If you or your tenants are affected by coronavirus, or COVID-19, it’s important to stay educated on programs offering assistance. These relief programs can help those suffering during the pandemic.
Want more articles like this?
Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox
Financial Assistance Benefit Programs
Financial assistance and unemployment benefits are available to those impacted by coronavirus. Here are some of those programs:
- Small Business Administration (SBA) loans: SBA’s economic injury disaster loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for small businesses. For more information on how to access this disaster relief lending, contact the SBA by email at email@example.com.
- Disaster Relief Unemployment Assistance: Because President Trump declared a national emergency last week, those who lose work because of the virus may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
This legislation is aimed at providing relief for individuals and businesses that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Here are some of the key takeaways as it pertains to the CARES Act:
- Direct Payments: Americans who pay taxes will receive a one-time direct deposit of up to $1,200, and married couples will receive $2,400, plus an additional $500 per child. The payments will be available for incomes up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples.
- Unemployment: The program provides $250 billion for an extended unemployment insurance program and expands eligibility and offers workers an additional $600 per week for four months, on top of what state programs pay.
- Payroll Taxes: The measure allows employers to delay the payment of their portion of 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022.
- Use of Retirement Funds: The bill waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 for coronavirus-related purposes, retroactive to Jan. 1.
- 401(k) Loans: The loan limit is increased from $50,000 to $100,000
- RMDs Suspended: Required minimum distributions from IRAs and 401(k) plans (at age 72) are suspended.
- Charity: There is a new provision that provides an above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions, plus the limits on charitable contributions changed.
- Small Business Relief: $350 billion is being dedicated to preventing layoffs and business closures while workers have to stay home during the outbreak. Companies with 500 employees or fewer that maintain their payroll during coronavirus can receive up to eight weeks of cash-flow assistance.
- Net Operating Losses: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act net operating loss rules are modified. The 80% rule is lifted, and losses can now be carried back five years.
- Excess Loss Limitations: The excess loss limitation (ELL) rules for pass-through entities are suspended.
- Interest Expense Limitation: The interest expense limitations are increased to 50% from 30% for tax years beginning in 2019 or 2020.
- Large Corporations: $500 billion will be allotted to provide loans, loan guarantees, and other investments, these will be overseen by a Treasury Department inspector general.
- Hospitals & Healthcare: The deal provides over $140 billion in appropriations to support the U.S. health system, $100 billion of which will be injected directly into hospitals.
- Coronavirus Testing: All testing and potential vaccines for COVID-19 will be covered at no cost to patients.
- State & Local Governments: State, local, and tribal governments will receive $150 billion. $30 billion is set aside for states and educational institutions. $45 billion is for disaster relief and $25 billion for transit programs.
- Agriculture: The deal would increase the amount the Agriculture Department can spend on its bailout program from $30 billion to $50 billion.
Read more information on the CARES Act in this Forbes article.
What Banks Are Offering to Americans
As Americans face unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic, many banks and financial companies have announced that they will work on solutions for those impacted. This assistance will include fee waivers and payment deferrals. Below is a list of the financial institutions currently working with their customers:
- Ally: Effective March 18th — Defer payments, delayed first payments, defer payment for existing mortgages up to 120 days, waive overdraft, waive fees on excessive transactions for existing customers.
- Bank Of America: Effective March 19th — Refund overdraft fees, defer payments on late fees, defer payments for small business loans, defer payments on late fees for banking and small business customers, defer payments on auto loans, pause foreclosures/evictions/repossessions.
- BBVA: Effective April 17th — Offer loan/line of credit/credit card deferrals or extensions, waive and refund ATM fees, penalty-free CD withdrawals.
- Capital One: Offer financial relief options upon request including limiting fees, providing minimum payment assistance, and offering deferred loan payments.
- JPMorgan Chase: Chase Bank has said it will offer additional assistance to those impacted by the coronavirus.
- Citi: Effective March 9th — Waive fees on monthly services for early CD withdrawal, offer credit line increases and collection forbearance programs for credit card customers, offer hardship programs for eligible mortgage customers.
- Fifth Third Bank: Vehicle payment deferral program, credit card deferral program, small business payment deferral program, waive fees on loans for six months, suspend any new repossession actions, suspend foreclosure activity for the next 60 days.
- Goldman Sachs: Effective March 15th — Waive payment for March without interest for Apple credit card, allow delayed payment without fees for Marcus customers for a month.
- Huntington Bank: Effective March 17th — Consumer payment deferral program, small business payment deferral program, economic injury disaster loans for small businesses, waive late fees on consumer loan payments, waive late fees on business loan payments, will suspend any new repossessions on vehicles, suspend any new foreclosure actions.
- PNC: Will waive or refund fees associated with deposit accounts or lending products, will offer assistance programs for consumer or small business loans, emergency hardship loans at a “low rate” for qualified borrowers.
- Santander Bank: Effective March 23rd — Suspend payments, stop collections calls, suspend mortgage and credit foreclosures, waive early withdrawal penalties on CDs, increase ATM cash withdrawal amounts, offer credit card limit increases, expand payment deferrals.
- TD Bank: Will offer financial relief options upon request.
- Truist: Payment relief assistance for client and consumer loans, waive ATM fees, 5% cashback for qualifying purchases at grocery stores and pharmacies.
- U.S. Bank: Waive credit card fees, enhancing skip-a-pay and payment deferral programs, reduced simple loan fees and personal loan APR.
- Wells Fargo: Offering fee waivers, payment deferrals and other assistance for credit card, auto, mortgage, small business, and personal lending customers. Suspending residential property foreclosure sales, evictions, and auto repossessions.
Medical Leave Benefits
If you have lost wages due to coronavirus, medical leave benefits can help. Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they work for a covered employer and:
- Have worked for their employer for at least 12 months
- Have at least 1,250 hours of services over the past 12 months
- Work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles
If you think that you might qualify for FMLA leave, we encourage you to check out the U.S. Department of Labor’s comprehensive COVID-19 FMLA guide.
Mortgage, Rent, and Utilities Payment Assistance
This pandemic can be a stressful time for homeowners, landlords, and renters alike. Those who have lost wages may be worrying about how they will pay their mortgage or rent on time, and landlords are worried about tenants who may not be able to make rent. Currently, there are bills in motion designed to help those who might have trouble paying mortgages or rent. Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is urging lenders to give breaks to those struggling to make ends meet.
There is some hope in sight for homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage during the crisis: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has put a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for the next two months, starting March 18. While HUD’s moratorium only applies to residential homes financed through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or FHA loans, many cities and states have enacted their own laws. Los Angeles, for instance, has banned all residential and commercial evictions.
Additionally, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has urged mortgage lenders to offer forbearance options for homeowners. As you reach the end of your forbearance period, there are further assistance programs available should you qualify. If you need assistance, ask your servicer what assistance they can provide and what might be available. You may be able to reduce your monthly mortgage payments or receive some other sort of loan modification.
Loan Lookup Tools
In order to qualify for the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, you will need to make sure your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. In order to do so, you can utilize the following resources:
Internet Access Offerings for Those Working From Home
For those able to work from home, but without internet service or who struggle to pay this bill, here are your options:
- Comcast Internet Essentials: A low-cost home internet package for qualifying individuals and households is now available for free for the first two months.
- Access From AT&T: A low-cost home internet package for qualifying individuals and households. It is not special to COVID-19 but is available at a low cost.
Unemployment Benefits by State
If you’re in need of unemployment benefits, you can find your state’s information here:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia