Information on the Federal Economic Relief Package

On Friday, March 27, President Donald Trump signed into law a $2 trillion economic stimulus package known as the CARES Act to provide relief to residents and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis. Below, please find a frequently asked questions resource that aims to provide clarity on how you or your business may benefit from this bill.

For outstanding questions, please contact the district offices of Congresswoman Katherine Clark and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. All district staff are fielding constituent inquiries.

  • District Office of Congresswoman Katherine Clark: (617) 354-0292
  • District Office of Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley: Phone (617) 850-0040

The New York Times and The Washington Posts have substantial Q&A’s that provide in-depth information on the details of the bill. Paywalls have been removed for both pieces to increase access for readers.

Direct Household Relief

How much money can I expect to receive?

The amount of money that you will receive depends on the adjusted gross annual income that you earn, and how that falls beneath or above income thresholds set for different individual tax filing statuses (i.e. single, married, etc.). You can find your adjusted gross annual income information on Line 8B of your 2019 1040 federal income tax return sheet.

  • For single adults, if you earn up to or less than $75,000 annually, you will receive a one-time payment of $1,200. The amount of compensation lessens incrementally for single taxpayers until reaching the income threshold of $99,000. People that earn more than $99,000 a year will not receive payment.
  • Married couples that do not have children and earn a combined household income of under $150,000, as well as heads of households that make $112,500 or less, will receive a joint, one-time payment of $2,400. Families with children that make under $150,000 a year will receive a one-time payment of $2,400 and receive an additional $500 for each child aged 16 years and under. Payments will decrease incrementally from there, stopping all together for couples that jointly earn more than $198,000 annually.

What do I have to do to receive a relief check?

The relief payments are made through information provided on your 2019 federal income tax return. If you have not yet filed your 2019 federal income tax return, your 2018 federal income tax return on file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be referenced.This may impact the amount of money you receive, if differences in your declared income push you over or under the income thresholds outlined above.

If you don’t file tax returns, but collect Social Security benefits, individual information that is on file with the Social Security Administration will be used.

If you have a direct deposit number filed with the IRS, your one-time payment will be delivered electronically into your bank account. If not, you will receive your payment via mail.

When can I expect to receive a relief check?

It is expected that most residents will receive their payments in three weeks or so. You will receive a notice in the mail after your payment has been sent out with tracking information.

Who is eligible to receive a relief check?

To be eligible, you must have a valid Social Security number, earn below a certain income threshold, and not be claimed as a dependent on another individual’s tax return. Veterans, unemployed workers, individuals that collect disability payments, immigrants with Social Security numbers, workers that hold temporary visas and U.S. citizens that are living abroad are eligible.

Please note, immigrants who are not authorized to work in the U.S. are not eligible, even if they pay federal taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

If you are not eligible but require financial or food assistance to get you through this difficult time, please visit to learn about social programs that may be available to you.

Expansion of Unemployment Benefits

How do I apply for federal unemployment benefits?

You may visit to apply for benefits.

At this time, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is advising residents that have recently lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 public health crisis to wait to file for federal unemployment benefits if they do not currently qualify to receive compensation under existing unemployment insurance eligibility requirements. Since the federal government has not yet issued implementation instructions to state agencies, the Massachusetts unemployment portal has not yet been updated to include residents that are now eligible to collect financial benefits under the new federal law and relief package.

The City of Cambridge will let residents know when applicants may be able to submit for federal unemployment aid through the Massachusetts online portal.

How long will I receive unemployment benefits under this program?

As long as you qualify and are out of work, you will be able to collect federal relief for up to four months.

The package also extends unemployment insurance by 13 weeks, meaning that you will be able to collect state benefits for a longer time period. Individuals that were close to reaching the maximum number of weeks allowed will receive an extension.

How much will I receive under the expansion?

If you are eligible, you will receive $600 a week, in addition to the amount that you collect for state unemployment benefits.

Who qualifies for the expansion of unemployment?

The federal economic relief package offers a lot of support for residents that have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak by expanding compensation to individuals that were formerly not covered by preexisting unemployment insurance eligibility requirements. This includes people that work on contract, are self-employed, use 1099 tax forms or were previously part-time employees. These workers are sometimes known as “gig workers” and “freelancers,” and will be considered eligible for the program through the end of this year.

It should be noted that this temporary program, or the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, is for individuals who have been laid off, furloughed, or are unable to maintain their positions due to the COVID-19 outbreak for a variety of reasons. However, it does not account for individuals that quit their positions for fear of contracting COVID-19, those that are currently working remotely, new members of the workforce that are unable to find jobs and those who are receiving paid leave.


Resources for Small Businesses

How can I apply for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program?

You can apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan through SBA lenders. More information is also available through the Small Business Administration at

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Now taking applications. Small businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Click here for the application.

What resources are available to small business owners?

The CARES Act has allocated approximately $350 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal loan program specifically established for small businesses.

The Paycheck Protection Program will help companies cover business-related operating expenditures, such as payroll expenses, pre-existing debt, essential employee benefits, and rent or mortgage payments. The program encourages small businesses to maintain their workforce, stay open and pay their bills throughout the COVID-19 public health crisis, with the promise that the loan may be forgiven for companies that do this successfully for eight weeks.

The Paycheck Protection Program will provide loans of up to $10 million per eligible business at a maximum interest rate of four percent.

What small businesses are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program?

Small for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations, veterans organizations and tribal business entities with no more than 500 employees are eligible. This also includes independent contractors, self-employed workers and sole business proprietors. Applicable businesses must have been in operation on February 15, 2020.

Page was posted on 4/2/2020 5:13 PM
Page was last modified on 4/2/2020 6:23 PM
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