Coronavirus Stimulus Package F.A.Q.: Checks, Unemployment and More


Frequently asked questions and advice about life under the coronavirus]

The House of Representatives was expected to quickly take up the bill and pass it, sending it to President Trump for his signature.

Here are the answers to common questions about what’s in the bill. We’ll update this article as we have more answers or if the plan changes as it moves through the legislative process. More information on getting assistance can be found at our Hub for Help.

How large would the payments be?

Most adults would get $1,200, although some would get less. For every child age 16 or under, the payment would be an additional $500.

said that he expected most people to get their payments within three weeks.

If my payment doesn’t come soon, how can I be sure that it wasn’t misdirected?

According to the bill, you would get a paper notice in the mail no later than a few weeks after your payment has been disbursed. That notice would contain information about where the payment ended up and in what form it was made. If you couldn’t locate the payment at that point, it would be time to contact the I.R.S. using the information on the notice.

What if I haven’t filed tax returns recently, would that affect my ability to receive a payment?

It could. File a return immediately, at least for 2018, according to the I.R.S. website. “Those without 2018 tax filings on record could potentially affect mailings of stimulus checks,” the site says.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, according to a congressional aide.

Self-employed workers would also be eligible for the additional $600 weekly benefit provided by the federal government.

What if I’m a part-time worker who lost their job because of a coronavirus reason, but my state doesn’t cover part-time workers. Would I still be eligible?

Yes. Part-time workers would be eligible for benefits, but the benefit amount and how long benefits would last depend on your state. They would also be eligible for the additional $600 weekly benefit.

What if I’ve been diagnosed with Covid-19 or I need to care for a family member who has?

If you’ve been diagnosed, are experiencing symptoms or are seeking a diagnosis — and you’re unemployed, partially unemployed or cannot work as a result — you would be covered. The same goes if you must care for a member of your family or household who has received a diagnosis.

has alreadywaived two months of payments and interest for many federal student loan borrowers. Is there a bigger break now with the new bill?

Yes. Until Sept. 30, there will be automatic payment suspensions for any student loan held by the federal government. It is hard to contact many of the loan servicers right now, so check your account online in the coming weeks. Once you are logged in, look for the current amount due. There, you should be able to see if the servicer has reset its billing systems so that you are showing no payment due.

How do I know if my loan is eligible?

If you’ve borrowed money from the federal government — a so-called direct loan — in the past 10 years, you’re definitely eligible. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, 90 percent of loans (in dollar terms) will be eligible.

Older Federal Family Educational Loans (F.F.E.L.) that the U.S. Department of Education does not own would not be eligible, nor would Perkins loans, loans from state agencies, or loans from private lenders like Discover, Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo. The holders of all those kinds of loans may be offering their own assistance programs.

Within a few weeks of the bill becoming law, you are supposed to receive notice indicating what has happened with your federal loans. You can choose to keep paying down your principal if you want. Then, after Aug. 1, you should get multiple notices letting you know about the cessation of the suspension period and that you may be eligible to enroll in an income-driven repayment plan.

Will my loan servicer charge me interest during the six-month period?

The bill says that interest “shall not accrue” on the loan during the suspension period.

At the end of the suspension, keep a close eye on what your loan servicer does (or does not do) to put you back into your previous repayment mode. Servicer errors are common.

Will the six-month suspension cost me money, since I’m trying to qualify for the public service loan forgiveness program by making 120 monthly payments?

No. The legislation says that your payment count will still go up by one payment each month during the six-month suspension, even though you will not actually be making any payments. This is true for all forgiveness or loan-rehabilitation programs.

Is wage garnishment that resulted from being behind on my loan payments suspended during this six-month period?

Yes. So is the seizure of tax refunds, the reduction of any other federal benefit payments and other involuntary collection efforts.

Are there changes to the rules if my employer repays some of my student loans?

Yes. Some employers do this as an employee benefit. Between the date the bill is signed and the end of 2020, they can offer up to $5,250 of assistance without that money counting as part of the employee’s income. If the employer pays tuition for classes an employee is taking, that money will also count toward the $5,250.

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