CARES Act

The bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) became effective Friday, March 27, following overwhelming approval by Congress and signing by President Trump. The CARES Act provides more than $2 trillion of economic relief to American companies, hospitals, nonprofits, workers and other individuals as well as state and local governments. The CARES Act also imposes certain workforce retention obligations and other mandates or conditions on companies and employers who receive certain U.S. government grants or direct or guaranteed loans.

Highlights of the CARES Act are outlined below. We will continue to review these developments and provide subsequent updates, but rules, guidance and other details regarding the various CARES Act programs are continually evolving and may not be immediately reflected in the highlights below. Should you have questions about the CARES Act, please contact a member of our COVID-19 Task Force or one of the professionals listed on this page.

CARES Act Highlights

  • Relief for Small Businesses

    The CARES Act provides additional funding and expands certain eligibility metrics for the provision of financing assistance to qualifying small businesses under loan programs administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

    In addition to a “small business concern” (SBC) under the existing SBA regulations qualifying, any business that employs no more than the greater of (1) 500 employees  and (2) if applicable, the SBA’s size requirements based on employees for the business’s primary industry (set forth by industry NAICS code here) may qualify for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan of up to $10,000,000 to be used for qualifying payroll and operational costs. In order to obtain a PPP loan, the applicant business must certify, among other things, that “[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes [the] loan necessary to support the ongoing operations of the [a]pplicant.”

    Any SBC or business that employs no more than 500 employees, is located in declared disaster area, and has suffered substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 may also qualify for an economic injury disaster loan of up to $2,000,000 (though a business may not qualify for a PPP loan and an economic injury loan for the same purpose).

    In determining the number of employees employed by a business, employees include all individuals employed on a full-time, part-time or temporary basis and employees of the business’s affiliates (unless an exception applies, which is the case for businesses operating in the hotel and restaurant sector, among other exceptions).

    The loans available under the expanded SBA programs have attractive interest rates and repayment terms and, in the case of PPP loans, will qualify for forgiveness if applied to qualifying expenses and the business satisfies certain employment retention requirements.

    A more detailed overview of the eligibility requirements (including the affiliation rules), loan terms and forgiveness conditions can be found in our previously issued alert. The SBA has continued to issue guidance on a rolling basis. Our subsequent alerts (here, here and here) summarize certain key developments in PPP guidance. If you have questions about the PPP and your business, please contact the authors or your relationship partner at the firm.

    Although time is of the essence for many businesses applying for CARES Act programs, the risk of FCA liability means that every applicant should take reasonable efforts to ensure that the information and certifications contained in their applications are accurate. More detailed information can be found in this blog post.

  • Relief for Mid Sized Businesses

    The CARES Act provides relief to eligible small and mid-sized businesses (generally those with up to 500 employees) through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support those companies whose operations and workforces are adversely impacted by the uncertainty of the pandemic. An overview of this program of potentially forgivable loans of up to $10 million per company (and an explanation of the SBA affiliation rules that may preclude the participation of certain companies) can be found in our alert here. On April 21, in an effort to dramatically expand the amount of aid made available to small businesses under the CARES Act, the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to approve $310 billion of additional funding for the PPP, as well as $60 billion in additional funding for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). The Senate bill, which is titled the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PPPHCE Act), is expected to be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by President Trump. An overview of this expansion can be found in our alert here.

    Hotel franchisees or restaurant operators adversely affected by COVID-19 are generally eligible to obtain a PPP loan without regard to their total number of employees so long as each location has no more than 500 employees. In addition, hotel and restaurant companies are not subject to the limitations of the SBA affiliation rules. Combined, the more lenient per-location employee headcount standard and the waiver of affiliation rules will make the PPP potentially available to a significant portion of businesses within the restaurant and hospitality industries. Additional information about whether your business may be eligible and how to best position it to apply can be found here.

