COVID-19 Resources

This page provides information about economic resources for workers, job seekers, and employers who may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be updated as more information and resources become available.

For information on best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and what do to if you’re sick, please visit the Information on the Coronavirus page.

Summary of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Last Updated: August 13, 2020

 

Contents
  • Resources for unemployed workers
    • Includes information on expanded Unemployment Insurance
       
  • Resources for people currently working
    • Information on workplace compensation, new federal requirements for paid sick leave and paid family leave
       
  • Resources for students and educators
    • Information on work study, federal aid eligibility, student loans, and Teacher Loan Forgiveness
       
  • Resources everyone can use
    • Information on recovery payments ($1,200 direct payments to individuals), changes to retirement withdrawals, new charitable contribution rules, mortgage and rent, and food assistance
       
  • Resources for employers
    • Information on the Paycheck Protection Program, Small Business Administration loans, paid sick leave and paid family leave mandates, new tax credits, and more

Resources for unemployed workers

  • Unemployment Insurance: The Oregon Employment Department provides Unemployment Insurance benefits to most workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. To file an initial Unemployment Insurance claim, visit the Oregon Employment Department’s Online Claim System and follow instructions to file your new claim.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides a temporary compensation of $600 a week for any worker eligible for state or federal Unemployment Compensation benefits. This $600 a week Unemployment Compensation is paid in addition to and at the same time (but not necessarily in the same check) as regular state Unemployment Compensation benefits; if you’ve already applied for Unemployment, you do not need to reapply for the additional compensation. This additional payment does not affect eligibility for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program and is only available through July 25, 2020.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a program created through the CARES Act that provides unemployment benefits to workers who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits, so long as their unemployment was connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes people who are self-employed, independent contractors, and those who do not have enough recent earnings to receive regular unemployment benefits.
     
  • Visit the Oregon Employment Department’s Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUA) website to submit a PUA application and weekly PUA certification forms, and to learn more about eligibility.
     
  • Note: if you are seeking PUA benefits and have previously applied for regular Unemployment Insurance, you do not need to file a weekly claim for regular Unemployment Insurance. You should, however, continue to submit a weekly PUA certification form.
    • See FAQ on PUA below for more information.
       
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): The CARES Act permits States to provide an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to workers who need beyond what is provided for in state and federal law. This equates up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits in total. Federal law requires an application to receive PEUC benefits.
  • Current Unemployment Insurance in-person meeting requirements: If you are sick with COVID-19, call your WorkSource Oregon center to ask about alternative options for completing your appointments.
     

FAQs for self-employed, contract workers, gig workers, and people who could not start work due to COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions for workers and job seekers related to Unemployment Insurance

 

Resources for people currently working

 

  • Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave: The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides for up to two weeks of fully-paid emergency sick leave to self-quarantine, seek a diagnosis, or receive treatment for COVID-19. Two weeks of paid emergency sick leave, at two-thirds pay, is available to employees caring for a family member due to COVID-19. Eligible employees are those at companies with fewer than 500 employees, local, state, and federal government employees, and employees who work under a multiemployer collective agreement. The Department of Labor has provided guidance for non-federal employees and for federal employees.
    • The Department of Labor has also created an interactive tool to determine paid leave eligibility.

 

  • Federal Paid Family Leave: The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act also provides for 12 weeks of job-protected leave for employees to take care of a minor child in the event of the closure of the child’s school or place of childcare. The 12 weeks of job-protected leave include two weeks of unpaid leave, followed by 10 weeks of paid leave at two-thirds the employee’s usual pay. Employees can overlap the first two unpaid weeks with two weeks of emergency paid sick leave. Eligible employees are those at companies with fewer than 500 employees, local, state, and government employees, and employees who work under a multiemployer collective agreement. The Department of Labor has provided guidance for non-federal employees and for federal employees.
    • The Department of Labor has also created an interactive tool to determine paid leave eligibility.

 

  • Sick Leave: The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries issues guidance related to Oregon’s sick time and other leave time laws.

 

  • Student loan repayment from employers: For the remainder of 2020, employees may exclude employer-provided student loan debt repayment of up to $5,250 from their income.

