemic will you still receive the $600 weekly considering there are no jobs hiring

  6. William on April 14, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    People with a part time job that has been laid off due to the covid virus . Will they be eligible To receive ?federal unemployment stimulus

  7. Amber Appleton on April 15, 2020 at 12:12 am

    Will I get the $600/wk if there is an error detected when I filed my 2nd unemployment claim? There was no issue from the 1st claim & I actually received my benefits via the debit card they mailed me. No information nor my staus from me has changed, everything is exactly the same. It states I have been credited for the last 2 weeks but no check was issued. Help!

    • Krissy Parsons on June 5, 2020 at 7:48 am

      I’m having the exact issues you did, were yours resolved easily? Just wondering what I can expect. Thanks

      • Micheal Blackson on July 6, 2020 at 5:06 pm

        I also was given credit for weeks ” ” but no check issued. what does that mean. I have been on hold for over a month

  8. Shauna Biedenharn on April 15, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Hello, my question has anyone even seen this $600.00 extra a week deposited in there account from the unemployment ???
    Thanks

    • Ssndy on April 15, 2020 at 2:51 pm

      Yes. I got mine today. I filed on the 23rd of march. Online site said I was denied because I don’t have any credits (self employed,). April 7th. I received 4 weeks of regular weekly amount back dated to 3-1. On 4-14 two more regular weeks. On 15th (today) the 2 weeks of $600 each. They only go back to the week ending 4-4 for the extra $600 a week. Now should get both payments each week a day or two apart according to the letter that I got in the mail

      • Ann Logsdon on April 27, 2020 at 6:49 am

        Did you recurve your letter out of the blue after seeing online that you was denied due to not having enough work credits? The letter said you didn’t have you do anything the 1st payment request would be automatic, but did you have to request any payments yourself or food they come automatically once a week? Bc ice received nothing since April 14th. Someone please help

    • Mary Elliott on April 28, 2020 at 9:40 pm

      I received my $600 check last week, the day after i recieved my uneployment check

  9. Mikel Oshrieh on April 15, 2020 at 10:34 am

    I’ve been off for a month from my job. I have been receiving my UI but NO $600 extra as of yet!

  10. Hcjmoose on April 16, 2020 at 8:19 am

    I applied for KY UI benefits on March 29 two days after I shut down my contracting business and I was surprised to see I actually got benefit payments. The letter said my weekly amount and I didn’t even know about the $600 at first. When I called that day to activate my KY UI debt card I already had four weeks of back pay on it and called for my first payment on April 12 and got those two weeks on Tuesday. I have not gotten any $600 payments as of yet and I’m grateful I’m even getting regular benefit from Unemp. I’m so glad we voted in Andy. This guy will be president one day!

    • Melissa. on May 3, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      I hope he is!! He will definitely get my vote. finally a politician in KY actually working to help Kentuckians!!

  11. Laurie Smart on April 16, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Is there a maximum income that makes one ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits? We have jobs lost due to Covid-19.

  12. Jasmine on April 16, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Question. Is the extra $600 supposed to be deposited on a different day than the unemployment or same day as a separate deposit? I’m confused.

    • Mary Elliott on April 28, 2020 at 9:41 pm

      The next day

    • Melissa. on May 3, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      Yes. usually the next day.

  13. Kim on April 17, 2020 at 9:29 am

    When filing for UI benefits due to reduced hours, cut from full time to part time, do you still qualify for the CARES ACT?

  14. Shannon on April 21, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    I have not yet seen the 600.00 weekly added on to my card that I has received yet. I have received my regular unemployment benefit on my card, will the extra 600.00 be added at onto your biweekly benefit or on a separate check each week?

    • Melissa. on May 3, 2020 at 8:53 pm

      Yes it is separate. It is federal money and it is usually paid the next day after you get your UI money.

  15. Danny Melson on April 26, 2020 at 9:35 am

    I received two weeks of unemployment benefits but not the 600 weekly under the CARE Act. Have not been able to reach anyone that knew why. A persin has to live so how do they get what was alloted to them?

