Because You Asked: What Are the Latest Updates Regarding Stimulus and Unemployment? April 15, 202

Keeping Up with the Pace of Change:

In normal years, today would be the tax filing deadline, and the end of our long tax season preparation marathon, but of course this year is…different, to say the least. Today is NOT the tax filing deadline, as most people know, because it has been moved to July 15th.  Procrastinators rejoice!

So along with the legislative changes from the end of 2019 that affected tax policy, we also got to deal with a horrific market plunge instigated by the Coronavirus, fears of Coronavirus, and attempts to manage the Coronavirus- all waves of change that at times felt like how I think a tsunami must feel!

Then we began getting news of all the stimulus measures, which created another whole wave of information leading to more questions, and another surge of changes.  There was a headline on Forbes.com from July 2019 titled- “Surfing the Waves of Change”, which seems very apropos of our current situation.

We have tried to be timely in sharing information about all of these changes as we received them, but today felt that we should try to synthesize the relevant information that is most pertinent to our readers now.

When Will I Get My Stimulus Money?

This is a central question for many, and we have learned that the one-time stimulus money has started rolling out. If you filed a tax return in 2018 OR 2019, and were not a dependent on another filer’s tax return, most of you will receive a payment.  It will go into the checking account that is linked with your tax return, around $1200 per person, dependent upon your adjusted gross income (from your tax return).

As a reminder, social security recipients who did not need to file a tax return, will automatically have your stimulus checks deposited to the same account you use for your social security benefits.

Will I Have to Pay Tax on the Stimulus? As far as we know at this moment, this stimulus payment will not be taxed, or have to be reported as income.  We will update this info if/when we learn differently.

Here is a link to the IRS website to answer more specific questions you may have regarding your individual situation: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.  An Important Note: DO NOT use other websites or sources that promise to “help” you get your stimulus payments; there are a tremendous number of scams/frauds already in operation.

Updates About Unemployment Benefits:

We have previously encouraged everyone whose employment has been impacted by the Coronavirus to file for unemployment.  We have had numerous conversations with individuals, some of whom have been reluctant to file, in part due to a negative personal perception about what it means for someone to receive unemployment.  The distinct difference in this situation is that if you have lost your job, whether temporary or permanent, in most cases, hunting for a job at this point in time is not really an option, aside from a few “essential” professions.  These are extraordinary circumstances, and you should definitely file.

In Texas, you can start the process of applying for benefits here: https://www.twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services#applyForBenefits

In addition to state unemployment, which you and your employer have likely paid into for many years, there are additional unemployment benefits currently available.  Here is a good description from TWC (Texas Workforce Commission):

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA)

The federal and state governments have expanded sick leave and unemployment benefits, and have enacted legislation to help impacted independent workers, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors. The Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Benefits will:2 3

  • Provide unemployment to workers who don’t traditionally qualify. The amount will be based on previous income, and will vary based on location and benefit guidelines.
  • Include supplemental benefits. Eligible workers will receive $600 a week in additional benefits for up to four months.
  • Provide extra weeks of benefits. There will be an additional 13 weeks of benefits to help those who are still unemployed after they run out of state benefits. The length of state benefits varies based on location, but the maximum is 26 weeks.

Do people have to apply separately for the federal supplemental unemployment?

  • TWC is taking action to implement the new law and working with the Department of Labor to implement the act while continuing to work tirelessly to process unemployment insurance claims caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • If you are already signed up and qualified for Texas unemployment benefits, no action is needed from you. We will determine if you qualify and notify you by mail or electronic correspondence of your eligibility.

Latest Information Regarding SBA Loans for Small Business:

Our best recommendation is for businesses of all types to work with your local lender/bank that is also an SBA-approved lender.  If you want to go directly to the source, you can go to www.sba.gov.

Your lender will be able to explain the various loan options that might apply for your business, but there are a number of them that can contribute to the survival of your business through this crisis. The application is relatively simple and straightforward, with minimal underwriting and in many cases, no collateral required.  Additionally, some programs like the Paycheck Protection Program, have the option to be forgiven within certain parameters.  It is certainly worth a bit of research. Those who got their applications in early are beginning to receive their funding, so get in line and don’t wait!

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