As coronavirus grips the nation and spreads throughout the world, it is understandably causing anxiety and disrupting our lives. Our response needs to rise to the occasion - providing health services, economic relief, and reassurance that we can make it through this crisis. Your safety, social well-being, and financial security are utmost in my mind. Thank you for the role you play in helping our community surmount this crisis. Stay healthy.
County of San Diego Coronavirus Website If you want to receive text alerts to your mobile phone from the County of San Diego on the coronavirus, text "COSD COVID19" to 468-311.
As we continue to face this outbreak, my office will be working diligently to keep constituents informed about the virus and to help those who need assistance.
Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus Website
Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
On March 30, the most significant legislation in the fight against COVID-19 was signed into law. This bill, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will support families, help us recover financially, and throw a rescue line to small businesses. Simply put, it will save lives.
Many of you have contacted my office with questions about the CARES Act and how it will impact you. I've compiled some of the most frequently asked questions and answered them below. I appreciate your calls and emails and will continue to do what I can to help.
CARES Act: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who qualifies to receive a cash payment (rebate) and how much will people receive?
A: Anyone who has a social security number and has an adjusted gross income up to $99,000 (or $198,000 for married couples) is eligible to receive a rebate. Single individuals with incomes up to $75,000 will receive $1,200, married couples with incomes up to $150,000 will receive $2,400, and those with children will receive an additional $500 for each claimed child dependent (under 17). The rebate amount phases out at a 5% rate ($5 for every additional $100 of income) above adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for joint filers.
Q: When and how will rebates be delivered?
A: Rebates will be delivered automatically by the IRS. For those who filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019, payment processing will be based on payment or address information already on file with the IRS. Those who receive rebates via direct deposit can expect a payment within a few weeks. Rebates sent via check can take longer and may see a delay.
Q: Do the rebates need to be repaid?
A: No, these payments do not need to be repaid. If an individual experienced an income loss in 2020 or if they have an increase in family size, they may be able to claim an additional credit of the difference when the individual files their 2020 tax federal income tax return in 2021.
Q: Will I be taxed on this money?
A: No, rebates are not taxable.
Q: Can those collecting Social Security or disability also receive a rebate?
A: Everyone is eligible for the rebate payments as long as they have an social security number and their household income is not higher than the threshold explained above. This includes Social Security beneficiaries (retirement, disability, survivor) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. Social Security beneficiaries will be paid automatically, whether or not they filed a return. Others – including SSI recipients who do not file taxes – may need to take additional action to be determined by the IRS.
Q: Will the rebate affect my eligibility for benefits from federal programs?
A: No, the payment is considered a tax credit, not income, and will not affect eligibility for federal programs.
Q: What if I am self-employed or an independent contractor and my work has been impacted by the coronavirus?
A: The CARES Act temporarily expands unemployment insurance to cover individuals who are not traditionally covered, including the self-employed, gig-workers, independent contractors. Additionally, 50 percent of certain self-employment taxes are deferred through the end of 2020. Deferred taxes will not become due until end of 2021 and end of 2022, with 50% of the liability being paid at each date. Independent contractors are also eligible for assistance through the Small Business Administration’s new Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Emergency Grant Program. For information specific to self-employed and independent contractors from the California EDD, click here.
Q: If I already used up my unemployment benefits for the year, but find myself unemployed again due to COVID-19, am I eligible to apply for unemployment again?
A: Yes. You are eligible for up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 as long as your job loss was coronavirus-related.
Q: What support is there for small businesses?
A: $350 billion is now available for a new Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program. The program will provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans will be forgiven. Refundable tax credits are available for private-sector employers that are required to offer coronavirus related paid leave to employees. An employee retention tax credit is available for struggling businesses that are not eligible or choose not to participate in the new SBA Paycheck Protection Program. Any business that has been forced to fully or partially suspend operations, or that has seen a significant drop in revenues is eligible for a 50-percent credit for wages paid to furloughed or reduced-hour employees. The CARES Act creates a new SBA Economic Injury Emergency Grant Program. These grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. For more information about SBA programs and resources, click here.
For a full list of questions and answers regarding assistance in this bill, please click here. If you have other questions, please feel free to email me or call my office.
Testing for Coronavirus
Testing is administered through primary care physicians who must coordinate with public entities to get the test for COVID-19. If you are exhibiting symptoms, please call ahead before visiting your doctor or call 211 for local guidance.
If you do not have health insurance and believe you may be sick, you should seek testing and treatment through a community clinic. Please call first before visiting. For information about community resources, please click here or call the 211 helpline.
Under the recently passed House bill, everyone will have access to testing for COVID-19 at no cost. More tests are becoming available to meet the growing demand.
Thanks to legislation passed by Congress, states will have new resources and flexibility to provide unemployment benefits to laid-off and furloughed workers. Click here for resources for employers and workers from the State’s Labor & Workforce Development Agency.
Resources for Small Businesses
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued updated guidance to help businesses and employers to plan and respond to the coronavirus emergency. To learn more about the federal resources available to help small businesses manage this difficult time, click here.
Coronavirus Small Business Resources Flyer
Coronavirus Tax Relief
We know constituents have questions about tax relief. The IRS now has a dedicated section on its website focused on resources to help taxpayers and businesses affected by the coronavirus. The page will be updated as new information becomes available. To learn more, please click here.
Just because schools are closed doesn't mean learning has to stop. KPBS, San Diego County Office of Education and San Diego Unified School District have partnered for an initiative called At Home Learning: Where Children Matter.
This is a free service.
School Meals During Closures
Schools in San Diego County have closed in an effort to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Several school districts will continue to provide school meals during the closures. To find which sites will be providing meals for students, please click here.
Additional Congressional Action to Combat the Coronavirus
Prior to the CARES Act, Congress has passed two key pieces of legislation to address the coronavirus outbreak.
The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act provides $8.3 billion of entirely new funds. This package:
- Commits more than $3 billion to the development of treatments and a coronavirus vaccine and includes an additional $300 million to ensure Americans will have access to the vaccine regardless of their ability to pay
- Provides $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness and response, including nearly a billion dollars specifically to alleviate the immense financial strain on state, local, tribal and territorial hospitals and health systems
- Protects public health by allowing Medicare providers to extend telemedicine services to seniors regardless of where they live, at an estimated cost of $500 million
- Supports small businesses impacted by this epidemic, allowing for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest SBA loans to those affected
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This bill will help in key areas:
- Free testing for COVID-19
- 14 days paid sick leave
- Help for the unemployed
- School meals during closures
As you may know, according to the CDC, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick
- Stay home if you are sick, avoid travel
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Wear a facemask if you are sick
- Clean and disinfect surfaces daily
If you think you are exhibiting symptoms, please call ahead before visiting your doctor or call 211 for guidance. Click here for more information about what you can do if you are sick. For a comprehensive list of guidance documents from the California Department of Public Health, please click here.
We Have Updated Our Office Policy
Due to the current situation, we are suspending in-person meetings and many of my staff are working remotely.
Constituent service continues to be our top priority. To minimize unnecessary exposure, we have implemented a “no contact policy” as recommended by the Office of the Attending Physician and the CDC. I encourage constituents to contact my office via phone before visiting. If you require constituent services, please click here. If you have any questions, please call (619) 280-5353.