Benefits Available From the CARES Act

Last updated: 3/27/2020

Note: This post will be continually updated as additional resources become available.

What is the CARES Act?

The CARES Act is a $2 trillion economic stimulus to help speed up recovery of the United States economy.

Breaking down the $2 trillion

  • Individuals – $560 billion
  • Big corporations – $500 billion
  • Small businesses – $377 billion
  • State & local governments – $340 billion
  • Public health – $153.5 billion
  • Education/other – $43.7 billion
  • Safety net – $26 billion

How much money am I eligible to receive as an individual?

If you earn less than $75,000 a year, you are eligible for a one-time cash payment of $1,200. Married couples will receive an additional $500 for each child. 

Payments start to phase down between ,000 and ,000 in earnings. Anyone earning above $99,000 a year is not eligible for a cash payment. 

Payments are based on your 2018 or 2019 tax filings. If you receive social security but don’t file a tax return, you are eligible as well. 

Unemployment payments

The scope of unemployment payments have been widely broadened to who now becomes eligible for assistance. Amounts and the length of time you are eligible to claim unemployment will vary by state.

The CARES Act will add $600 per week on top of what a base amount worker receives from their state and will last four months. 

Gig workers and freelancers

Typically, self-employed people can not apply for unemployment but that has changed under the CARES act. A new, temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will allow gig workers and freelancers who lose work as a result of COVID-19 to apply for unemployment assistance.

How much money am I eligible to receive as a small business owner?

For small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, grants and forgivable loans are being made available to make it easier for companies to retain employees and keep the doors open in the short term. 

Emergency grants

The CARES Act has set aside $10 billion for grants up to $10,000 for emergency funds to cover operating expenses.

Forgivable loans

$350 billion is being directed towards the Small Business Administration in order to loan up to $10 million per business. Money used for payroll, keeping employees on the books, or pay for rent or a mortgage is eligible for forgiveness provided workers are employed until the end of June.

Relief for existing loans

$17 billion has been allocated to cover six months of payments for small businesses that already have SBA loans.


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