COVID-19 Resource Series | Individuals and Families

Updated: 2 days ago


The Florida House Majority Office is publishing a series of sector-specific resource blog posts and downloadable documents to aid constituents in understanding the support available to them during the coronavirus crisis. This post contains information and resources for individuals and families. Download the PDF version here.

CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF, AND ECONOMIC SECURITY (CARES) ACT

Economic Relief

Provides tax-free direct cash payments through refundable tax credits:

  • Couples with a filing status of “married filing jointly” and adjusted gross income up to $150,000 will receive $2,400, plus an additional $500 for each child under age 17 claimed on the tax return.

  • Individuals with a filing status of “single” or “married filing separately” and adjusted gross income up to $75,000 will receive $1,200, plus an additional $500 for each child under age 17 claimed on the tax return.

  • Individuals with a filing status of “head of household” and adjusted gross income up to $112,500 will receive $1,200, plus an additional $500 for each child under the age of 17 claimed on the tax return.

  • For filers with incomes above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000 / $112,500 / $150,000 thresholds.

  • Single or married-filing-separately filers with adjusted gross income exceeding $99,000, married-filing-jointly filers with adjusted gross income exceeding $198,000, and head-of-household filers with adjusted gross income exceeding $136,500 who do not claim children under the age of 17 are not eligible.

  • Social Security recipients, disability (SSDI) recipients, survivor benefit recipients, and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are also eligible and will not be required to file a return.


New or Supplemental Unemployment Assistance

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provides an additional $600 per week to any individual eligible under Florida law for Reemployment Assistance. This benefit is available for weeks claimed March 29 to July 31, 2020, in addition to the regular benefits provided under Florida law to individuals.

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) allows for an additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular Reemployment Assistance benefits, in addition to the FPUC funding. This means eligible claimants may collect unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than under normal circumstances. PEUC will provide individuals with up to $275 in weekly benefits.*Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is currently working to distribute these funds to eligible individuals and will be providing more information. This funding is subject to federal withholding taxes.*

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to $275 benefit per week to those not ordinarily eligible for Reemployment Assistance, in addition to the FPUC funding. This includes individuals who are self-employed or contract employees. *Florida DEO is currently working to distribute these funds to eligible individuals and will be providing more information*


Protecting Housing

Provides relief for homeowners:


Moratorium on foreclosures: Lenders and servicers of federally backed mortgage loans are prohibited from beginning a foreclosure and from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale during the 60-day period from March 18 through May 17, 2020. For assistance with finding out whether a homeowner has a federally backed mortgage, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/how-can-i-tell-who-owns-my-mortgage-en-214/.


Forbearance: Regardless of delinquency status, a borrower has the right to request forbearance up to 180 days and right to request an extension of the forbearance for up to an additional 180 days.

o Interest still accrues during the period of forbearance.

o No additional fees, no penalties, and no additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts).

o No documentation required other than contacting the loan servicer and letting them know you have a pandemic-related hardship.

o Before electing the forbearance, borrowers should make sure they understand how the following will be handled:

  • How the borrower will repay the amounts that were subject to forbearance: Lump sum either after the forbearance period ends or at the end of the loan term? Additional payments added to the end of the mortgage (i.e., extension of the loan term)? Higher monthly payments for a period of time after the forbearance period ends?

  • How the forbearance will affect the portion of payments related to property taxes, homeowners insurance, and mortgage insurance.

The CARES Act also provides for a forbearance for federally backed multifamily mortgage loans where the residential real property is designed for occupancy of five or more families.

Provides relief for renters in the form of a moratorium on evictions:

  • A borrower of a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan who elects forbearance under the CARES Act is prohibited, for the period of the forbearance, from:

  • Evicting or initiating the eviction of a tenant solely for non-payment of rent or other charges.

  • Charging any late fees, penalties, or other charges to a tenant for late payment of rent.

  • Issuing a notice to vacate. After the forbearance period ends, the borrower may issue at least a 30-day notice to vacate.

  • The landlord of a property that has a federally backed mortgage loan, has a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan, or receives certain types of federal support is prohibited, until July 25, from:

  • Evicting or initiating the eviction of a tenant solely for non-payment of rent or other charges.

