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COVID-10 relief information for Arkansans

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Details on Economic Impact Payments, Unemployment, more available

From the Office of the Governor of the State of Arkansas

Background: On December 27, President Trump signed legislation providing emergency financial relief for Americans during the pandemic. In part, this legislation provides a direct payment to most Americans. If you’ve filed a tax return in recent years, are a disabled veteran, or a Social Security or disability beneficiary, you are likely eligible for a payment. The Treasury Department has already begun sending out direct deposits, checks, and debit cards to eligible individuals.

Eligibility: All U.S. residents are eligible as long as they have a work-eligible Social Security Number and meet certain income requirements. Individuals whose income is entirely from non-taxable, meanstested programs—such as Supplemental Security Income benefits—are eligible as well. For Individual Filers: Americans who file their taxes as individuals will receive up to $600 in assistance. If your income was less than $75,000 in 2019, you will receive the full amount of $600. Reduced checks on a sliding scale will be paid to individuals making over $75,000. For every $100 you make over $75,000, your assistance will be reduced by $5.

For Married Couples Filing Jointly: Americans who file taxes jointly will receive up to $1,200 plus $600 for every dependent under the age of 17. If your joint income was less than $150,000 in 2019, you will receive the full amount of $1,200 plus $600 for every dependent under 17.

Reduced checks on a sliding scale will be paid to couples making over $150,000,. For every $100 you make over $150,000, your assistance will be reduced by $5.

For Heads of Household: Americans who file taxes as heads of household will receive up to $600 plus $600 for every dependent under the age of 17. If your income was less than $112,500 in 2019, you will receive the full amount of $600 plus $600 for every dependent under 17.

Reduced checks on a sliding scale will be paid to those making above $112,500,. For every $100 you make over $112,500, your assistance will be reduced by $5.

Past-Due Debts: Payments are protected from federal debt collection, bank garnishment, or levy by private creditors or debt collectors.

How will I receive my financial relief?

In most cases, no action will be required in order to receive your payment. The federal government will disburse payment either through direct deposit, debit card, or check, depending on what information you have on file.

When will I receive my financial relief?

Turnaround time will vary by individual/family unit, but the Treasury Department has already begun distribution of direct deposits, debit cards, and checks.

Does my income impact my tax rebate check?

Yes, the credit phases out at a rate of $5 per $100 of additional income, starting at $75,000 for individuals.

This phase-out rate begins at $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married couples filing

Continued on Page 14 COVID RELIEF (cont.)

jointly.

What tax year will be used to determine my income?

Your 2019 income will be used to determine your eligibility.

Do I need a Social Security Number to receive payment?

In general, taxpayers without an eligible Social Security Number are ineligible for payment.

However, married couples filing jointly, in which one spouse has a Social Security Number and one does not, are eligible for a payment of $600, in addition to $600 per child with Social Security Number.

What about Social Security beneficiaries?

The Treasury Department will issue payments for Social Security Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans Administration beneficiaries based on information provided by the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Veterans Administration, respectively.

Do I have to pay taxes on these payments?

No.

Do I need to have income to be eligible for payment?

No.

Am I eligible for payments if I’m classified as a dependent?

Individuals claimed as dependents are not eligible for payments. The individual or couple who claims a dependent on their tax return is eligible for $600 per dependent under 17.

I am in debt, can this money be garnished or seized?

Payments are not subject to administrative offset for past due federal or state debts. Additionally, payments are protected from bank garnishment or levy by private creditors or debt collectors.

Will people receive a paper check or a debit card?

For those who don’t receive a direct deposit by early January, they should watch their mail for either a paper check or a debit card. To speed delivery of the payments, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, part of the Treasury Department, will be sending a limited number of payments out by debit card. Please note that the form of payment for the second mailed EIP may be different than for the first mailed EIP. Some people who received a paper check last time might receive a debit card this time, and some people who received a debit card last time may receive a paper check. IRS and Treasury urge eligible people who don’t receive a direct deposit to watch their mail carefully during this period for a check or an Economic Impact Payment card.

Background: On December 27, President Trump signed legislation providing emergency relief for Americans to help meet their financial needs during the pandemic.

In part, this legislation provides assistance for the unemployed by adding 11 weeks to unemployment eligibility and providing an additional $300 per week in federal benefits for the unemployed.

Eligibility: To be eligible, an individual needs to be unemployed, selfemployed, or an independent contractor who has lost work.

Who to contact: If you are an Arkansan who believes you qualify for assistance under this program extension, please contact the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services. Their website is https://www.dws.arkansas.g ov/employers/ar-claimhelp/ and their phone number is 501-682-2121.

Addtional Details:

• This legislation extends unemployment benefits for individuals who stand to lose unemployment benefits at the end of 2020.

Unemployed Arkansans are eligible for an additional $300 per week in federal aid in addition to their normal unemployment benefits.

• Provides unemployed individuals an additional $300 per week for 11 weeks from December 26, 2020 – March 14, 2021.

However individuals who have not met the maximum week limit are eligible for the federal $300/week payment though April 5, 2021.

April 5th 2021 is when the federal benefits will end.

• Extends all other Unemployment Insurance (UI) provisions to March 14, 2021, including interest- free loans to states to keep their unemploymentinsurance trust funds in shape, flexible staffing for states, and UI relief for non-profit organizations.

• Adds program-integrity provisions to require documentation of earnings and employment (versus selfcertification). It also requires states to have processes for verifying applicants’ identities, to combat fraud and abuse in unemployment programs.

• Includes return to work reporting requirements for states to have a place for employers to report when someone turns down a job and to notify claimants of the requirement to accept suitable work, unless there is good cause for refusal.

Information on Filing for Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Online Unemployment Insurance Applications:

• EZARC Site: https://www.ezarc.adws.ark ansas.gov/ (To file initial/new unemployment applications)

• ArkNet site: https://www.arknet.arkansa s.gov/ or call using ArkLine 1-501-907-2590 (To file continued/weekly regular unemployment claims) Scheduled hours of operation for EZARC site are: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. on all days.

Scheduled hours of operation for ArkNet and ArkLine are: Monday – Friday, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday, 12:01 a.m. – 6 p.m. PUA Site: https://pua.arkansas.gov/ho me (To File Initial and Weekly Claims for PUA Benefits) Scheduled hours of operation for PUA site: 6 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on all days.

Hotline: 1-844-908-2178 Your call will be directed for regular unemployment insurance or PUA based on the information you provide on the call Scheduled hours of operation: Regular UI calls: Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. PUA calls: Sunday – Friday, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Paper Form Applications:

• UI application for benefits: https://www.dws.arkansas.g ov/src/files/PDF501_BLA NK_v022020.pdf

• All claimant forms can be found here: https://www.dws.arkansas.g ov/unemployment/uiclaimant- forms/

• Arkansas Workforce Center locations can be found here: https://www.dws.arkansas.g ov/contact/ Local offices are open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

If you have attempted to access the online unemployment claims filing systems and call the UI Hotline but have experienced delays or other issues due to the increased volume of users, you may fill out a paper form. If you have access to a printer, you may print off the application and take it to your local Arkansas Workforce Center. Though in-person visits are discouraged, print applications are also available for pick-up at the Arkansas Workforce Centers across the state.

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