President Trump has recently signed several new executive orders that were created to implement the newest economic stimulus package prepared in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s what we know:
The executive order titled the “Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster,” will give a “payroll tax holiday” to employees who earn less than $4,000 bi-weekly. The President’s objective here is to “put money directly in the pockets of American workers and generate additional incentives for work and employment, right when the money is needed most.” This “holiday” – which is currently only a deferral of taxes owed, not a forbearance – is available from September 1st through December 31st. The Treasury Department has been directed to allow employers to defer certain payroll tax obligations without penalties or interest. We’re now currently awaiting the Treasury Department’s guidance on this order, as well as more information on whether there will be an option to eliminate the obligation to pay back these taxes that are deferred.
The eviction moratorium created by the Cares Act expired at the end of July. In an effort to further protect Americans from eviction and homelessness, the President signed an executive order, titled “Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners.” The Order states that “growing and disproportionate unemployment rates for some racial and ethnic minority groups during the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to greater risk of eviction and homelessness or sharing of housing… homeless shelters have proven to be particularly susceptible to outbreaks of COVID-19… homelessness poses multiple challenges that can exacerbate and amplify the spread of COVID-19.” As a result, the President wants to “help renters and homeowners have safe and secure places to call home during the COVID-19 crisis.” This order provides eviction protection through the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was instructed to identify any and all available federal funds for financial assistance to renters and homeowners and take action to promote the ability of renters and homeowners to avoid eviction or foreclosure.
The $600 per week federal unemployment benefit created by the Cares Act also expired last month which led to the executive order “Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019.” This memorandum gives $400 per week of federal unemployment benefits to those who qualify through December 27th.
The Cares Act put federal student loans into administrative forbearance with an interest rate of 0% through September 30, 2020. Since the end of that forbearance is fast approaching, the President signed an executive order titled “Memorandum on Continued Student Loan Payment Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” that would extend that policy through the end of the year. Tens of millions of student loan borrowers were able to suspend loan payments through September 30, 2020. They now can do so through December 31, 2020. Anyone who wishes to continue making student loan payments are able to do so.
If you have any questions about these executive orders, please do not hesitate to contact Bryson Law Firm, LLC.