  • Charging any late fees, penalties, or other charges to a tenant for late payment of rent.

  • Issuing a notice to vacate. After July 25, the landlord may issue at least a 30-day notice to vacate.

Additional Relief

  • Suspends penalties for withdrawing up to $100,000 from certain retirement accounts.

  • Allows a high-deductible health plan with a health savings account to cover telehealth services prior to a patient reaching the deductible.

  • Provides $3.5 billion in emergency funding to states to supplement child care serving low-income families.

FLORIDA RESOURCES


Reemployment/Unemployment Assistance in Florida

The State of Florida provides temporary, partial income replacement benefits and job assistance resources to unemployed workers who qualify for the program, as well as additional federal benefits (described above).


To be eligible for traditional Reemployment Assistance:

  • You must have lost your job through no fault of your own, so you must not have quit for personal reasons or been terminated for misconduct;

  • You must be totally or partially unemployed;

  • You must have a minimum amount of wages earned in what is called the "base period," which is the first 12 months of the past 15 months from when you filed your claim;

  • Normally, you must be able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work to be eligible. This work search requirement is waived for individuals requesting benefits for the weeks of March 15 to May 30, 2020.


2020 Claim Maximums for Traditional Florida Reemployment Assistance: 12 weeks

  • Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA): $275 (plus $600 per week under FPUC, described above)

  • Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA): $3,300


The standard Reemployment Assistance benefits application will be used as the starting point for all individuals whose ability to work has been negatively impacted by efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. An application can be filed online at www.Floridajobs.org/COVID-19.

  • In order to improve the Department of Economic Opportunity’s ability to process current applications quicker, this online platform is unavailable nightly from 8 p.m. – 7 a.m. for necessary maintenance.


You will be notified if there is additional paperwork or information needed for the Reemployment Assistance team to completely review and process your application.


However, you will need to complete a subsequent application for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The CONNECT system will prompt you to fill out a PUA application if you are determined ineligible for regular Reemployment Assistance benefits.


An additional application will need to be filled out for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), as provided under the CARES Act. If your state Reemployment Assistance benefits have been exhausted, you will then be prompted to file a PEUC application in CONNECT for up to an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits.

Additional ways to apply for Reemployment Assistance:

  • CareerSource locations across the state are providing paper applications and assisting with submissions. Visit www.CareerSourceFlorida.com for information and locations.

  • FedEx Offices across Florida are offering free printing and mailing of Reemployment Assistance paper applications. Visit floridahousemedia.gov/post/fedex-how-to for instructions on how to find a FedEx Office near you.

  • Applications can be downloaded at www.FloridaJobs.org/COVID-19. Once the application is complete, individuals should mail them to:

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

P.O. Box 5350

Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350


Waivers:

  • The one-week waiting period has been waived, so individuals can claim their first week of Reemployment Assistance faster.

  • Certain work search and work registration requirements have been waived, so individuals filing for Reemployment Assistance are not required to register in Employ Florida or submit information on a biweekly basis regarding the employers that they contacted each week while the state mitigates the spread of COVID-19.


To access the State Reemployment Assistance Claims Dashboard with data on claims submitted, processed and paid, visit http://lmsresources.labormarketinfo.com/covid19/index.html


For more information, please refer to this Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide from DEO: www.floridajobs.org/docs/default-source/reemployment-assistance-center/new-individual-faq-includes-cares-act-final.pdf?sfvrsn=5f2547b0_16


Mortgage Foreclosure and Eviction Relief

On April 2, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 2020-94. The order provides relief from mortgage foreclosure and suspends evictions due to nonpayment of rent for 45 days from the date of the executive order, including any extensions. Assuming no extension of the executive order, this protection runs through May 17.

On May 14, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 2020-121. The order extends the original executive order until June 2, 2020.

Extension of Driver License Expiration Date and Delinquent Fee Waivers

On April 30, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Rhodes issued an emergency order that extends the effective period of driver licenses and identification cards with expiration dates of May 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020, for 30 days. The order also waives the delinquent renewal fees during the extension period for these driver licenses and identification cards.


Property Tax Payment Extension

On March 26, Department of Revenue Executive Director Zingale issued an emergency order extending the final due date for property tax payments for the 2019 tax year, from March 31 to April 15.

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