I am working closely with federal, state and local officials to monitor coronavirus and provide relief to everyone in our community who needs it. Over the last several weeks, my office has received thousands of questions covering a wide range of topics. Here are some of the most common Frequently Asked Questions to date:
Q: I am a Social Security Recipient. Where is my Economic Impact Payment?
Social Security Beneficiaries Who Filed Taxes: If you receive social security benefits, but also filed a tax return in either 2018 or 2019, then the IRS will use your tax return information to distribute your economic impact payment. If you provided bank account information for direct deposit on your most recent tax return, then your payment will be arriving soon if it has not been delivered already. However, if you did not provide direct deposit information to the IRS (even if the Social Security Administration already has the information), then the IRS will mail a paper check to your home address on file automatically. This distribution process has already begun, but the IRS has said this process could take weeks to complete. You can check the status of your payment here.
Social Security Beneficiaries Who Did Not File Taxes: If you receive Social Security benefits and did not file taxes in 2018 or 2019, then there is no action needed on your part for you to receive your economic impact payment. The IRS will distribute your payment automatically via the method you receive your Social Security benefits (direct deposit, Direct Express debit card or by paper check). Distribution to this category has already begun.
You can learn more about the status of your Economic Impact Payment on the IRS’s website.
Q: I have a federally-insured mortgage. Is there any assistance available for me?
As part of the CARES Act, Congress directed mortgage providers to offer relief to those with Federal Housing Administration loans whose finances have been impacted by COVID-19. This included empowering mortgage holders with the option of a 6-month forbearance, which can also be extended for an additional 6 months, if needed.
At the end of the forbearance, you may also qualify for loss mitigation options that could protect you from having to pay your missed mortgage payments all at once, such as the FHA’s COVID-19 Standalone Partial Claim. You can learn more about your options at HUD’s website.
Q: If my unemployment application is approved, will my benefits be retroactive to the time I was laid off?
Yes. If you attempted to apply and were not able to file a claim between the weeks of March 9, 2020 to April 9, 2020, your claim date can be adjusted to the date you originally tried to apply. If you are eligible, you will be paid all benefits due. Click here to request retroactive benefits.
Q: Where can I get a coronavirus test?
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please contact your primary health care provider. They will be able to direct you to testing. Click here to learn more about testing locations in the 18th Congressional District.
Q: I’m a 1099 employee or self-employed. How do I apply for CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?
If you are a 1099 employee or self-employed and applied for unemployment assistance on or before April 4, the State of Florida is requiring you to re-apply at www.floridajobs.org. The system will tell you that you are ineligible for state benefits, which is accurate; however, you are eligible for federal CARES Act unemployment assistance, which the Department of Economic Opportunity will follow-up with you about once you apply. I disagree with the decision to require applicants to re-apply, and I have strenuously voiced this concern to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; however, these are the rules that they have set and now must be followed to obtain benefits.
If you are a 1099 employee or self-employed and applied for unemployment assistance on or after April 5, then there is no action needed. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will follow-up with you once they process your claim. While I don’t control this state agency, if you are having any problems contacting the Department of Economic Opportunity, please do not hesitate to reach out to me for help at 202-225-3026 and I will do everything within my power to assist you.
If you are unemployed and have not yet filed an application for unemployment assistance, then you can apply at www.floridajobs.org and will be considered for all existing programs, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Finally, the following resources are also available to help explain the details of answers to the above questions:
- The IRS website
- Get My Payment Tool
- Direct Financial Relief Frequently Asked Questions
- Guidance To Receive Individual Assistance For Social Security Recipients
- Timeline of Payment Distribution
- Additional Information For Non-Filers
- The Florida DEO Website
- How To Apply For Unemployment Insurance
- Unemployment Insurance FAQs
As always, your 18th District Congressional Offices are open and ready to help. Please do not hesitate to contact the office at 202-225-3026 if you have any questions or need any assistance. You can also learn more and sign up for breaking coronavirus news alerts here.