Benefits Individuals Will Receive from CARES Act

Originally published by: Clark Schaefer HackettMarch 27, 2020

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On March 27, the U.S. House of Representatives passed $2 trillion in emergency aid to address economic and individuals’ impacts of the COVID-19 virus. This legislation, HR 748 “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides significant tax and non-tax stimulus to individuals and business. Below is a brief summary of key provisions. (

Impact to Individuals

Cash and Retirement Plans

  • Rebates of up to $1,200 for single filers and $2,400 for joint filers (with amounts increased by $500 per child). These payments are subject to phase-outs beginning at $75,000 / $150,000 adjusted gross income (AGI) for single filers / joint filers. Individuals who have no income or those who income comes from entirely non-taxable means-tested benefit programs are eligible to receive.
  • A waiver of the early withdrawal penalty for certain coronavirus-related withdrawals from qualified retirement plans up to $100,000. In addition, income attributable to those distributions would be subject to tax over three years and the taxpayer can recontribute those funds within the three period without regard to the annual contribution cap.
  • A wavier of the required minimum distribution rules for certain defined contribution plans and IRAs for calendar year 2020.


  • Establish a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020, to provide payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.
  • Provide an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months.
  • Provide an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020, to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment benefits are no longer available.

Charitable Deductions

  • Allowance of up to $300 of charitable deductions for non-itemizing taxpayers for tax years beginning in 2020 and relaxation of the limitations for those taxpayers who itemize.
  • The 50% of adjusted gross income limitations on deductions for charitable contributions is suspended for 2020.

Student Loans

  • Student loan repayment contribution by the employer for an employee is not taxable to the employee up to $5,250 annual cap for contributions made prior to January 1, 2021.