How to Access Government Stimulus Benefits

How to Access Government Stimulus Benefits

Richard Fonfrias, J.D.
Chicago’s Financial Rescue & Bankruptcy Lawyer
Fonfrias Law Group, LLC


The $2 trillion now going to people and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act – is the largest economic aid package of its kind in U.S. history.

Here’s how to access benefits:

Benefits for individuals

Direct payment to taxpayers
Tax credits by check or direct deposit in the amount of …

  • $1200 per adult and $500 per child to individual filers earning less than $75,000 annually
  • $1200 per adult and $500 per child to joint filers earning less than $150,000 annually
  • Lesser amounts will be provided to those individual filers earning more than $75,000 and less than $99,000, and those joint filers earning more than $150,000 and less than $198,000

What you can do…

– No action is needed for you to receive this benefit. – If you have a bank account on file with the IRS, you will likely receive your payment electronically within a month. – If you do not have an account with the IRS, you will most likely receive a paper check.

Mortgage Assistance

Mortgage lenders and servicers will be allowed to provide you with 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, contact your mortgage company.
If you have already applied for forbearance on your mortgage, you do not need to take further action at this time. Your mortgage company will contact you to discuss your options before your initial 90-day forbearance expires.

Student Loan Assistance
All payments for federal student loans (Direct and FFELP) are deferred through September 30, 2020. Contact your student loan servicer to discuss eligibility and options. Here are the top three servicers: MOHELA: 1-888-866-4352. Navient: 1-800-722-1300. Nelnet: 1-888-486-4722.

Unemployment Assistance
Expanded unemployment benefits:

  • Eligibility expanded to include self-employed, independent contractors/gig economy workers, nonprofit employees and others.
  • 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.

Retirement Savings Access Assistance

The federal government is waving penalties and making other accommodations for those who need to access retirement savings early. The learn more about your options, schedule an appointment with your banker.

Benefits for Businesses

Enhancements to the SBA program Expanded SBA benefits to enable more company to qualify for larger loan amounts at more favorable terms:

  • Paycheck Protection Program established to provide loans to small businesses affected loans to small businesses affected by economic conditions as a result of COVID-19 by increasing the SBA 7(a) loan program maximum to $10 million through December 31, 2020.
  • Express program maximum increased to $1 million (from $350,000) through December 31, 2020

Contact your banking relationship manager to discuss how you can take advantage of this program.