    In addition, businesses that are not eligible for relief loans under the PPP because they are too large to meet the maximum number of employees requirement or for which the maximum loan amount of $10 million would not provide adequate relief, may be eligible to participate in the Main Street Business Lending Program (Main Street Program), which will be established by the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Reserve. The Main Street Program provides up to $600 billion in new financing for businesses with up to 15,000 employees or $5 billion in 2019 annual revenues. Unlike loans available to qualifying small businesses under the SBA PPP, loans made under the Main Street Program will not be forgivable, but for borrowers that qualify (likely including many private equity portfolio companies that may have been precluded from obtaining PPP loans due to the SBA’s affiliation rules), the Main Street Program could provide attractive terms and significant borrowing capacity for eligible borrowers. More information found in our alert here.

    Generally, mid-sized companies will likely benefit from some of the business tax relief provisions of the CARES Act. See “Business Tax Benefits” section for additional information.

  • Relief for Larger Distressed Companies

    On Friday, March 27, President Trump signed the CARES Act. Subtitle A of Title IV of the CARES Act authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to provide up to $500 billion in aid to eligible businesses, states and municipalities that suffer losses or are likely to suffer losses as a result of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and the resulting disease, COVID-19. These loans and loan programs will be allocated as follows:

    • Up to $25 billion to lend to or guarantee the loans of passenger air carriers, ticket agents and businesses certified and approved to perform certain inspection, repair, replacement or overhaul services.
    • Up to $4 billion to lend to or guarantee the loans of cargo air carriers.
    • Up to $17 billion to lend to or guarantee the loans of businesses deemed critical to national security.
    • Up to $454 billion to support programs established by the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System to provide liquidity to states, municipalities and other businesses that the CARES Act does not otherwise adequately assist.

    Subtitle B of Title IV of the CARES Act provides additional protection for employee wages, salaries and benefits for employees in the airline industry by giving the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to provide up to an additional $25 billion to passenger air carriers, up to an additional $4 billion to cargo air carriers, and up to $3 billion to contractors and subcontractors of passenger air carriers for such payments.

    While a portion of the Title IV relief has been specifically allocated to the airline industry, the large majority of the relief funds (and including any funds not utilized by the airline industry) will be available to support other eligible businesses, which are defined to include, in addition to air carriers, any U.S. business that has not otherwise received adequate economic relief in the form of loans or loan guarantees provided under the CARES Act.

    The CARES Act also permits the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System to establish a Main Street Lending Program or other similar program or facility that supports lending to small and mid-sized businesses. Pursuant to this authority, the Federal Reserve, in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury, has announced the Main Street Business Lending Program (Main Street Program). The Main Street Program provides up to $600 billion in new financing for businesses with up to 15,000 employees or $5 billion in 2019 annual revenues. Loans made under the Main Street Program will not be forgivable, but the Main Street Program could provide attractive terms and significant borrowing capacity for eligible borrowers. More information on the Main Street Lending Program found in our alert here.

  • Impact on Healthcare – Financial Relief for Providers, Expanded Access to COVID-19 Care, Increased Resources and More

    The CARES Act includes several key provisions relevant to the healthcare industry, and particularly, healthcare providers. A detailed summary is provided here. Below is a preview of some of the highlights of the legislation’s impact on healthcare:

    • Provides financial relief for healthcare providers being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, including a $100 billion fund expected to be available by application for certain eligible healthcare providers to cover non-reimbursable expenses attributable to COVID-19. For more information, see our alert here.
    • Alleviates certain COVID-19-related healthcare expenses for individuals and details pricing requirements for COVID-19 diagnostic testing.
    • Enables healthcare providers to treat patients as safely and efficiently as possible by increasing access to resources and easing burdens for healthcare providers, including through the following:
      • Increasing access to medical supplies and equipment.
      • Increasing utilization and coverage of telehealth services.
      • Relaxing standards for post-acute care and alternative care settings.

    Healthcare providers must handle any CARES Act funds in a compliant manner or they risk ongoing and costly government scrutiny. Learn more in our alert.

  • Relief for Restaurant and Hospitality Companies

    To provide some much needed relief to businesses in the restaurant, food and beverage service, and hospitality industries, among others, Congress appropriated up to $349 billion under Title I of the CARES Act for the Small Business Administration to implement a so-called Paycheck Protection Program to fund loans to eligible small businesses. Nearly all restaurant and hospitality businesses that have been adversely affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 should be qualified to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program so long as, among other things:

    • They employ no more than 500 employees at any particular location.
    • They can certify that, due to the uncertainty of current economic conditions, the loans are necessary to support their ongoing operations.
    • They agree to use the proceeds of the loans to retain employees and/or make mortgage, lease or utility payments.

     

    Eligible participants will generally be able to borrow two and one-half times their average total monthly payroll costs for the immediately preceding year, up to $10 million. Further, the loans made possible by the Paycheck Protection Program will bear interest at a rate of no more than 4% for the covered period and need not be secured or personally guaranteed.

    Paycheck Protection Program loans are eligible for forgiveness, up to the amount of the original principal, for any qualified payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utilities payments made during the covered period.

    A more detailed overview of the eligibility requirements, loan terms and forgiveness conditions can be found in our previously issued alert.

    The Small Business Administration is required to publish more guidance about the sure-to-be popular Paycheck Protection Program within the next 30 days. Additional information about whether your business may be eligible and how to best position it to apply can be found here.

    In addition, businesses operating in the restaurant and hospitality industries that are not eligible for relief loans under the Paycheck Protection Program because they are too large to meet the maximum 500 employees per-location size requirements, or for which the maximum loan amount of $10 million would not provide adequate relief, are likely to be eligible to participate in emergency loan programs to be established by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Secretary of the Treasury for mid-sized and larger distressed businesses under the Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act of 2020 included in Title IV of the CARES Act.  Specific details for applicant eligibility and selection criteria under these to-be-established loan programs will be forthcoming from Treasury and the Federal Reserve. See the “Relief for Larger Distressed Companies” section.

  • Relief for Nonprofit Organizations

    Nonprofit entities recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) as a tax-exempt charitable organization with less than 500 employees will be eligible to participate in the small business “paycheck protection” forgivable loan program established under the CARES Act on the same general terms as for-profit companies. (In determining the number of employee counted against the eligibility cap of 500, a nonprofit organization must also include the number of employees of “affiliates” under the affiliation rules of the Small Business Administration (SBA), described in more detail in the “Relief for Small Business” section.)

    The new “paycheck protection” loan program under the CARES Act will enable eligible charitable nonprofit organizations – such as social service agencies, museums, performing arts organizations and small colleges – adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to obtain funds to cover payroll and rent that would effectively convert to a grant in whole or part if the nonprofit satisfies the program’s conditions for loan forgiveness.  See “Relief for Small Businesses” section.

    Nonprofit employers that pay payroll taxes will be eligible for the same refundable payroll tax credit relief and deferral of payroll taxes as for-profit employers.

    Nonprofit organizations that employ 500–10,000 employees will be eligible to apply to obtain loans under a new “mid-sized business” loan program to be established and funded by the U.S. Treasury on the same terms and conditions as similarly sized for-profit businesses. Such loans will bear a maximum rate of 2% with no principal or interest due for six months. The borrower must certify its intent to retain or rehire its workforce to a level through September 30, 2020, equal to at least 90% of its workforce size as of February 1, 2020.

    Many nonprofit organizations financially harmed by the COVID-19 outbreak, whether or not treated as tax-exempt charitable organizations under IRC 501(c)(3), will be eligible to obtain SBA “economic injury” disaster relief low interest, non-forgivable loans of up to $2,000,000 on the same terms as for-profit entities. See “Relief for Small Businesses” section.

