CARES Act: Three Key Takeaways for the Future
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act into law. This law is aimed at assisting Americans with the blow associated with the Coronavirus pandemic, coming shortly on the heels of the March 18, 2020 Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), which similarly seeks to help employees and businesses.
Important takeaways from the CARES Act include:
- Loans for small businesses. The CARES Act provides the Small Business Administration (SBA) with $350 billion to allocate to businesses for purposes of maintaining payroll and keeping their lights on/business open. Businesses may be allocated 2.5 times of their total payroll or up to $10 million per loan. However, businesses must keep employees on the books through June. Payments can be deferred for up to a year, with loan forgiveness for significant portions of each loan anticipated. Any portion of a loan left not forgiven will have a maximum interest rate of 4 percent.
- Additional unemployment benefits for employees. Many employers have been forced to lay off employees as their businesses shut down. The CARES Act provides affected employees up to $600 per week in addition to any state unemployment benefits received. Employees are only eligible for the additional benefit for four months. CARES also provides an additional thirteen weeks of state benefits to eligible employees. Several states, such as Virginia, are freezing the increase of insurance premiums for employers with an increase in claims due to COVID-19.
- Free testing. CARES establishes free COVID-19 testing for all individuals with private insurance. Related treatments and vaccines must similarly be covered.
Federal agencies will be providing additional clarification on the CARES Act in the coming days. Check out our COVID-19 Resource page and feel free to reach out to me to discuss any questions.
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