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Coronavirus

Mission Statement: Throughout the response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, my top objectives have remained to 1) make sure our local health care providers and public health officials have all the resources they need, 2) increase the availability of tests in our community, 3) help make treatments and vaccines available as soon as possible, and 4) mitigate as many of the impacts on families, workers, small businesses and health care providers as possible.
 
New: The U.S. Small Business Administration will reopen its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program portal for all applicants starting on June 15, 2020. Apply here.
 
Small Business Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. More information is listed below and from the U.S. Treasury Department here.
 
Details of the Paycheck Protection Program are listed below and FAQs can be found here.
 
Fully Forgiven
Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
 
Must Keep Employees on the Payroll—or Rehire Quickly
Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.
 
All Small Businesses Eligible
Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors— are eligible. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries.
 
When to Apply
Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. We encourage you to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap.
 
How to Apply
You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating. All loans will have the same terms regardless of lender or borrower. A list of participating lenders as well as additional information and full terms can be found at sba.gov.
 
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 
While coronavirus continues to impact our district, state and country, my office is available to answer any questions you might have. Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions and resources which may be helpful:
 
Families:
Q: I've heard about direct payments from the stimulus bill. How will these be distributed?
A: As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, most Americans will automatically receive a tax refund check for $1,200 as an individual or $2,400 for each couple. An additional $500 is provided for each eligible child. This benefit is reduced starting at income levels of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples. Incomes above $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples are not eligible. Payments will come directly to your bank account through direct deposit. For those who do not have direct deposit, a check will be mailed to you. If you have filed your 2019 taxes already, relief amounts will be based on your 2019 income. If you have not filed 2019 taxes yet, relief amounts will be based on 2018 incomes. Refer to the summary of the CARES Act below for more information or this guide from the IRS.
 
The IRS has set up a portal to check the status of your economic impact payment or provide more information about your bank account to process your payment here.
 
Q: When will I get my direct payment?
A: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receie the stimulus payment. More information can be found from the IRS here.
 
Q: Will I need to pay taxes on the direct payments?
A: Direct payments to Americans as part of the CARES Act will not be taxed. Payments will also not be considered taxable income. Refer to the summary of the CARES Act below for more information. The IRS has compiled tips to help taxpayers understand the COVID-19 relief available under the CARES Act and other recent legislation. You can find these tips for workers, families, employers, VA and SSI recipients, small businesses and others at IRS.gov/newsroom/irs-tax-tips.
 
Q: I am on Social Security and did not file a tax return because I did not make enough money. Am I eligible for these direct payments?
A: Yes, all Americans with a Social Security Number are eligible. The only people who are not eligible are those who make too much money or are in the country illegally.
 
Q: Do I still need to file taxes on April 15?
A: No. The tax filing deadline has been moved from April 15 to July 15. Read more from the NC Department of Revenue
 
Q: With schools closed, how can I access food assistance for children?
A: Many school districts are continuing to provide school lunch assistance at select sites. Refer to your school district for more information. Parents who need food assistance for their children can also text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites. The texting service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877. Parents can also call 2-1-1 to speak with an operator who will help them locate meal sites in their community. The 2-1-1 service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services are provided in English, Spanish and many other languages. Additionally, No Kid Hungry has created a map of local school sites, community organizations and food assistance programs across North Carolina where families can access food. The interactive map can be viewed at nokidhungrync.org/covid19/ [click.icptrack.com] and is updated daily.
 
Workers:
Q: How can I apply for unemploymemt? How long will it take to get a check? How do I go off unemployment once I'm rehired?
A: Individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 (lay off or reduction in hours) may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. The fastest most efficient way is to visit the NC Division of Employment Security website at des.nc.gov or contact Customer Call Center (888.737.0259) to file a claim. Read more information on unemployment here.
 
Q: Do independent contractors and self-employed workers qualify for unemployment?
A: North Carolina independent contractors and self-employed workers out of work because of COVID-19 can apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance beginning Friday, April 24. Read more information here.
 
