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COVID-19 Legal Update: Stimulus Payments to Individuals and Unemployment Expansion      

In a series of legislative measures taken in response to COVID-19, the Federal government passed the CARES Act. There are many provisions of the Act, however, the focus of this article is on the economic stimulus payments to individuals.

The government will determine your payment based on your 2019 income reported on your tax return, if you have already filed. If not, then your payment will be based on your 2018 income. Your check will be reduced if you made more than $75,000, individually, or made more than $150,000, jointly.

If you made $75,000 or less, individually, you would receive $1,200 for yourself plus $500 per child. If you made $150,000 or less filing jointly, you would receive $2,400, collectively, plus $500 per child. Below are two charts showing the scale by which your check decreases if you made more than the threshold amounts.

Your check will be issued the same way you received any refund due in 2018 and or 2019. If you did not receive a refund and the IRS does not have a direct deposit account on file for you, your check will be mailed to your last known mailing address (the address on your 2018 and or 2019 taxes).

To determine the amount of your check, look at your adjusted gross income (line 7) on your most recently filed IRS Form 1040. Use the charts below to calculate the amount of your check.

In addition to the CARES Act, the Federal government has also passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which, among other things, expanded states’ ability to provide unemployment for workers impacted by COVID-19, including workers previously ineligible for unemployment benefits.

New York State has additionally made provisions for the expansion of unemployment which has created a new benefit called pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) to cover previously ineligible workers. Accordingly, there are now two ways to receive payments under the new system in New York: unemployment insurance (UI) of PUA.

If you are traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits, then apply as you normally would. Once approved, you will receive UI for 39 weeks plus an extra $600 per week through July 31, if you remain eligible.

Those workers who are traditionally ineligible for UI benefits can check click here to determine whether they are eligible for PUA. If you determine that you are eligible, apply for regular UI benefits. Once you are denied UI benefits you may then apply for PUA. Once approved, you will receive PUA benefits for up to 39 weeks plus an additional $600 per week through July 31, if you remain eligible.

Those who are already approved for UI do not need to do anything to receive an additional $600 per week. The $600/week payments will begin on April 5, 2020 and are scheduled to cease on August 1, 2020.

To file a new claim, whether you are traditionally eligible for UI or not, visit this website and file your claim according to the following schedule based on the first letter of your last name:

A – F – File on Monday

G – N – File on Tuesday

O – Z – File on Wednesday

If you miss your filing day you may file Thursday ­– Sunday.

In addition to providing expanded coverage, New York has also waived the 7­–­day waiting period to receive unemployment benefits for people out of work due to COVID-19. So, if your claim doesn’t get approved for 10 days, the approval will date back to the day your claim was accepted and you should receive unemployment for the interim days.

The implementation of new laws, regulations, and Executive Orders has occurred swiftly and is difficult to navigate. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us at The Marrone Law Firm if you have any questions or concerns.

Categories: COVID19