Congress Passes Stimulus Bill


Late Wednesday the Senate unanimously passed the $2 trillion “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act,” that is intended to address the monumental economic fallout that the nation is expected to experience as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The bill, which will likely be voted on by the House today and then signed by the president has been designed to cover various sectors of American society, including families, businesses, nonprofits and educational institutions.


Below are some important highlights:


·     All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) would get a $1,200 ($2,400 for couples) “rebate” payment. They are also eligible for an additional $500 per child. The payments would start phasing out for earners above those income thresholds and would not go to single filers earning more than $99,000; head-of-household filers with one child, more than $146,500; and more than $198,000 for joint filers with no children.


·     People who are unemployed would get an extra $600 per week for up to four months, on top of state unemployment benefits to make up for 100 percent of lost wages.

·     See here for a very helpful guide from The New York Times in the form of FAQ’s on these two items.


·     Nonprofits negatively impacted will be eligible to receive the same assistance as businesses. The legislation also broadens the scope of nonprofits eligible to receive loans, while at the same time removing some restrictive conditions.


·     The package provides more than $30 billion in emergency education funding and includes $13.5 billion in aid for K-12 schools. The bill also makes private schools, including our financially strapped yeshivas eligible for the aid.


·     The stimulus includes nearly $25 billion for food assistance, including nearly $16 billion for SNAP and nearly $9 billion for child nutrition.


·     Health care providers would secure $100 billion in grants to help fight the coronavirus and make up for dollars they have lost by delaying elective surgeries and other procedures to focus on the outbreak. They would also get a 20 percent bump in Medicare payments for treating patients with the virus.


·     Businesses would get a tax credit for keeping idled workers on their payrolls during the coronavirus pandemic, so long as the businesses meet certain criteria. They would get a refund for half of what they spend on wages, up to $5,000 per worker.



Tax Filing Extension


Both the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance have announced that tax filing deadlines have been moved back to July 15, 2020 even if money is owed.



Hebrew Free Loan Society


The Hebrew Free Loan Society (HFLS) has launched a Coronavirus Financial Impact Loan Program that offers up to $5,000 interest-free to residents of NYC, Westchester, or Long Island facing financial challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns. Their regular loan programs, including Health Care LoansSmall Business Loans, and more are also still available.



Suspension of Utility Increases


At the direction of Governor Cuomo, the New York State Department of Public Service is ordering all utilities to suspend rate increases until further notice. All increases scheduled to go into effect April 1st will be postponed.