Federal Update – The CARES Act

Congress passed COVID-19 relief legislation last week, which has now been signed by the president. The newsletter we sent out last week contained an overview of the legislation. Three specific parts of that legislation will be particularly relevant to our small businesses and workers:

  • Direct rebates: The CARES Act provides a $1,200 rebate to individuals and heads of households and $2,400 to married couples filing jointly, with an additional $500 for child dependents under 17 years old. For more information, see the fact sheet on rebates in the CARES Act.
  • Unemployment: The CARES Act adds $600 to every weekly unemployment benefit through July 31, extends unemployment benefits for 13 weeks, and opens the unemployment system to those who do not normally qualify for unemployment insurance. For more information, please see the fact sheet on unemployment compensation in the CARES Act.
  • Small business assistance: The CARES Act contains a number of resources for small businesses, including the Paycheck Protection Program to help businesses maintain their employees, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and small business debt relief to those with current SBA loans. For more information, please see the Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act.

The Commonwealth is currently awaiting guidance from the federal government to implement the new unemployment rules for part-time, self-employed, independent contractors, and gig workers. If you are one of these categories of workers, please do not apply until these rules are in place. We will send out an update when we are informed the system is ready to accept these individuals.

Tomorrow, March 31st at 5 PM, Congressman Seth Moulton and Massachusetts SBA Director Bob Nelson will host a Small Business Forum on Congressman Moulton’s Facebook page. This forum will detail the programs that were created to help small businesses and instruct them on how they can apply for assistance. 

Thank you to Congressman Moulton’s office for passing along the fact sheets on the CARES Act from the U.S. House of Representatives. Please reach out to Senator Elizabeth WarrenSenator Ed Markey, and Congressman Seth Moulton with any questions or comments on federal legislation.