PART THREE

When a crisis, like COVID-19, attacks us, it is critical to control the things we can amid the chaos. Our communities are currently facing unknown challenges. Even as we make the slow return towards normal life, there will be obstacles to overcome.

The financial coaches from The Lakeway Financial Opportunity Center, a financial empowerment program of Clinch-Powell, have put together information to assist you with addressing the concerns that are arising as a result of the COVID-19 situation, particularly the financial impact this will have.

Lakeway FOC provides services that are so needed during this time: Financial Guidance, Job Coaching, and access to resources. For free individual services call 865-828-5927 or email elizabeth@clinchpowell.net.

Clinch-Powell has been a leader for 30 years in assisting individuals, families, and communities during times of need, and we will continue to serve you through this difficult time. Lakeway FOC is in partnership with Rural LISC.

Contact us today at 865-828-5927 or elizabeth@clinchpowell.net!

Understanding the CARES ActThe CARES Act is the largest federal government funded stimulus package to be offered in history. It is 880 pages of legal terminology laying out how $2 Trillion dollars will be funneled into the U.S. economy to offer relief and support for Americans during this uncertain period in our history. Our Lakeway FOC coaches have read the entire thing and are prepared to help you use the information to your advantage. Full disclosure: We are not attorneys and are unable to legally interpret what is in the bill, but we have pulled relevant information from the bill and other legitimate sources in order to best serve our clients. We are sharing important information that you should be aware of.

Most people will receive a stimulus paymentIndividuals who are single and making $75,000 or less in annual income will receive a onetime payment of $1200.00. Individuals making between $75,000 and $99,000 will receive a reduced amount. The amount received is reduced by 5% or $5 for every $100 earned above $75,000 up to $99,000.

Married couples making 150,000 or less annually will receive a onetime payment of $2400. Couples making between $150,000 and $198,000 will receive a reduced amount. The amount received is reduced by 5% or $5 for every $100 earned above $150,000.

Individuals and/or families will receive an additional onetime payment of $500 for each dependent child who is under the age of 17.

Individuals who receive Social Security or Social Security Disability payments will receive stimulus payments as well.

It is important to note that not everyone will receive a stimulus payment. Those will not be receiving funds are undocumented citizens, adults who are claimed as dependents on someone else’s taxes (college students, for example), individuals who owe unpaid back child support, individuals who have not filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 other than those receiving monthly payments from the Social Security Administration.

Your stimulus payment will come to you in one of two ways:

The preferred way to receive your payment is via direct deposit. Your funds will be automatically deposited into the bank account that the U.S. Department of Treasury has on file for you. This will be the account you last used when you filed taxes, or the account that your Social Security Administration payments are currently deposited into. You do not need to do anything to request your funds. If your account information has changed the Treasury department is setting up a portal for individuals to update their information, but this has not been completed as of this date. The deposits are anticipated to begin as early as April 6th and be completed by April 24th. This is the estimate that the federal government has provided.

You may receive your stimulus funds via check if you did not use direct deposit for your tax filing in the last two years. The Department of Treasury will mail a check to the address they have on file. Receiving the payment via check will take much longer. The Treasury Department anticipates this could take up to 20 weeks. Some families may not receive funds until September.

If you would like more information or assistance taking advantage of the resources that this Act is providing to you. Call 865-828-5927.

Expansion of unemployment benefitsPart of the services provided by the Lakeway Financial Opportunity Center is Employment coaching, which includes assistance with applying for unemployment benefits. As a partner with the American Job Center, we can help you navigate sometimes confusing process. Call 865-828-5927 for more information. The CARES Act, signed into law on March 23rd is expanding unemployment benefits to offer additional assistance to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some key changes to Unemployment Benefits under the CARES Act include:

Changes in who can apply for unemploymentIn order to qualify for the unemployment expansion applicants must be able to certify the following:

That they are able and willing to work but are unable to do so because they have been diagnosed with or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis, if a member of the individuals household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or if they are providing care for a family member or household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 .

That they are unable to work because they have children or other dependents in the household who are unable to attend school, child care facilities, or other necessary care facilities as a result of closures due to the COVID-19 public health emergency which are required in order for them to be able to attend work.

That they are unable to attend work as a result of quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency or they have been advised by a health care professional to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.

Individuals whose place of employment is closed as a result of the COVID-19 emergency or were scheduled to begin a job and were unable to start, or had to quit a job as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency are eligible to apply.

Additional Key Changes to eligibility include:

Allowing those who have already exhausted their unemployment benefits to apply if they lost employment as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency.

Allowing those who are self-employed with no sufficient work history to apply if they are seeking at least part-time employment.

Changes in the weekly benefit paidUnder the CARES Act, the unemployment expansion includes an additional $600 per week above the state payment. The maximum amount that can be drawn in the state of Tennessee is $240 per week. That amount is determined by the number of weeks you have worked prior to your claim and will vary from person to person. But the maximum total benefit under the expansion in the state of Tennessee will be $840 per week.

The length of time unemployment can be receivedUnder normal circumstances, the maximum length of time individuals can receive unemployment benefits in Tennessee is 26 weeks. The Unemployment expansion under the CARES Act increases that by an additional 13 weeks if necessary.

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