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How to Get Help from the Federal Stimulus COVID-19 CARES Act

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The $2.2 trillion CARES act will be in effect soon, and almost $560 billion of that is going to help Americans impacted by COVID-19. 

We pulled together some information for you below so that you can find out how to get access to the relief.

Direct payment to taxpayers How to access it
Tax credits in the form of checks or direct deposit in the amount of:
•$1,200 per adult and $500 per child to individual filers earning less than $75,000 annually
•$1,200 per adult and $500 per child to joint filers earning less than $150,000 annually
•$1,200 per adult and $500 per child to head of household filers earning less than $112,500 annually
How? No action is needed for qualified individuals to receive this benefit. Your payment will be directly deposited from the IRS into the account into which you received your 2019 tax refund. If you’ve received your refund via check in the past, you can update your direct deposit information with the IRS here.

When? Although details are still in the works, the Trump administration has promised checks will be distributed in three weeks. 

Who qualifies as a child? Any dependent that lives in your house that’s under the age of 17. No other dependents qualify.

Note: If you don’t use direct deposit to get your refund from the IRS, you’ll receive your payment via paper check in the mail. If you haven’t filed your taxes this year, consider filing or deferring now to ensure the IRS has your current address.

Here’s a calculator if you’d like to estimate what you’ll be getting:


Mortgage assistance How to access it
Mortgage lenders and servicers will be allowed to provide up to 180 days of forbearance (payment deferral) on federally-backed loans for customers experiencing hardship related to the COVID-19 emergency. If you are experiencing hardship associated with the coronavirus and need help with your mortgage payments, reach out to your lender right away.
Student loan assistance How to access it

All payments for federal student loans (FFELP and direct) are deferred through September 30, 2020. Private loans are not covered under the plan.
Contact your student loan servicer to discuss eligibility and options.

Contact information for the top three servicers are listed below:
MOHELA: 1-888-866-4352
Navient: 1-800-722-1300
Nelnet: 1-888-486-4722
Unemployment assistance How to access it
Expanded unemployment benefits:
•Eligibility expanded to include gig economy employees, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors 
•Eligibility expanded to include those who have been laid off or lost their jobs as a direct result of COVID-19
•Amount increased by $600 weekly
•Duration extended an additional 13 weeks beyond the existing 26-week maximum

Contact your state unemployment office directly. Contact information can be found on the U.S. Department of Labor website (select your state, and then the second link “Apply for Unemployment Benefits”).

If you have questions about what Avant is doing to help, check out our COVID-19 Readiness Plan

If you’re looking for more helpful advice about how to manage your finances during this time of crisis, check out our post Financial Tips for Those Affected by Coronavirus.

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