 

Resources for students and educators

·      Student loan payment deferral: The federal Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires the Secretary of Education to defer student loan payments, principal and interest, through September 30, 2020. These deferred payments only apply to federally-owned loans.

 

·      Work study: The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allows higher education institutions to issue work-study payments as a lump sum or in payments similar to paychecks to students who are unable to work due to workplace closures related to COVID-19.

 

·      Leaving school due to COVID-19: For students who left an institution of higher education early due to COVID-19, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides protections. First, it excludes the term from counting negatively toward lifetime subsidized loan eligibility, or Pell Grant eligibility. The CARES Act also states that students who left their institutions are not required to return Pell Grants or federal student loans. Finally, the student’s grades do not affect a student’s federal academic requirements to continue to receive Pell Grants or student loans.

 

·       TEACH Grant or Teacher Loan Forgiveness: For educators who could not finish their year of teaching service as a result of COVID-19, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allows for their partial year of service to be counted as a full year of service toward TEACH grant obligations or Teacher Loan Forgiveness. The CARES Act also waives a requirement that educators must serve consecutive years of teaching service for Teacher Loan Forgiveness eligibility, if a teacher’s service is not consecutive as a result of COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions for students and educators

 

Resources everyone can use

  • Economic Impact Payments: The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides for a one-time payment of up to $1,200 to individuals ($2,400 for married couples) and $500 per child. The full payment is available to individuals with up to $75,000 of income ($150,000 for married couples and $112,500 for heads of households). The payment is reduced for those with incomes between $75,000 and $99,000 ($150,000 and $198,000 for married couples and $112,500 and $146,500) and eliminated above those income levels. Taxpayers are required to have Social Security Numbers to receive the benefit. Payments will be delivered automatically. For more information, visit the Internal Revenue Service’s Coronavirus webpage.
     

Filing Status

Potential Payment

Maximum Payment Until

No Payment After

Single, No Children

$1,200

$75,000

$99,000

Head of Household, 1 Child

$1,700

$112,500

$146,500

Head of Household, 2 Children

$2,200

$112,500

$156,500

Joint Filers, No Children

$2,400

$150,000

$198,000

Joint Filers, 1 Child

$2,900

$150,000

$208,000

Joint Filers, 2 Child

$3,400

$150,000

$218,000

 

  • Non-filers registering for Economic Impact Payments: The Internal Revenue Service has launched a web tool allowing people who did not file taxes in 2018 or 2019 to quickly enter in their information to determine eligibility, payment amount, and then send the payment. You will need to provide basic information including Social Security number, name, address, and dependents.
    • Available in Spanish here.

 

 

Check Economic Impact Payment status: The Internal Revenue Service has also launched a “Get My Payment” web tool allowing individuals to check the status of their economic impact payment. To check the status of your payment, you will need to enter basic information such as Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Mailing Address. The IRS has said a Spanish version of the “Get My Payment” tool is expected in a few weeks.

 

  • Treasury Department COVID-19 scams: To learn about and report coronavirus-related IRS scams, visit the dedicated webpage on the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s website. The Internal Revenue Service does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information, even about Economic Impact Payments.

 

  • Special rules for retirement fund withdrawals: If you need to withdraw money from your retirement fund for coronavirus-related purposes, you may be able to withdraw up to $100,000 of distributions that you made on or after January 1, 2020 without being subject to the 10 percent early withdrawal tax. The income from such withdrawal is subject to tax over three years and you may recontribute these funds to an eligible retirement plan within three years without counting toward that year’s cap on contributions.

 

  • Temporary Waiver of Required Minimum Distribution Rules: Certain defined contribution plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) require a minimum distribution from the plans and accounts when individuals reach age 72. Given the market downturn associated with COVID-19, required minimum distributions for 2020 are waived, allowing individuals to keep funds in their retirement plans.

 

  • Tax deduction for charitable contributions: There is a temporary one-year charitable tax deduction of up to $300 that is available to taxpayers who claim the standard deduction when filing taxes.

 

  • Enhanced charitable deduction for taxpayers who itemize: Individuals who itemize their taxes are now able to deduct up to 100% of their charitable contributions in 2020, rather than the usual 50% limitation.

