Government Programs Summary

The following is a summary of some (but not all) of the programs and benefits available due to COVID19 pandemic. This is for information only. Please do your own research. And keep in mind, many of these programs are new, rules and processes will need to be put in place, and many government employees are also working remotely.

Everyone

·       All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 if married) who are not a dependent of another taxpayer are eligible for a $1,200 “rebate,” $2,400 if married. In addition, they are eligible for an additional $500 per child.  The rebate is reduced after these income limits and phases out completely for individuals with incomes over $99,000 and married taxpayers over $198,000 (higher if you have children).  The IRS will use the most recently filed tax return (2018 or 2019) for your income.  Anyone with direct deposit instructions on file with the IRS (from a tax return, social security benefits, etc.) should receive these funds electronically.  Everyone else will get a check.  If you’re ineligible based on 2018 or 2019 income but would have been eligible based on 2020 income, you will most likely receive this benefit as a credit on your 2020 tax return. 

·       For 2020, all taxpayers taking the standard deduction can deduct up to $300 for charitable contributions in addition to their standard deduction.

·       For those with federal student loans, loan payments are suspended through September 30, 2020 and no interest or penalties will accrue during this suspension period.

·       If you are an employee, your employer (until 12/31/2020) can pay up to $5,250 towards your student loans as a tax-free benefit.

·       The deadline for filing a 2019 tax return was moved from 4/15/2020 to 7/15/2020.  In addition, the deadline to make 2019 IRA contributions and 1st quarter 2020 estimated taxes was similarly extended.

·       There is a new exception for “coronavirus-related distributions” from retirement plans and IRAs in 2020.  This basically applies to those diagnosed with the virus, those having a spouse or dependent diagnosed with the virus or those experiencing adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed or laid off because of the pandemic. Taxpayers can withdraw up to $100,000 in 2020 from their qualified retirement plans.  If they keep the funds, the income can be spread over a three year period with no early distribution penalty.  If they do not need to retain the funds, taxpayers can recontribute the amount withdrawn to the retirement plan within three years. 

·       For taxpayers over 70 or those owning an inherited IRA, required distributions for 2020 have been eliminated.

Small Businesses

·       For purposes of this Act, all businesses with less than 500 employees are eligible for a Paycheck Protection Program loan through the SBA.  Most likely, the employee limit will be based on your average monthly employee count over the last 12 months. There are some exceptions for larger companies if the SBA guidelines still consider the business to be “small” based on revenue or employee count in their industry but in general, the 500 person limit will apply to most.

·       Nonprofits and individuals who operate under a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor are also eligible.

·       If your business meets the employee test, Congress simplified the remaining SBA eligibility rules and basically if you were operational on 2/15/2020, had employees or independent contractors and your business was substantially impacted by COVID-19, you are eligible.  The last guideline is a subjective standard. All other usual SBA requirements including detailed underwriting, borrower fees and personal guarantees are waived. 

·       The maximum amount of your loan is equal to 2.5 times your average monthly payroll costs for the trailing 12 months prior to receiving the loan (or $10 million, whichever is less).  Payroll costs include wages, commissions, tips, paid leave, healthcare payments and retirement benefit payments.  However, if you have employees earning in excess of $100,000/year, only the first $100,000 is considered for these workers.

·       The loan proceeds can be used to maintain payroll, make rent payments, cover the interest on mortgage payments or for utility payments. 

·       For any amounts expended on the purposes in the bullet above during an 8 week period following loan issuance, the government will forgive a comparable amount of the original loan.  This forgiveness is not taxable.  The loan forgiveness may be reduced by the following:

o   The business employee count during the 8 week period following loan issuance is less than the employee count during the period 2/15/19-6/30/19 or 1/1/20-2/29/20 (employer’s choice). 

o   The business reduces the salary of anyone (except a high earner making over $100,000) by greater than 25% during the 8 week period following loan issuance.

o   **These two rules will not apply to reduce principal forgiveness if the employee count or original salary is restored by 6/30/20

·       I’ve focused the points above on the loan forgiveness features.  However, for businesses who won’t spend the full loan proceeds during the 8 weeks following loan issuance, there are favorable rules for the ongoing, unforgiven loan (i.e. rate, term, etc.).

·       As mentioned in my opening, the process for loan application has not been released but if you’re interested, I recommend you start gathering historical payroll reports, up to three years of business income tax returns and three years of personal tax returns for owners (owning >20% of the company). 

Unemployed

·       The CARES Act extends unemployment insurance benefits to those not traditionally eligible including the self-employed and independent contractors.

·       The extension excludes those able to telework (work from home) or receiving paid leave.

·       At a high level, those receiving these enhanced benefits will receive the amount ordinarily paid by their home state (variable based on past earnings) and a flat $600/week from the Federal government through 7/31/2020.  For many low/medium wage earners, these benefits will be as much or even greater than the amounts earned when employed. 

·       The normal one week waiting period for benefits is waived.

·       The benefit period may be extended to a total of 39 weeks for the period 1/27/20-12/31/20 but the additional $600/week benefit from the Federal government only covers up to four months and ends on 7/31/20.   

·       Although the details for proving this continue to evolve, eligibility also depends on the need for a benefit attributable to a COVID-19 related circumstance.

Coronavirus Update – Post Closed (3.31.2020)

Effective immediately, Post 29 is closed until further notice.

The Executive Committee has taken this action due to the Governor’s orders last evening to contain the new virus threatening Americans. The Executive Committee is meeting this week to ensure a safe outcome for our members and our staff. Details about future meetings and events will be forthcoming.

What you can do: Please be responsible. Take care of yourselves and each other. Practice good hygiene. WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP OFTEN. We are all at risk, but those over age 60, the sick, and those under high stress are most vulnerable. AVOID CROWDS AND CLOSE CONTACT. Maintain a safe distance from others. GET MEDICAL ATTENTION IF YOU FEEL ILL. When treated quickly, most people survive. Early treatment also limits the spread. For now, we can all benefit from rest, relaxation, and good hygiene. Bad things come from panic. If you hear of a sick member, please reach out to us so we can check on them.

What will change at Horace Orr Post 29: Be sure you have access to our website (www.post29marietta.org) and Facebook page (facebook.com/Americanlegion.georgiatwentynine) and this E-blast.

If you know of someone at risk, please reach out to them now, before things become stressful. If you or someone you know needs assistance, call the Post 770-427-5900 and follow the prompts to leave a message for the Service Officer.

POW MIA Update 3.13.2020

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced this week the return of four (4) U.S. servicemen to their families for burial with full military honors and to bring closure to their loved ones.

  1. Navy, Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Alton W. Whitson, 22, of Seattle, Washington, USS Oklahoma. Lost on 12/07/1941–Accounted for on 01/23/2020—Pearl Harbor/WWII
  2. Navy, Seaman 1st Class Russell C. Roach, 22, of Muskingum County, Ohio, USS Oklahoma, Lost on 12/07/1941—Accounted for on 10/17/2019—Pearl Harbor/ WWII
  3. Navy, Fireman 3rd Class Clarence A. Blaylock, 20, of Bay City, TX,  USS Oklahoma, Lost on 12/07/1941—Accounted for on 07/29/2019—Pearl Harbor/WWII
  4. Navy, Shifitter 3rd Class Patrick L. Chess, 24, of Yakima, Washington, USS Oklahoma, Lost on 12/07/1941—Accounted for on 01/09/2020—Pearl Harbor/ WWII

TOTAL TO DATE———-52

WWII——————-44

KOREA—————–7

VIETNAM————–0

“You Are Not Forgotten”

Tommy Cannon
Commander
Georgia POW/MIA Honor Guard, Post 29

SQ Bingo – Monday 3.16.2020

We are experimenting with Bar Bingo in the Social Quarters. We are trying to host this most Monday evenings from 6:00-8:00. This is not a traditional paid Bingo game with cash prizes, and it’s not open to the public. But for our members, we make it fun, and we do have prizes we think you’ll like.

We rotate our BINGO Hosts. Tom, Mike, and Travis do a great job. Come join us!

Shepherd’s Men Clay Shoot 4.24.2020

Our great partners, Shepherd’s Men, are hosting their 3rd Clay Shoot to raise funds and awareness for the SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center. The Shepherd’s Men Invitational presented by Brassfield & Gorrie will be Friday April 24, 2020 from 8AM-2PM at Barnsely Gardens Resort in Adairsville, GA.

Members and Friends of Post 29 are invited to participate, as a shooter, sponsor, or volunteer. In the past, our volunteers have had a fun time working this event (details below).

Click here for background on Shepherd’s Men.

Click here for information on the SHARE Military Initiative.

Click here for information on the Clay Shoot, including how to register as a shooter, a shooting team, or a sponsor. 

To volunteer, simply email Russ Wood (webmaster@post29marietta.org) Information about Volunteering:

Barnsley is about a 45 minute drive from Marietta. The program begins at 8AM and will last until lunchtime or a bit later. If you stay until the end (not required), you’ll likely be back in Marietta between 3PM and 4PM.

What we need: Volunteers to operate Clay Target stations. No experience is necessary, we can teach you what to do in about 10 minutes. The target stations are remote operated. Volunteers will simply push buttons and help the shooters keep score. We will provide all volunteers with hearing protection, eye protection, breakfast, snacks, and lunch. You may wish to bring a portable chair if you get uncomfortable standing for long periods. Volunteers should dress in casual clothes (jeans, shorts, comfortable shoes).

Once we get confirmations of those who plan to attend, we will help coordinate car pooling from Post 29.