Q: What happens if someone was laid off or furloughed, but then the employer gets a Paycheck Protection Program loan and the person returns to work?
A: The individual would receive unemployment insurance payments for the period in which they were not being paid by an employer. When the employer re-hires the person or puts them back on the payroll, the individual would no longer be eligible for unemployment insurance as they are receiving wages. Employers report quarterly wages for each employee to the state unemployment agency, which allows the state agency to determine if and when the individual was eligible for unemployment insurance payments. If the individual ends up receiving pay for a week in which they also received unemployment insurance payments, the employer will report this information on the quarterly wage report provided to the state unemployment agency, and the individual will have to pay back the unemployment insurance payments they received for that period. In such a situation, the state will follow their regular practices for dealing with overpayments.
 
Q: Do I have access to paid sick or family leave during this time?
A: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act we passed requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Read more from the Department of Labor
 
Small Businesses:
Q: I'm a small business owner who needs a loan. How do I do this?
A: The CARES Act created a new Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses to receive a loan equivalent to roughly 10 weeks of their average monthly payroll. If the loan is totally spent in 8 weeks on payroll, rent, interest on a mortgage and/or utilities, the loan will be forgiven. Small businesses can also apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, however a business cannot receive both loans for the same purpose and a disaster loan will need to be repaid - for example, both loans cannot be used for payroll expenses. Learn more and apply here
 
Q: All non-essential businesses have been closed in my county. How can I have my business deemed essential?
A: The NCEM Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC) manages the state's process of certifying businesses that are deemed essential. Find instructions at ReadyNC.org
 
Q: What are the best tips to follow while my business remains open?
A: The NC Department of Health and Human Services has laid out guidelines to follow for businesses and restaurants. Read the recommendations from DHHS
 
Veterans:
As Fort Bragg’s Congressman and a voice for veterans, I am committed to ensuring veterans, active duty military and their families have the resources they need to respond to COVID-19 (coronavirus). As part of the response, Congress has appropriated more than $20 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs. More information on the response efforts from the Department can be found here.
 
 
Q: Can I access the VA from home?
A: Veterans can receive care at home — either over the phone or via video using VA Video Connect on their computers, smartphones, or tablets. To set up telephone or video appointments, Veterans can send their provider a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting myhealth.va.gov. Veterans may also call, but VA is requesting that Veterans only call with urgent needs at this time. To learn more about VA Video Connect, visit mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect.
 
Q: Can I still refill prescriptions during this time?
A: Veterans can request prescription refills and order and ship medications to their homes using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill mobile app. Download the app at mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill.
 
Q: Is information I share with the VA online secure?
A: With My HealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal, Veterans can send online secure messages to yourVA health care team to ask them non-urgent health questions. Register at www.myhealth.va.gov.
 
Coronavirus Response Summary:
 
Congress has passed three measures to aid our country's coronavirus response. Read a summary of all three, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, here.
 
 
OTHER INFORMATION
 
Small Business Administration Disaster Declaration: All 100 counties in North Carolina are eligible for Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans caused by Coronavirus. Learn more: Small Business Administration Emergency Loans What You Need to Know.
 
Office Policy: At this time, my offices are open and fully staffed to take phone calls and answer emails. Out of an abundance of caution and out of concern for the safety of all citizens of the 8th District, we will not be hosting in-person meetings at any of our offices in Albemarle, Concord, Fayetteville, Pinehurst or Washington, D.C. However, my staff and I will be available by phone and through our website to assist you as always. Feel free to contact us and find the closest office to you here.
 
U.S. Capitol Policy: The Sergeant at Arms has temporarily suspended all U.S. Capitol tours. The White House and Bureau of Engraving and Printing have also temporarily suspended all tours. Guidelines for constituents who have already booked tours or are considering a trip to Washington, D.C. can be found here: U.S. Capitol Tours to be Suspended.
 
Below, you will find useful information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the virus, as well as travel information and useful safety precautions. To receive regular updates regarding the virus and other important issues impacting our district, please sign up for my newsletter.
 
 
RESOURCES:
 
- Latest information from the CDC regarding COVID-19: here
 
- Information on North Carolina’s response: here
 
- U.S. State Department travel information: here
 
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs information: here
 
- U.S. Department of Justice tips to spot and report COVID-19 scams: here
 
- EPA Approved Disinfectants for COVID-19: here
 
- IRS tips to help taxpayers understand the COVID-19 relief available under the CARES Act and other recent legislation: here
 
NEWS: