My office is continuing to monitor the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on Georgia's 12th District closely. To all of you on the front lines risking your own well-being for the safety and health of Georgia’s 12th District – thank you.
Georgia has dramatically increased testing capacity, and huge thanks goes out to Augusta University (AU) Health for leading the way. Not only has AU developed their own COVID-19 test that yields results in 48 hours, they have also created a free app that allows anyone in the state to meet with a provider and receive an initial telehealth exam.
After receiving an initial exam, if necessary, the provider can make a referral for a COVID-19 test and the Georgia National Guard will call and schedule an appointment at the closest drive up testing site to the patient’s home. Results will be made available through the app in 36-72 hours.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which I was proud to support in the House, provides financial relief to individuals, businesses and healthcare workers throughout Georgia’s 12th District.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s included in the CARES Act:
How the CARES Act Helps American Families
- Authorizes a one-time Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per couple and $500 per eligible child.
- There are no earned income or tax liability requirements to receive these rebate checks
- As long as a person has a valid Social Security number, they can receive the credit – so this means workers, those receiving welfare benefits, Social Security beneficiaries, and all others are eligible.
- They are eligible at full amount for Americans whose income is less than $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of household, and $150,000 for married couples and reduced for higher income earners.
- Phases out completely at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for married couples.
- Expands unemployment insurance to cover gig workers and self-employed and non-profit employees.
- To check the status of your Economic Impact Payment, the IRS launched the "Get My Payment" tool which you can access here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment
How the CARES Act Helps Small Businesses
- Creates a new Paycheck Protection Program, a SBA-backed loan program to help small businesses pay for expenses.
- Loans taken by small businesses to keep employees on payroll may be forgiven.
- 501 (c)(3)s will also be eligible for this program.
- Federal government will forgive 8 weeks of cash flow, rent and utilities at 100% up to 2.5x average monthly payroll.
- Contact your lender directly about this program.
- For more info on the Paycheck Protection Program, visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program-ppp
- For the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration's answers to frequently asked questions about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), visit https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequenty-Asked-Questions.pdf
- Authorizes additional funds for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (apply at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance)
- Assists our airports by providing $10 billion in grants through the Airport Improvement Program to help them maintain employment and continue operations, as well as $3 billion in payroll support grants to airline contractors
- Provides $454 billion to assist transportation related businesses negatively affected the coronavirus, including port facilities.
How the CARES Act Ensures Access To Care For All Americans
- Increase in Medicare reimbursement rate to assist providers caring for our most vulnerable population.
- Increases access to testing by allowing the Strategic National Stockpile to stockpile swabs necessary for test kits.
- Allows the FDA to quickly approve the use of new medication and treatments.
- Facilitates the use of new and innovative telemedicine technology to protect and contain the spread of COVID-19.
How the CARES Act Directly Combats the Pandemic
- $340 billion supplemental appropriation
- $150 billion for states, cities, localities to fight pandemic.
- Support for health care workers and hospitals.
- Funding for PPE.
- Support for our local responders.
- Funding for the research of new treatments and vaccines.
- Support for small businesses.
- Support our local colleges and universities.
- Support for veteran health care.
- Support for DOD response to COVID-19.
How the CARES Act Helps Farmers
- Provides $9.5 billion to the Secretary to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus by providing support for agricultural producers including producers of specialty crops, producers that supply local food systems, including farmers markets, restaurants, and schools, and livestock producers, including dairy producers,”
- Secures $14 billion for replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).
- Gives $20.5 million to the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee program to provide guarantees to loans made by private lenders to rural businesses, similar to SBA loans for rural communities.
- Grants $100 million to ReConnect, a program to expand rural broadband access, to provide around $350 million to $400 million in loans and grants.
How the CARES Act Protects Homeowners and Renters from Foreclosure and Eviction:
- Prohibits foreclosures on any federally backed mortgages for 60-days.
- Allows borrowers affected by COVID-19 to shift any missed payments to the end of their mortgage, with no added penalties or interest, for 180 days.
- Halts evictions for renters in properties with federally backed mortgages for 120 days.
How the CARES Act Helps Students with Federal Loans
- Federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment.
- This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose.
- More information is available at https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.
Please utilize these resources to find the most up-to-date information in an effort to keep you and your family safe:
- CDC travel health notices can be found here.
- International travel guidance issued by the Department of State is available here.
- State Department and specific country advisories are listed here.
Agency Contact Information: Below, please find agency-by-agency information and contact information.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (here)
U.S. Department of Education (here)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (here)
U.S. Department of Labor (here)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (here)
U.S. Department of State (here)
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (here)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (here)
U.S. Small Business Administration (here)
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (here)
Additional resources you may find helpful:
Please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can be of assistance during this time.While we are not accepting visitors during this time, feel free to give one of our offices a call.
- For farmers whose operations have been impacted by COVID-19: Direct financial relief is available through the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Applications are open now through August 28, 2020. For more info on how to apply visit farmers.gov/cfap
- For more information on paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic
- For seniors on Medicare: Expanded telemedicine will allow you to heed the guidance of public health officials to stay home by scheduling a virtual visit. (AP News)
- For small businesses suffering losses due to the pandemic: Georgia has received an official statewide disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide assistance in the form of SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to impacted small businesses. These loans are available due to Congress’ recent passage of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplement Appropriations Act, which I supported, and which was recently signed by the President. (For more info and to apply, small business owners should visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance)
- For those who have been exposed or are showing symptoms: Georgia launched a Coronavirus hotline: (844) 442-2681. Remember - please contact your primary care doctor, an urgent care clinic, or your local federally qualified healthcare center. Please do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility.
- For agribusinesses using H2-A labor: email feedback or concerns you might have to email@example.com. Also, monitor the embassy websites of countries you are expecting labor from for updates, as well as www.farmers.gov/.
- For companies looking to sell or donate medical supplies, equipment or services as part of the COVID-19 response: Visit https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help for more information.
- For info on Coronavirus products and technologies: Visit https://www.medicalcountermeasures.gov/Request-BARDA-TechWatch-Meeting/
- For supply issues or state level issues regarding operation: Direct these through the National Business Emergency Operations Center at FEMA NBEOC@max.gov. FEMA.gov/nbeoc
- For questions and ideas related to food supply chain: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- For nutrition issues: Stakeholders who would like to be engaged in ideas or distribution should email email@example.com
- For info on what industries the federal government considers critical infrastructure: Visit https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce