Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The $2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package signed into law on March 27, 2020 provides financial assistance to families, small businesses, and individuals who are self-employed and independent contractors. A key provision creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that extends unemployment benefits to those not traditionally eligible, including self-employed individuals.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
The unemployment assistance is available to individuals who are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work for the weeks impacted as a result of COVID-19 between January 27 and December 31, 2020. This excludes individuals who have an ability to telework with pay or individuals who are receiving sick leave or other paid leave benefits. There is a maximum of thirty-nine (39) weeks of assistance, where the amount is equal to what is authorized under the state unemployment compensation law, plus an additional $600 per week for up to four (4) months.
For more information, get C.A.R.’s FAQ on PUA
on the topics below and visit the State of California Employment Development Department Coronavirus 2019
- Is PUA available to REALTORS®?
- What are some of the criteria an agent needs to meet to qualify for PUA?
- What does it mean to be unable to work because of COVID-19?
- Since real estate has been deemed "essential", does this mean REALTORS® are outright not eligible for PUA?
- Do I have to be completely unemployed to qualify?
- How much PUA will I get if I'm eligible?
- Are PUA benefits likely to be taxable?
- How long will assistance be provided?
- How are the criteria for PUA eligibility checked?
- Can the EDD audit you?
- How do I file a claim?
- Will there be a waiting period to apply?
- Should I submit my PUA claim now?
- Can I apply for both PUA and SBA loans?
- Can I get PUA if I'm receiving social security benefits?
- When should I expect to receive my first PUA payment and payments thereafter?
U.S. Department of Labor State-by-State Guide to Unemployment Benefit Amounts
State-by-State Guide to Workforce Agencies’ COVID-19 Response
Small Business Administration (SBA) Programs and Provisions
The CARES Act dramatically increased the role of the SBA in efforts to assist U.S. businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The two main vehicles for these relief efforts are the SBA 7(b)(2) loans -Economic Injury Disaster Loans - and the SBA 7(a) loan program. Both loans are available to businesses with 500 or fewer employees that have been negatively impacted by the crisis.
Most agents are likely to be eligible for loans that are being made available through the SBA. The CARES Act makes the following options available to REALTORS® (hyperlinked loan programs):
The SBA has announced that lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020 for small businesses and April 10, 2020 for independent contractors and the self-employed. The SBA will loan borrowers up to $10 million and the actual loan size independent contractors receive will be determined by a formula based on average total monthly income over the prior year. Note: The deadline to apply for a PPP loan is June 30, 2020 and you cannot apply for PPP loans on the SBA website.
C.A.R.’s FAQs on Small Business Administration Loans and how to navigate the loan process.
Direct Payments, Tax Credits, Recovery Rebates and Relief Programs for Employers
REALTORS® and their families, clients and most Americans with incomes below the thresholds will receive cash payments from the federal government in the amount of $1,200 per adult plus $500 for each child under the age of seventeen. These payments should be sent out starting in April.
REALTORS® with retirement accounts, including IRAs, can take early withdrawals of up to $100,000 from those accounts without having to pay the 10% early-withdrawal penalty. Those who withdraw such funds can recontribute them to the plan over three years or can keep the money and pay the tax on the withdrawals over a three-year period.