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Here’s What the CARES Act Means for Consumers

Brian Beckcom

Brian Beckcom


The coronavirus relief bill is intended to encourage people to remain engaged in the economy. This means a direct cash payment for many, expanded unemployment benefits, and new stipulations for things like retirement contributions and tax filing. 

Cash Payments

  • Most individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time payment of $1,200. Married couples would each receive a check and families will receive $500 per child. 
  • Cash payments are based on either your 2018 or 2019 tax filings. 
  • Individuals who receive Social Security benefits but don’t file tax returns are eligible too and their checks will be based on the information provided by the Social Security Administration. 
  • Individuals earning more than $75K and couples filing jointly earning more than $150K would not be entitled to the full benefits of the Cash Payments. 
  • Individuals earning more than $99K and couples filing jointly earning more than $198K would not be eligible for Cash Payments. 
  • To learn more about the CARES Act's Direct Cash Payments, click here

Extra Unemployment Payments

The funds that have been allocated for unemployment benefits is subject to change depending on the number of people filing for unemployment. Congress is estimating a $260 billion contribution. The CARES Act makes sweeping changes to unemployment assistance, increasing benefits and broadening the scope of those eligible for unemployment benefits. Here’s what you need to know: 

  • States are to continue paying unemployment to people who qualify and that amount varies state by state. Similarly, the amount of time people are allowed to claim unemployment will vary state by state as well. 
  • The CARES Act adds $600 per week from the federal government on top of whatever amount an unemployed person would receive from their state. This boosted payment is set to last for four months. 
  • The CARES Act also adds 13 weeks of unemployment insurance and people nearing the maximum number of weeks allowed by their state are to receive an extension. New filers will be allowed to collect the benefits for a longer period. 

Rent Relief 

Eviction Protection 

The CARES Act provides individuals with 120 days of eviction relief for tenants in federally backed housing. More specifically, you may not be served with an eviction notice until July 25th of 2020. During the 120 day eviction postponement, your landlord will not be allowed to charge late fees or direct penalties for any late rent. It is important to note that this eviction protection does not relieve you from your obligation to pay rent; it only protects you from being thrown out of residence. 

Rental housing is covered by the CARES Act’s eviction relief only if the rental housing:

  • Is covered by the Violence Against Women Act of 1994
  • Is covered by the rural housing voucher program under the Housing Act of 1949
  •  Has a Federally backed mortgage or multifamily mortgage loan. 

Tenant-based Rental Assistance 

The CARES Act provides the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with an additional $17.4 billion in funding. This funding was allocated to help people pay their rent and provide rental assistance in ways of housing vouchers, public housing, and housing for the elderly.

Other Notable Benefits for Consumers

  • Gig workers and freelancers are typically barred from receiving unemployment benefits. The CARES Act creates a new but temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through the end of 2020 to help people who lost their jobs directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • The deadline to file for your 2019 tax returns has been extended to July 15th. The IRS notes that people who have already filed can still expect to receive a refund if they are owed one. 
  • Employers can provide individuals with up to $5,250 in tax-free student loan repayment benefits. This means an employer can contribute to loan payments and workers wouldn’t have to include that money as income. 
  • The CARES Act requires all private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccinations, making all coronavirus test free.

Help Spread the Word!

Adapt & Overcome has quickly become our motto at VB. We built this resource because a lot of friends and family of the firm reached out to us with questions about how the Coronavirus Pandemic and the COVID-19 government bailout would affect consumers and small business. In fact, we also built a similar resource for small business owners that you can find by clicking here. It's important we all do our part to reduce the impact the virus will ultimately have on our health and our economy. If you have found any of this information helpful we encourage you to share it with your friends and family.