  • Business Tax Benefits

    The CARES Act contains several tax provisions that are intended to provide critical cash flow and liquidity during the COVID-19 pandemic. These provisions include:

    • Employee retention credit for employers subject to closure due to COVID-19. The CARES Act provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of the wages paid by certain employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The credit is available to those employers whose (1) operations were fully or partially suspended as a result of a COVID-19-related shutdown order from a governmental authority, or (2) gross receipts declined by greater than 50% as compared from the same quarter of the prior year (i.e., comparison of Q1 2020 to Q1 2019). The credit is not available to any employer who receives a potentially forgivable small business interruption “paycheck protection”  loan under the Paycheck Protection Program established under Section 1102 of the Act. The credit is based upon qualified wages paid to the employee. For employers with more than 100 employees, qualified wages are those wages paid to the employees when they are not providing services due to a COVID-19-related shutdown order. For eligible employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees, wages paid to all employees qualify for the credit, whether or not the employee has been furloughed. The credit is limited to the first $10,000 of compensation (including health benefits) (e.g. maximum credit of $5,000 per employee) paid to an eligible employee. The credit is provided for wages paid (or incurred) between March 13, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
    • Employer payroll tax deferral. Employers and self-employed individuals may defer payment of the employer portion of the Social Security payroll tax on wages (i.e., the 6.2% employer FICA portion). Fifty percent of the deferred payroll taxes will be due by December 31, 2021, and the remaining 50% will be due by December 31, 2022. This payroll tax deferral is not available for those employers who have had certain SBA loans forgiven under other provisions of the CARES Act.
    • Net operating loss modifications. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) enacted in 2017 eliminated the ability of a corporation to carryback losses incurred in the current tax year to offset taxable income in a prior tax year. Moreover, the TCJA subjected a net operating loss (NOL) carryforward from a prior year to a taxable income limitation. The CARES Act provides that an NOL arising in a tax year beginning in 2018, 2019, or 2020 may be carried back five years. Additionally, the CARES Act temporarily removes the taxable income limitation and will allow an NOL to fully offset taxable income for such years.
    • Modifications of loss limitations. For tax years beginning before January 1, 2026, the TCJA limited the amount of non-business income that a taxpayer (other than a corporation) could offset with business losses to $500,000 ($250,000 for single taxpayers) and eliminated the carryback of net operating losses. The CARES Act repeals those provisions for 2018, 2019 and 2020. In computing losses subject to this provision, the deduction allowed by 199A is not taken into account.
    • Corporate AMT credit recovery. The TCJA eliminated the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT), but corporate AMT credits were made available as refundable credits over several years, ending in 2021. The CARES Act provides that corporations can immediately claim any remaining corporate AMT credit through refund procedures.
    • Business interest deduction limitation. Section 163(j) of the Code limits the business interest that a taxpayer may deduct in any taxable year to an amount equal to 30% of the taxpayer’s adjusted taxable income (roughly equivalent to the taxpayer’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for years beginning before January 1, 2022). The CARES Act increases the limitation from to 50% of adjusted taxable income for the 2019 and 2020 taxable years.
    • Depreciation on qualified improvement property. Due to a well-known technical glitch in the TCJA, depreciation on “qualified improvement property” was subject to a 39-year cost recovery period. The CARES Act corrects the error and assigns a 15-year cost recovery period to qualified improvement property, making it eligible for 100% bonus depreciation under current law. The provision applies as if it had originally been included in the TCJA.
    • Excise tax on alcohol used to produce hand sanitizer. The CARES Act removes the federal excise tax for alcohol on any distilled spirits used for or contained in hand sanitizer before January 1, 2021.
    • Forgiveness of certain small business loans. If covered loans by the Small Business Administration are forgiven under the terms of the CARES Act, the debtor taxpayer will not recognize any cancellation of indebtedness income as a result of such forgiveness.
    • Exclusion for certain employer payments of student loans. Though not a “business tax” provision per se, the CARES Act enables an employer to provide student loan repayment benefits to its employees in an amount up to $5,250 per employee per year. Such payment would be excluded from the employee’s income. This provision applies to any student loan repayment benefit paid after the enactment of the CARES Act and before January 1, 2021.
  • Impact on Private Equity Sponsors and Portfolio Companies

    Generally, U.S. companies with less than 500 employees adversely affected by the economic headwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible to participate in the CARES Act’s $350 billion loan fund to be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), including the attractive small business “paycheck protection” loan program. See “Relief for Small Businesses” section.

