There has been a lot of changing information, confusing information, and conflicting information that’s been coming out the past few days about what our governments are doing for us to help us through this crisis, so I will summarize a few things about the pending stimulus that should be of interest to the low and moderate income people that I help. There is basically three things which is the federal stimulus federal unemployment and state unemployment.

  1. The federal stimulus package is going to put $1200 in the pocket of every American who makes under $75,000 per year (based on their 2018 tax return, or 2019 if filed); that amount gets doubled for a married couple, and there’s an additional $500 per child. If a person did not file a tax return, they will only get their stimulus if they received Social Security. But if you didn’t file a return, you’re not going to get the money, so probably a good idea to get those taxes filed as soon as possible. If they have your bank account information on hand, it will get direct deposited there. They are saying this will take about three weeks. You don’t need to do anything to get this, unless you didn’t file a tax return. This has passed the Senate but is still being negotiated in the house, and I expect things to be ironed out within a day or two. Here’s a good FAQ summary.
  2. The numbers as of this morning are that 3.3 million people have become unemployed in the last couple of weeks. Traditionally, self-employed people have never counted in those statistics, but a lot of people can’t perform their profession, so Congress is considering them as well. The federal stimulus package also provides for up to $600 per week of unemployment. Unemployment is administered through the states, so you still need to apply through the state. But the federal money is not only above and beyond what the states separately provide, but for the first time in history, it doesn’t apply just to W-2 employees, it also will applied to self-employed and so-called gig workers, such as Uber drivers, personal trainers, hairstylists, massage therapists, 1099 workers, etc.
  3. As far as the state side, Gov. walls first emergency declaration waived the one week waiting period, and has made a few other minor changes, but neither his emergency order, nor the second appropriation that the Minnesota legislature passed this morning, has addressed state funding for unemployment for self-employed people. The state DEED website says they are waiting for federal guidance. So if you’re self-employed or you know somebody who self-employed and is hurting because of this, particularly because they have ongoing expenses such as rent for their business premises, you should contact your state legislator and ask that the state unemployment be temporarily amended to mirror what the federal government is doing, if that doesn’t happen automatically by federal law or rule.

So this is it as of today March 27, 2020 things are rapidly changing, and this information might be outmoded within a few days.