    • Melissa. on May 3, 2020 at 8:58 pm

      The unemployment office is super back up. A lot of state employees working from home are trying to help at least answer phones and simple questions that we are given training on.

      If it is any consolation at all, my husband applied mid April and not only got 4 weeks of back pay from UI. But also got 4 of the $600 payments as well. We are not sure why he got his back pay including the $600 payments at the same time but I am guessing because it was indeed back pay and not his usual bu weekly payments.

      Hang in there, hope is there and on the way 🙂 God bless and stay safe!!

  16. Ann Logsdon on April 27, 2020 at 6:58 am

    Is there a web site to check on the pandemic unemployment benefits ? Bc Kentucky Career Center’s website doesn’t list anything about the PUA benefits that I have received as of yet except that I don’t have enough credits to qualify. I’ve researched endlessly without finding out anything out worth.i live in Combs Ky just on the outskirts of Hazard ky city area

    • Melissa. on May 3, 2020 at 9:12 pm

      Also, if you do not meet regular UI requirements, you may be eligible for PUA benefits. Those payments are automatic and to my understanding you do not have to call in to request them once you have been approved for them. PUA insurance pays you $180 per week PLUS $600 per week thru august 1, 2020. You should get a letter concerning this. Also. Dont forget to check your email for any emails they may send you.

      My husband received not only back pay for his PUA (the 180 per week) but also back pay of the $600 per week. I hope this helps a little.

  17. Mary Elliott on April 28, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    I received my $600 check last week, the day after i recieved my uneployment check

  18. Melissa. on May 3, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    As far I am aware, there is no separate site to check PUA or or PEUC benefits. Payment of $600 are supposed to be automatic. if you are not getting your $600, as bad as it pains me to suggest it, you would have to call your local UI office.

  19. Casey Turner on May 12, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    I have applied for unemployment on March 27 and still have heard nothing. It says i have credit for weeks but no checks issued. I dont know what that means. I cannot get in touch with anyone i have been trying for weeks.

  20. Susie on May 13, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    How can I check to see if I’ve received the $600. Per week cares act money. Also, do they keep taxes out?

  21. Jessica on May 15, 2020 at 10:52 am

    I filed my unemployment on March 31 and still haven’t received not one yet?? I’ve done called in three times to call in funds but haven’t received not even my first paycheck? Does anyone have any suggestions? Please help

    • Alicia on May 24, 2020 at 11:04 am

      Hey Jessica did you check online? And see what it says it’s best to used a computer to see the letters under the “Document” tab it should of gave you a date online to submit for a payment. Then you do it I think twice this is my first time so I’m new at this but the way I’m explaining it got me my check. Hope that helps

  22. Alicia on May 24, 2020 at 11:01 am

    By its being Memorial Day weekend I received my UI check on a Sat but I was wondering when will I get my 600 check by it’s being the holiday? Which is Monday I’m just wondering will I get it like everyone else and is it late because of the holiday weekend?

  23. Jennifer Reed on May 27, 2020 at 6:24 am

    I filed for regular UI which I am not eligible for but was instructed thats how to file for PUA as I am self employed and It updated very next day to tell me that I was ineligible for regular UI benefits but I still may be eligible for PUA and once setup I would see a message in upper left hand corner and that was 5/10 and I have not gotten a letter, site update or email and I don’t know what is going on. This is stressful, can anyone loan me some advice?

    • Amanda on June 14, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      Same thing here! My status still says UI, and It also says available amount $0. But under the green Request Payment heading when I clicked on it, it gave me a series of questions to answer to request payment for those weeks, and I did, and have been doing it everytime it has me to request payment. And have still not received any payments, letters or emails regarding it. I have it set up for direct deposit and have been checking my acct to see if been deposited but still nothing at all. I have been off since March 15th due to covid-19 and if they go back to the day that I had to stop working up until this point, even the minimum $167 per wk plus the 600, then they are going to owe me like almost $10,000!! At this point, im so confused on what I need to do..do I file another claim, do I just wait and see what happens, do I need to continue to request payment or what? I have been trying to get in touch with them but its always so busy and they have me to put in my callback # and tell me im still in que every time I’ve tried to call since then. Technically now I’ve been “in que” for 5 full days now not counting the weekend!!!