    These unsecured loans of up to $10,000,000 are forgivable under certain circumstances.  However, because of current SBA “affiliation” regulations, any single company controlled by a private equity sponsor will likely not be eligible to participate in the program if the number of employees of all companies controlled by the same private equity sponsor exceeds the greater of: (i) 500 or (ii) the applicable SBA size standard for number of employees (published here) based on the applicable NAICS code..

    The CARES Act waives this disqualifying effect of the SBA affiliation rules for the following three categories of companies:

    1. Companies in the hard-hit hotel and restaurant sector.
    2. Companies operating as franchisees assigned a franchise identifier code by the SBA (a list of which can be found here).
    3. Companies that receive financial assistance (either as a loan or an equity investment) from a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC).

    Private equity sponsors with multiple portfolio companies should carefully examine the potential availability of one of the three waivers, as well as monitor the forthcoming implementing regulations to be adopted by the SBA for possible flexibility in the interpretation of the SBA affiliation rules in connection with the new Paycheck Protection Program. For guidance on affiliation rules for private-equity backed physician practice management companies, see alert here.

    The U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Reserve have released details regarding the establishment of a Main Street Business Lending Program (Main Street Program) to provide up to $600 billion in new financing for businesses with up to 10,000 employees or $2.5 billion in 2019 annual revenues. Unlike loans available to qualifying small businesses under the SBA PPP, loans made under the Main Street Program will not be forgivable, but for borrowers that qualify (likely including many private equity portfolio companies that may have been precluded from obtaining PPP loans due to the SBA’s affiliation rules), the Main Street Program could provide attractive terms and significant borrowing capacity for eligible borrowers. More information found in our alert here.

    While the benefits available to private equity-backed companies under the small business loan programs created by the CARES Act may be limited by SBA affiliation rules, the business tax relief generally available under the CARES Act will likely be economically beneficial to many such companies. See “Business Tax Benefits” section.

  • Relief for Government Contractors

    In a little-publicized but important provision, Section 3610 of the CARES Act provides broad authority to agencies to reimburse government contractors for paid leave and sick leave expended to keep their employees on staff and ready to perform during the COVID-19 pandemic.  That section provides that agencies may modify a contract or other agreement “without consideration” to reimburse contractors for any paid leave, including sick leave, “to keep its employees or subcontractors in a ready state” through September 30, 2020.  The reimbursement is limited to the “minimum applicable contract billing rates not to exceed an average of 40 hours per week,” but it appears the authority can be used broadly to ensure contractors are fully prepared to resume performance when the crisis subsides.  While the provision references the use of this authority “to protect the life and safety of Government and contractor personnel,” it does not limit the use of the authority to that situation, instead referencing that as but one example of the situations in which the authority may be used.

    The authority does, however, have limitations.  It only applies to a contractor whose employees or subcontractors cannot perform work on a site that has been approved by the federal government, including a federally-owned or leased facility or site, due to facility closures or other restrictions.  Further, this provision is restricted to employees who cannot telework because their job duties cannot be performed remotely during the public health emergency.  Finally, the maximum reimbursement authorized by Section 3610 will be reduced by the amount of credit a contractor is allowed per the payroll tax credit provisions of the FFRCA and any applicable credits a contractor is allowed under the CARES Act.

    For further information about how this, or other government contract COVID-19 issues, please refer to our blog post here.

  • Benefits and Obligations of Employers and Employees

    Paycheck Protection Program and SBA Loan Expansion.  Under the Paycheck Protection Program, the Act expands the criteria for eligibility for a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA).  Employers with fewer than 500 employees and employers that satisfy the applicable size standard – in number of employees – established by the SBA for the specific industry may be eligible for a loan from the SBA for payroll support, including employee salaries, the cost of continuing group health benefits while employees are on paid sick or medical leaves, insurance premiums, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. See previously issued alert for additional information.

