Below is ESC Local 20’s brief summary of the key areas set forth in the CARES act that relate to individuals, healthcare, government entities, and businesses. 

For the full bill, see CARES Act full text.


On March 27, 2020, The US House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT). The $2.2 trillion stimulus measure is the largest federal response in history aimed at providing economic relief to individuals, States and municipalities, and businesses affected by COVID-19. The CARES Act provides direct financial help to individuals, immediate assistance to healthcare providers and first responders and patients, and support for businesses and distressed industries.



Unemployment Insurance

  • Expands and improves the unemployment insurance program
    • Unemployment checks will be increased by $600/week for four months.
    • Expands the types of workers who can apply. The law covers workers who work for either a small or large business, self-employed individuals, workers in the gig economy, part-time workers and workers with limited work history.
  • Provides 13 extra weeks of unemployment for workers who remain unemployed after their benefits run out due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Mortgage/Rental Assistance

  • Provides up to 180 days of loan forbearance for borrowers of a federally-backed mortgage loan who experience financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Prohibits foreclosures on federally-backed mortgage loans for 60 days.
  • Prohibits eviction proceedings from starting for 120 days on any federally-backed properties.
  • Provides $7 billion for affordable housing and homelessness aid programs
  • Requires any lender who agrees to forbearance or modification as the result of the COVID-19 crisis to submit a borrower’s status as “current” to credit reporting agencies so borrowers don’t face harm to their credit as a result of this relief.


Student Loans

  • Eliminates income tax on student loan repayment assistance by an employer.
  • Waives the institutional matching requirement for campus-based aid programs.
  • Makes changes to work study, Pell Grants, and federal student loans to ensure that students are not penalized financially or in terms of eligibility if they are unable to complete their academic year due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Defers student loan payments, principal, and interest for 6 months for federal student loans borrowers.


Direct Financial Assistance

  • Full one-time payment of $1,200 to individuals making up to $75,000 and $2,400 for couples making up to $150,000. The rebate is reduced by $5 for each $100 of the taxpayer’s income that exceeds $75,000 and completely phases out at $99,000.
  • $500 rebate per child
  • Credits are limited to individuals with social security numbers and those who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • Individuals are not required to take any action to receive a rebate check.


Retirement Funds

  • Waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for any “coronavirus-related distribution.” from an IRA or 401K account made in 2020 up to $100,000 (up from limit of $50,000).
  • Waives the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules for certain retirement plans and accounts for 2020.


Health Care

  • Ensures that all testing for COVID-19 is covered by private insurance plans, with free coverage of a COVID-19 vaccine within 15 days when such a vaccine becomes available.
  • $100 billion for grants to hospitals to cover the costs of unreimbursed health care treatment during the COVID-19 crisis
  • $1.5 billion to state and local governments for the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other supplies
  • $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile for critical medical supplies, personal protective equipment, and life-saving medicine
  • $3.5 billion to advance construction, manufacturing, and purchase of vaccines and therapeutics.
  • Provides $1 billion in funding to purchase supplies through the Defense Production Act.


State/Local Government Assistance

  • $30.75 billion in grants for local school systems.
  • $150 billion to States, Territories, and Tribal governments to use for COVID-19 public health emergency related expenses, allocated by population with a minimum of $1.25 billion for States.



Tax Credits for Companies Maintaining Payroll

  • Provides companies with a payroll tax credit of 50% for the first $10,000 of wages paid to employees while not actually providing services to the company due to COVID-19.


Other Corporate Aid

  • Includes $500 billion in assistance to companies (including aid to airlines).
  • Conditions the law put on these loans and loan guarantees:
  • Bans stock buybacks and dividend payments for the term of the government assistance plus 1 year for companies that receive assistance under the bill.
  • Requires all loan recipients to keep at least 90% of employees on payroll.
  • Includes language that protects collective bargaining agreements from forced changes
  • Only companies who have the majority of their employees in the U.S. will be eligible.
  • Caps executive pay at companies that receive assistance under the bill
  • Requires weekly public reporting.
  • Prohibits businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and Cabinet Members from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs.



  • $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans to the aviation industry
  • Requires airlines to maintain payroll, wages, and hours at least through September
  • Includes language that protects collective bargaining agreements from forced changes if an airline receives aid
  • Prohibits airlines from raising executive pay or engaging in stock buybacks or dividends through September 2021



  • $400 million for election assistance to the States for the 2020 election cycle
  • Purpose of the funds is to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting and online registration, and increase the safety of voting in-person by providing additional voting facilities and more poll workers.