 

  • Federal tax payment deadline extension: The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service has extended the filing deadline to July 15, 2020.
    • The State of Oregon has also extended its state income tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020.

 

  • Prohibition of foreclosures on all federally-backed mortgage loans: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides up to 180 days of forbearance for borrowers of a federally-backed mortgage loan who have experienced a financial hardship related to COVID-19. Applicable mortgages included those purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insured by HUD, VA, or USDA, or directly made by USDA. This prohibition ends on the termination date of the COVID-19 national or December 31, 2020, whichever comes earlier.

 

  • Renter protections: Through July 25, 2020, landlords with mortgages that are insured, guaranteed, supplemented, protected, or assistance in any way by HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the rural housing voucher program, or the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 are prohibited from initiating legal action to recover possession of a rental unit or to charge fees, penalties, or other charges to the tenant related to nonpayment of rent.

 

  • SNAP (Food Stamps): The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, ensures that Americans receive the food they need, especially if they are newly unemployed. These programs have received increased investments to ensure that your family can put food on the table. You can find out if you are eligible and apply for SNAP through the Oregon Department of Human Services website.

 

  • WIC Benefits for Pregnant Women and Mothers: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) provides access to nutritious foods to low-income pregnant women or new mothers. While you normally must apply for WIC benefits in person, the Oregon Health Authority is practicing social distancing to administer this program through appointments over the phone, by email, and video chat. More information on how to apply can be found here.

 

  • Food Banks: Food Banks received over $850 million in funding from Congress to respond to the Coronavirus. To find a food bank near you, call the USDA National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY/1-877-8-HAMBRE.

 

  • Credit protections: Furnishers to credit reporting agencies who agree to account forbearance, or agree to modified payments for an obligation or account of a consumer that has been impacted by COVID-19 are required to report such obligation or account as “current.” This only applies to accounts where the consumer has fulfilled the forbearance or modified payment agreement requirements. This credit protection is available beginning January 31, 2020 and ends 120 days after the COVID-19 national emergency declaration is terminated.

 

  • State Department International Travel Advisory: The State Department advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel at this time due to the impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. For further general information please visit the State Department’s website. For country-specific information, please visit the State Department’s country-specific landing page.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about resources everyone can use

 

Resources for employers

  • Paycheck Protection Program: The recently passed CARES Act stimulus bill included nearly $350 billion in funding for zero-fee loans of up to $10 million. If you are a small business, you can use this funding to provide for up to 8 weeks of average payroll and other costs. Importantly, these loans will be forgiven if your business retains its employees and their salary levels. These resources can be used in coordination with other COVID-financing assistance or any other existing Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program. The Small Business Administration has published information on their website for borrowers and the Treasury Department has collected relevant overviews, guidance, interim final rules, and more on their website.
    • For a list of lenders participating in the Paycheck Protection Program, the Small Business Administration has released a guide, organized by state.

 

  • Low-interest loans for Small Businesses: On March 12, SBA announced it will work directly with states to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19. Small businesses can receive up to $2 million in assistance.

 

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) ProgramThe EIDL provides up to $2 million to help small businesses and most private nonprofits meet their financial obligations and operating expenses. The loan rate for an EIDL is 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for non-profits with up to a 30-year term. The CARES Act provides an advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that apply for an SBA economic injury disaster loan. The Small Business Administration is providing up to $1,000 per employee. Payments on Coronavirus EIDL loans are deferred for one year. This funding will be dispersed prior to the loan application’s approval and does not need to be repaid. Your business can use this grant to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintain payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.

 

  • Debt Relief to new SBA Borrowers: The stimulus includes $17 billion in funding to provide immediate relief to small businesses with standard SBA 7(a), 504, or microloans. Under this provision, SBA will cover all loan payments for existing SBA borrowers, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out an SBA loan before September 2020. 

 

  • Assistance to Mid-sized Businesses: The CARES Act also creates a direct loan program for businesses and eligible nonprofit outfits with 500 to 10,000 employees. These loans have interest rates up to 2% and no interest or principal due for the first six months. Companies seeking aid must agree to a few requirements, including using the loan “to retain at least 90 percent of the recipient's workforce, at full compensation and benefits, until September 30, 2020." The recipient must also agree to not outsource jobs, to get rid of collective bargaining agreements, and to pay dividends or stock buybacks.

