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CARES Act Benefits

CARES Act Benefits

The CARES Act, passed by Congress in the wake of the coronavirus and its economic impact, authorizes payments to households of up to $1,200 per adult for individuals whose income was less than $99,000, as well as $500 per child under 17 years old. The maximum benefit for a family of four is $3,400.

These payments will be made by the IRS using information from your 2018 or 2019 tax return.

  • If you have already filed taxes for either of these years, you can check on the status of your payment through this website. This page is overwhelmed with a high volume of requests, so it may take time to access.
  • If you have NOT filed taxes, the United States Treasury has launched a website for individuals to provide their information to the IRS online, which can be accessed here. The website will ask you to provide the following information: 
    • Full name, current mailing address and an email address
    • Date of birth and valid Social Security number
    • Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one
    • Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one
    • Driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one
    • For each qualifying child: name, Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse
  • If you receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Social Security retirement benefits, information from your Social Security benefits statement will be used to generate your payment if you did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. You do not need to submit additional documentation. You will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as you usually receive your monthly payments.
  • If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and have no qualifying children, you do not need to take action to receive the $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. The payments will be issued to you automatically using the same means as your monthly payments (e.g., direct express or bank deposit, or paper check). The Treasury anticipates these automatic payments no later than early May.
    • SSI recipients who have qualifying children under age 17, however, should not wait for their automatic $1,200 individual payment. They should now go to the IRS’s webpage and visit the “Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info” section to provide their information. If SSI beneficiaries in this group do not provide their information to the IRS soon, they will have to wait until later to receive their $500 payment per qualifying child.

For more information about the Economic Impact Payment, read this FAQ document from The Legal Aid Society. For additional assistance, Legal Aid’s Access to Benefits (A2B) Helpline 888-663-6880 is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Accessing Unemployment Benefits

  • New York State Unemployment Benefits

You can apply for unemployment benefits online. In New York State, unemployment benefits include weekly payments up to 26 weeks, with a minimum payment of $104 and a maximum of $504 per week in 2020. Extended benefits are enabled when unemployment reaches significant levels in the state and become available to workers after their unemployment benefits have run out. Extended benefits can be authorized for between 13 and 20 weeks and will pay each person their typical weekly amount. No additional application is necessary for extended benefits – recipients will be notified by the NYS Department of Labor if the program is authorized.

  • CARES Act Unemployment Benefits

The CARES Act provides an additional $600 per week for each recipient of unemployment benefits or access to an additional benefit for those not typically eligible for unemployment benefits called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), for up to four months. These benefits will be available in New York State April 4, 2020 through July 31, 2020.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a temporary program that provides financial assistance to individuals not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits, including individuals who are self-employed, independent contractors, those working in the gig economy, and freelancers who have lost employment as a result the coronavirus. You can find a full list of qualification guidelines for PUA on the Department of Labor’s website.

New York State residents who were already approved for unemployment benefits prior to the coronavirus, as well as those individuals who are approved for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), will automatically receive the additional $600 per week. If you are not yet receiving unemployment benefits but believe you may be eligible for PUA, you must first submit an application for unemployment benefits through the New York State Department of Labor.

You can apply for unemployment benefits online through a new online system, although calls are still accepted. The information listed here does not include all of the details relevant to each applicant’s case or circumstances. Additional information and details can be found on the New York State Department of Labor’s website.