Updated Information for Individuals

KCS Wealth (Byline: Katrina Soelter)

April 16, 2020

It’s only been a week since our webinar, yet a lot has changed. Stimulus payments are pouring in, self-employed and others not usually eligible for unemployment are awaiting the new CA online application portal (target date of April 28), and CA has mandated premium refunds from auto insurers. Read on for details!

Stimulus Payments

A large number were received to individual’s accounts on April 15. If you haven’t yet received yours, don’t panic—the IRS has a tool to track the status of your stimulus payment. Click here for the website. You can also use this website to ENTER your direct deposit information if it’s not already in the system. A few important points:

  • You have to file federal taxes to use the tool.
  • You can’t change the bank information the IRS already has (to prevent fraud).
  • If your payment is already scheduled for delivery, you can’t change the way it is paid

Here is an FAQ from the IRS about the stimulus payment. If you receive Social Security AND do not file a tax return, you will automatically receive your payment, per this press release from the Treasury.

Be careful of scams, especially around these payments. You will not be contacted by the IRS by phone, email or text asking to verify your information. The IRS will mail a letter within 15 days (fingers crossed) of sending out payments, which you can use  to determine if you were supposed to receive one and take steps to report any issues.

Unemployment Insurance

California has updated its website and released more information on resources for individuals. See the new website here. If you were terminated or furloughed from a W-2 job and have not yet filed for unemployment , please file a claim ASAP. Here is a step by step guide to filing. After you file, you need to take a few steps to remain eligible. See them here. . We are seeing delays of about 3 weeks in processing unemployment applications, but it will include the prior weeks when you receive it. You will need an EDD number to sign online.

If you are self-employed or an independent contractor, you will have to wait until California launches the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance fund around April 28. This is different from traditional Unemployment Insurance. The PUA fund is for those that aren’t typically eligible for traditional unemployment, such as business owners, self-employed people, independent contractors, and those that have exhausted the benefits under the traditional program. See the LA Times article here. Reach out to your local America’s Job Center of California, as EDD staff and local partners are working together through these centers to help people file for unemployment.

Other New Information

If you are an immigrant Californian, there is a new website from the state to help you during this time. Los Angeles has also developed several programs to assist those in need who are undocumented or otherwise ineligible for federal assistance.

Student loans provided by the federal government are waiving payments and lowering the interest rate to 0% until September. Check yours! Here’s the website from the government.

Rent and mortgage payments are both eligible for deferral. Deferred rent payments will be due after 3 months (or perhaps later; things are still fluid), so it isn’t free rent. This is a good bridge if you are awaiting benefits from one of the above programs, so once you receive the few weeks of benefits delayed by the application processing time, make sure to budget for all of your expenses. If you have a mortgage, reach out to your loan provider immediately to work something out or possibly redo your loan. The deferral is based on whether your loan is federal or private. Federal providers are mandated to apply deferral at your request, whereas private loans are case by case. Here’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau guide to mortgage relief.

Some auto insurers are offering discounts or rebates, see the article here. California’s insurance commissioner mandated premium refunds for the state’s auto insurers, so check on your provider’s website for updates. This is a developing story!