Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, new programs have been established by Congress to offer support for individuals and small businesses:
1) Individual payments: Under the CARES Act, millions of Americans will receive direct payments from the IRS for those who filed federal income tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Single adults will receive up to $1,200, joint filers will receive up to $2,400, and up to $500 for each child under 17. Benefits phase out (reduced by $5 for every additional $100 of income) at $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for join filers. The payments will be delivered automatically by electronic direct deposit or mailed check. Currently the US Treasury Department expects most people will receive their payments by April 17th. More information is here.
2) Expanded unemployment insurance: the CARES Act expands unemployment benefits in two ways. First, for those who are eligible for Illinois Unemployment Insurance, you will now receive additional money in your benefit (an additional $600 per week) and your eligibility period has been extended by 13 weeks. Previously, Illinois unemployment insurance had waived the waiting period, redefined "actively searching for work," and expanded to cover those who are unable to work because they must care for someone else. Details on the Illinois Unemployment Insurance program are here.
Second, Disaster Unemployment Assistance is being established for those who don't traditionally qualify for unemployment insurance (including self-employed, freelance, and gig workers). Information is not yet available, but will be included on the Illinois Department of Employment Security website when they are available.
3) Student Loans: Payments and interest on federal student loans are suspended until September 30th.
4) Retirement Accounts: In 2020, you do not need to take a minimum required disbursement. You can also withdraw up to $100,000 without the 10% penalty for outbreak related costs (for example if you, a spouse, or dependent test positive or another negative economic consequence of the pandemic). You can spread out income tax on that withdrawal over three years and you can redeposit that money within three years without usual restrictions on large contributions.
5) Renters & Homeowners: Illinois has suspended evictions in Executive Order 2020-10 until April 7th. Illinois is also discouraging utility shutoffs until May 1. Details from the Illinois Commerce Commission on utilities are here.
Under the CARES Act all federally backed mortgages (including those issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are not allowed to be foreclosed upon and are eligible for mortgage forbearance. More details from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau are here. You can check if your mortgage is held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac with these links.
Many other mortgage companies are also offering temporary relief on mortgage payments. Please contact your mortgage servicer directly.
Property tax notices and appeals are suspended temporarily. Please contact the Cook County Assessor's Office for more information.
Tax delinquent property auctions have also been suspended. You can read more from the Cook County Treasurer's Office here.
Small Businesses & Nonprofits
1) Paycheck Protection Loans: This program provides cash-flow assistance through federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll. If an employer maintains their payroll, the loans will be forgiven. Loans are available to businesses (including nonprofits) with fewer than 500 employees who have been impacted by COVID-19 between 2/15 and 6/30. Loans are available for up to 250% of your payroll costs. Additional information is here.
2) Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants: Grants for an emergency advance of $10,000 for small business and nonprofits (with fewer than 500 employees) who have also applied for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. First apply for the EIDL and then request the Economic Injury Grant. The grant does not need to be repaid and can be used for payroll costs, production costs, debts, rent, or mortgage payments. More information on the loans and additional grants are here.