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Unquestionably, the COVID-19 virus has been devastating for the people of the United States. In an attempt to stop the spread of the virus, many states issued stay-at-home orders that promptly limited or completely ended business operations, harming both the businesses and their employees.
Unfortunately, this attempt to thwart the virus has left many Americans in financial catastrophe.
Even with no business or source of income for employees, many Americans were still faced with paying their existing financial obligations. Having no other options, many found themselves turning to their creditors to seek short-term help to avoid having their accounts fall into delinquent status.
In response, Congress passed a $2 trillion economic relief package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, to help Americans combat the economic hardship faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn more about the CARES Act and how it may benefit you, call Morgan & Morgan today to speak to one of our specialized attorneys.
The CARES Act and The FCRA
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to instruct credit reporting agencies to make special accommodations for those affected by COVID-19.
For example, the CARES Act now requires an agency to report a consumers' account as current if the account holder can satisfy their payment relief plan or any other accommodations that a lending agency has extended to them.
For consumer accounts that were in delinquent status before the accommodation was offered, the credit agency may continue to report them as delinquent accounts until the consumer has satisfied their debt—at which time the account would be reported as current.
However, due to the effects of COVID-19, many lending agencies are running at a lower capacity to comply with government-mandated safety protocols. Consumers need to be aware of how these changes may affect their attempts to make their accounts current under the CARES Act.
More specifically, in most cases, the FCRA still requires credit reporting agencies to respond to dispute claims within 30 days. If those disputes are not investigated within the allocated time frame, consumers can still pursue A Private Right of Action, which means that they can demand that the agency follow the statute.
To learn more about the collaboration between the CARES Act and the FCRA and how it may affect you, we encourage you to reach out to our offices to speak to one of our specialized attorneys.
Morgan & Morgan
Who Will Receive Aid From the CARES Act?
The CARES Act provides direct economic aid for American workers, families, and small businesses, and preserves American industrial jobs. The CARES Act will provide direct assistance payments to those who qualify for help, based on their 2019 federal income tax. If you were unable or have yet to file your taxes for 2019, the IRS will make their valuation based on your 2018 income taxes.
How Do I Qualify For the CARES Act?
Single Filers and Families: Single adults with Social Security numbers and adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 or less are eligible to receive full benefits from the CARES Act. Married couples who filed joint returns with income that did not exceed 150,000 are also eligible for aid.
Single filers who make more than $99,000 and joint filers whose income exceeds $198,000 do not qualify for any benefits.
Small Businesses: Businesses eligible for aid from the CARES Act include: nonprofits, Veterans’ organizations, and tribal businesses with 500 employees or less. Gig economy workers, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed people are all eligible for the program as well.
How Much Can I Receive?
Single Filers and Families: During the first round of relief payments, most American adults received a one-time payment of up to $1,200, while married couples received up to $2,400. Adults also received an additional $500 for every qualifying child.
The second round of relief payments allowed every qualifying American to receive up to $600, with married couples receiving $1,200. Dependent children will be receiving $600, rather than the previous $500.
Small Businesses: Established by the CARES Act, The Paycheck Protection Program, implemented by the Small Business Administration with support from the Department of the Treasury, provides small businesses with up to 8 weeks worth of funds to help with payroll costs.
Also provided to small business is the Small Business Debt Relief Program. It offers immediate relief to qualifying small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, particularly 7(a), 504, and microloans, for six months.
How Can I Ensure My Claims Are Being Properly Handled?
To ensure your credit dispute claims are handled appropriately under the CARES Act, we recommend that you take the following steps:
Document Your Claims:
After you file your dispute with the FCRA, carefully document payment arrangements. This will ensure that reporting remains consistent with the agreement reached with your credit agency, and will reduce the risk of any disputes or false delinquent claims.
Track Your Investigation:
In compliance with the FCRA, after you have submitted your dispute claim, a credit agency must complete its dispute investigation within 30 days. If the investigation goes over 30 days without proof that the agency has made a good faith effort to comply with the timeline, you may have A Private Right of Action under the FCRA against them.
Hire An Attorney:
Hiring an experienced attorney to help you better understand and handle your case can make all the difference when it comes to safeguarding your financials. Your attorney will review your case and fight for you to ensure you are properly protected under the law.
Contact Our Attorneys Today
With the influx of claims due to the COVID-19 virus, we understand that now more than ever, your financial security is of the utmost importance. With over 30 years of experience, our Morgan and Morgan team has managed to help millions with their case claims. We are here to help you.
To learn more about The CARES Act and how we may be able to help you, please contact our attorney's offices by filling out our free, no-risk case evaluation form today.
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