      • Leah on June 16, 2020 at 3:33 pm

        I have been having the exact same issue I just received a two week payment but no 600, I was off work about the same time you were and filed immediately with Indiana didn’t qualify since I worked in Kentucky most of last year. I have been in que for about a month now waiting for help on getting back pay. I am right there with you. I just received one payment, but they will have to pay you all the backpay they owe you hang in there and keep calling every day!!! Don’t give up and don’t let it go either you will have to be paid one way or another!!

      • Kristy on June 17, 2020 at 12:50 am

        Do not stop claiming your benefits when scheduled. When they do get it fixed, you’re only back paid for weeks claimed. So if u don’t claim the week now when scheduled, it’ll cost you in the long run. This whole thing has been a joke. I’m right there with ya. Been a headache since it started!

      • Brenda Neace on July 2, 2020 at 12:20 am

        I have been in Que for 3 months now I applied Apr1,2020 had calls telling me I’ll get letter an watch my account nothing………

  24. Stacy on June 10, 2020 at 1:46 am

    Just wondering but I’m working with reduced hours. Does anyone know how you find out if your getting unemployment? I got paper saying it was filed and processed but haven’t received any money

  25. Travis on June 10, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    I have received 4 weeks of regular ui but no extra 600? Does anyone else have this problem and does anyone know if child support can take extra 600

  26. Brenda Neace on July 2, 2020 at 12:22 am

    Good Luck !!! To everybody I’ve been waiting 3 months going on 4 as of today.

  27. Donita on July 2, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    I’ve talked to someone from the unemployment office and they said I would get my regular benefits on the 25th and covid on the 27th. And they r saying bow I’ve been given credit but no check issued. I want to know why? I feel like I was lied too. Where is my money? I’m going to take legal action if something dont happen or somebody let me know something soon.

  28. Linfday on July 6, 2020 at 1:38 am

    I am still waiting on a call back from the UI office. My first app was denied because I think I misunderstood the “base period” and answered the time I had been on an involuntary leave of absence. I’ve received several automated calls saying that they are STILL backed up. Seriously? After 3 weeks of being on an automated call back/hold? Can someone explain to me what the base period is? I’m so frustrated right now and I can’t go on like this any longer!

  29. Kristy on August 7, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    I have been told since July 3rd that I have been given for weeks but however no check has been issued. What does that mean and will I receive the back pay from it? Please help. I haven’t received any benefits in almost 2 months.

    • Whitney on August 14, 2020 at 2:47 pm

      Exact same thing mine said. I’ve been credited but no check issued. I didn’t realize I could file,like a lot of other self employed/small business owners so I just did at the end of July. I got the denial letter for regular UI & my account summary says I may be eligible for PUA. From all I’ve read I should be eligible, so I claimed my benefits per the website and am still waiting. The voice response system says I was credited but no checks were issued and I haven’t even gotten a letter telling me I’m approved or denied for PUA yet. This is so frustrating.

  30. Shannon Tinnell on September 6, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    I have been getting my unemployment for 2mths but the last 2 times I’ve done my payment request it hasn’t been put on my card. Can someone help me please

  31. Kim Smith on February 1, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    My water bill is 120 dollars I Normally pay no more than 35.00 I’m on disability can’t afford this amount. Can I get some help to pay this. I thought there was a website for kentukians to get help
    Please advise
    Thank you
    Kim

  32. James F Tankersley on February 16, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Please help me I reclaimed couple months ago I’ve been requesting my payments they said they mailed check but 0. Balance . How can I get my PUA I qualify for it??? Please help thank you

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