 

  • Business Counseling Services for Small Businesses: Oregon’s Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Center provide mentorship, guidance and expertise to small businesses. The stimulus provided these centers with increased resources and training to address COVID-19 related questions. Portland’s Small Business Development Center is operated by Portland Community College and Mercy Corps operates Oregon’s only Women’s Business Center.

 

  • Work Share program: The Oregon Employment Department’s Work Share program may be able to help you prevent layoffs by providing partial Unemployment Insurance benefits to supplement workers’ reduced wages as their hours are reduced.

 

  • Rapid Response Services: Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission provides rapid response services for employers to assist with the development and implementation of a strategy to help affected workers to return to work as quickly as possible.

 

  • Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Requirements: The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires employers to provide up to two weeks of fully-paid emergency sick leave to employees to self-quarantine, seek a diagnosis, or receive treatment for COVID-19. In order to offset the impact to small- and medium-sized businesses, employers are provided a refundable payroll tax credit to cover 100 percent of the cost of emergency paid sick leave wages. There is also a refundable income tax credit for self-employed individuals. These requirements apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees, state and local governments, and employers with employees who work under a multiemployer collective agreement. The Department of Labor has provided guidance for employers and a comprehensive list of questions and answers.

 

  • Federal Paid Family Leave Requirements: The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act also requires employers to offer 12 weeks of paid family leave for an employee with a minor child in the event of the closure of the child’s school or place of childcare. The first two weeks are unpaid, but the employee can overlap this with the two weeks of emergency paid sick leave. This benefit must replace at least two-thirds of the employee’s wages up to a maximum of $200 per day. In order to offset the impact to small- and medium-sized businesses, employers are provided a refundable paid family leave payroll tax credit that offsets 100 percent of employer costs for providing mandated paid family leave. The credit also offsets the employer contribution for health insurance premiums for the employee for the period of leave. These requirements apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees, state and local governments, and employers with employees who work under a multiemployer collective agreement. The Department of Labor has provided guidance for employers and a comprehensive list of questions and answers.

 

  • Deferral in payroll taxes: The CARES Act allows businesses to delay the payroll taxes typically paid by employers on wages. The 6.2 percent tax on wages businesses normally pay would instead have to be paid over the following two years, with the first half due Dec. 31, 2021, and the second half due at the end of 2022. Deferral of payroll taxes is not provided to employers receiving assistance through the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program.

 

·       Employee Retention Tax Credit: The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a new Employee Retention Tax Credit through December 31, 2020. The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by employers to employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, up to $10,000 in wages and compensation per employee. The credit is available to employers, including non-profits, whose operations have been fully or partially suspended as a result of a government order limiting commerce, travel or group meetings. The credit is also provided to employers who have experienced a greater than 50 percent reduction in quarterly receipts, measured on a year-over-year basis. The Employee Retention Credit is not available to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program. The IRS has provided initial information on this tax credit as well as FAQs on their website.

 

  • Retail tax fix: The CARES Act will allow retailers, restaurateurs and hotels to either immediately deduct from their taxes the full cost of improvements to restaurant, retail, and most other property (classified as 15-year property), or allow these costs to be depreciated over 20 years in the case of a real property trade or business.

 

  • Federal tax deadline extension: The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service has extended the filing deadline to July 15, 2020.
    • The State of Oregon has also extended its state income tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020.

 

  • Hand sanitizer manufacturing: If you are a distillery or other business interested in manufacturing hand sanitizer, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is providing certain exemptions and authorizations to permittees who wish to produce ethanol-based hand sanitizers to address the demand for such products during this emergency. TTB is exempting alcohol fuel plants and distilled spirits producers from the requirement to obtain additional permits or bonds to manufacture hand sanitizer. These measures are generally approved through June 30, 2020.
    • Additionally, the CARES Act waived the alcohol excise tax for alcohol produced by distillers that is used for the production of hand sanitizer.


​​Frequently Asked Questions for employers