    The borrower may be eligible for loan forgiveness based on covered payroll costs, mortgage interest payments, rent and utilities. The amount forgiven will be subject to reduction if the employer reduces the size of its workforce or cuts the compensation of employees making less than $100,000 by 25 percent.

    EIDL Loans.  The Act also expands eligibility for access to Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) from the SBA.  An eligible entity that has applied for an EIDL due to COVID-19 may request an advance on that loan, of not more than $10,000, which the SBA must distribute within 3 days.  Such an advance payment may be used for providing paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, meeting increased costs to obtain materials, making rent or mortgage payments, and repaying obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses.

    Expansion of Unemployment Benefits.  Congress created a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020 to provide payments for up to 39 weeks to individuals who are not eligible for other state or federal benefits but are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency, including the self-employed and those with an insufficient work history.

    The Act also includes an emergency increase in unemployment benefits of an additional $600 per week to each recipient of unemployment insurance benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months and will cover the cost of paying individuals for the first week of unemployment.

    Finally, under the new Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, people will be eligible for an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 if they remain unemployed after state unemployment benefits are no longer available.

    Incentives for Work-Sharing Programs.  The Act provides funding to states that have “short-time compensation” or “work-sharing” programs, where employers reduce employee hours instead of laying off workers and the employees with reduced hours receive a pro-rated unemployment benefit.

    Payroll Tax Credit for Affected Businesses.  The Act provides a refundable, payroll tax credit for 50% of “qualified wages” (up to $10,000 in wages per employee each quarter) paid by employers to employees during the COVID-19 crisis.  The credit is available to employers whose (1) operations were fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19-related shut-down order or (2) gross receipts declined by more than 50 percent when compared to the same quarter in the prior year.

    Deferral of Social Security Tax.  Employers and self-employed individuals may defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security tax they otherwise are responsible for paying to the federal government with respect to their employees.

    Limitation on Paid Leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. An employer shall not be required to pay more than $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate for each employee on an applicable paid leave under Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

    Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act Limitation.  An employer shall not be required to pay more than $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for sick leave taken under section 5102(a)(1), (2) or (3) or more than $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate to care for a quarantined individual or child for each employee under section 5102(a)(4), (5) or (6).

    Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act of 2020.  Borrowers are subject to limitations on their ability to reduce their workforce or to increase the salaries of highly compensated officers and employees.

    A summary of federal COVID-19 legislation impacting employers is available in our recorded webinar here and our publications here.

  • Changes to Retirement Accounts, Health Plans and other Employee Benefits

    The CARES Act includes a number of provisions providing relief for both individuals and businesses with respect to retirement plans, health plans and other employee benefits, including expanded availability of hardship withdrawals and plan loans and relaxed rules regarding first dollar coverage of coronavirus treatments and telehealth services under high deductible health insurance plans (HDHPs).  Many of these changes are intended to provide desperately-needed financial relief, while others are intended to remove barriers to the detection and spread prevention of COVID-19. A detailed summary is provided here.

    For further information about other employee benefit issues in light of COVID-19, please refer to our publications here.

  • Relief to State and Local Governments

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) establishes a $500 billion loan program accessible by cities, states, and businesses, while also providing for more than $250 billion in direct funding to state and local governments.

    The majority of the direct spending is by way of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund. The CARES Act of 2020, H.R. 748, 116th Cong. § 601. The Relief Fund reserves $3 billion for the District of Columbia and major U.S. territories and $8 billion for federally recognized Tribal governments. The remainder is reserved for the 50 states apportioned by population, with every state guaranteed at least $1.25 billion.

