Quick Guide on COVID-19 Direct Payments and Employment Benefits

The following is a Quick Guide on two important benefits intended to help Americans financially during the COVID-19 crisis:

Federal Direct Payments

The federal government will be making one-time cash payments directly to individuals during the month of April 2020 either by check or direct deposit.

  • Individuals earning less than $75,000 will receive $1,200.
  • Married couples earning less than $150,000 will receive $2,400.
  • If you have children, you will receive $500 per child.
  • Individuals earning more than $75,000 and less than $99,000 – and couples earning more than $150,000 and less than $198,000 – are eligible for a lesser amount.

The amount paid will be based on the most recent filed tax return, but benefits may be available for those who were not required to file a return.  The U.S. Treasury should issue web-based portal shortly for individuals to provide their banking information in order to receive payments immediately rather than to await checks in the mail.

Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

If you have lost your job, you may apply for state unemployment benefits. For California residents, please visit www.edd.ca.gov  for more information and apply online at https://portal.edd.ca.gov/WebApp/Login?resource_url=https%3A%2F%2Fportal.edd.ca.gov%2FWebApp%2FHome.

Benefits will be greater than the past as Congress will expand state unemployment benefits to cover more people.

  • Adds $600 per week for four months on top of state unemployment.
  • Adds up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits to those already enrolled but who are nearing the end of benefits.
  • Expands the program to include some workers who are normally ineligible to receive unemployment benefits.  This includes: 
    • Freelancers;
    • Independent contractors/gig workers;
    • Self-employed;
    • Those with limited work history; and
    • Employees who are still employed, but whose hours have been reduced.

Other Programs

Several other programs that may assist you.  More information on the above and other programs may be found here.

Update: April 13, 2020

If you did not file returns for 2018 and 2019 years (exempt), but qualify for payment, you may register for payment at the following site:  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here


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