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Understanding The CARES Act

May 5, 2020

What is the CARES Act?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal bill signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020. It’s is a $2 trillion stimulus package intended to support the economy and consumers people during this public health crisis.

What does the CARES Act Do?

Its components include stimulus payments to individuals, expanded unemployment coverage, and more. The bill provides federal aid to states, including nearly $5 billion to Pennsylvania, in order to meet virus-related costs over the next year.

Stimulus Payments:

  • Under this legislation, eligible adults would receive a one-time payment of up to $1,200, and an additional $500 for every child in their household under 16.
  • Adults who are over 16, but still claimed as dependents, are not eligible for stimulus checks.
  • Individuals receiving social security retirement, SSDI, or individuals who are unemployed are still eligible for payments.
  • Individuals are only eligible for this payment if they have a valid social security number.
  • Individuals who receive Social Security are not required to file a tax return in order to receive a stimulus check.
  • Individuals who do not file taxes may receive their stimulus check by filling out this form from the IRS.
  • Undocumented individuals who are not authorized to work, will not receive those payments, even if they pay taxes.
    • Additionally, a family won’t be eligible if one parent is undocumented–meaning they have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. This includes the payment for children under 16 who are citizens.

Expanded Unemployment Benefits:

  • The legislation expands unemployment benefits an extra 13 weeks, for a total of 39 weeks, and adds $600 a week on top of the state benefits.
  • It also expands unemployment to a number of populations.
  • For more comprehensive information on the new unemployment benefits, click here.

If you need assistance in filing for Unemployment, please contact our partners at Philadelphia Legal Assistance at or by calling 215-981-3800 Monday through Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.