    Importantly, local governments (defined as a “county, municipality, town, township, village, parish, borough, or other units of general government below the State level”) with a population more than 500,000, may apply directly to the federal government for a share of the funding. Any direct payments to local governments under the Relief Fund are to be deducted from that state’s allocation, but cannot exceed 45% of the local government’s allotment, per the CARES Act’s per capita funding formula, or Relative Population Proportion Amount. § 601(c)(5)(A). Simply put, local governments may bypass their governor and apply directly for funds, but they are limited to 45 cents on the dollar relative to funds available to state government.

    To be eligible, there are three qualifying conditions for funding under the Coronavirus Relief Fund:

    1. The expenditures are necessary and incurred due to COVID-19.
    2. The expenditures are incurred between March 1 and December 30, 2020.
    3. The expenditures are not funded in the state or local government’s most recently approved budget.

     

    In addition to the $150 billion Relief Fund, below is a breakdown of additional economic and statutory relief the CARES Act provides for state and local governments, courtesy of the National Conference of State Legislatures:

    • $30 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund for states, school districts and institutions of higher education for costs related to the coronavirus.
    • $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund for the immediate needs of state, local, tribal and territorial governments to protect citizens and help them respond and recover from the overwhelming effects of COVID-19.
    • $1.4 billion for deployments of the National Guard. This level of funding will sustain up to 20,000 members of the National Guard, under the direction of the governors of each state, for the next six months in order to support state and local response efforts.
    • An additional $4.3 billion, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to support federal, state and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.
    • Extends Real ID deadline for full implementation by states from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021.
    • $25 billion for transit systems.
    • $400 million in election security grants to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus in the 2020 federal election cycle. States must provide an accounting to the Election Assistance Commission of how the funds were spent within 20 days of any 2020 election.
  • Relief for All Middle Class and Low Income Americans

    All U.S. legal residents with no income or adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for an individual, up to $112,500 for a head of household, and up to $150,000 for a married joint-filing couple, who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible social security number, will receive a $1,200 ($2,400 married) cash payment.  Payments to families will be increased by $500 for each dependent child. The cash payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold of $75,000 for an individual (up to $99,000), $112,500 for a head of household (up to $146,000), and $150,000 for married jointly filing couple (up to $198,000).

    For the vast majority of Americans, no action on their part will be required to receive a payment. The IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed or in the alternative their 2018 return.

    In addition to the direct payments to families with incomes of up to $198,000, employed individuals will receive considerable benefits from incentives and obligations of employers under the CARES Act, while displaced workers will benefit from historically generous levels of unemployment compensation. See “Benefits and Obligations of Employers and Employees” section.

    Further, individuals and families with federally backed residential mortgages will be entitled under certain circumstances to protection against foreclosure for six months and the accrual of their loan payments for a similar period. Individuals with federal student debt will also be entitled to a six-month deferral of all payments without penalty.

Richard W. Arnholt
Member
Noah R. Black
Associate
Austin C. Brown
Associate
Stefanie R. Chamberlain
Associate
Jennie Brooks Corley
Public Policy Counsel
Douglas W. Dahl II
Member
Katie Day
Member
Jeanne Marie Evans
Associate
Davidson French
Member
John L. Fuller
Member
B. Riney Green
Member
Sarah E. Guthrie
Associate
Michael J. Holley
Member
Angela Humphreys
Member
J. Patrick Huston
Associate
G. Mark Mamantov
Member
Thaddeus R. McBride
Member
R. Davis Mello
Associate
Bryan W. Metcalf
Member
William L. Moore III
Senior Public Policy Counsel
Jeffrey A. Oldham
Member
Todd R. Overman
Member
Dawn Perez-Slavinski
Associate
Marc A. Rigsby
Associate
Michael J.  Rivera
Member
Danielle M. Sloane
Member
Katherine Smalley
Associate
Justin T. Starling
Member
W. Benjamin Tarpley
Associate
Ryan D. Thomas
Member
Nesrin Garan Tift
Member
Erica Bell Vick
Member
Matthew D. Zapadka
Associate