COVID-19 Response Resources and Information

Summary of Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act Programs (H.R. 6201)

Women, Infants, & Children (WIC): $500 million to provide access to nutritious foods to low-income pregnant women and mothers with young children who lose their jobs or are laid off due to COVID-19

Emergency Food Assistance Program: $400 million to assist local food banks with increased demand for low-income Americans during the emergency. $300 million is for the purchase of nutritious foods and $100 million is to support the storage and distribution of foods

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):

  • Allows USDA to approve state plans to provide emergency SNAP to households that would otherwise receive free or reduced price meals if not for their schools being closed due to COVID-19. In order to be eligible, the school must be closed for 5 consecutive days.
  • Suspends work and work training requirements for SNAP
  • Allows states to request special waivers to provide emergency SNAP benefits up to the maximum monthly amount, as well as gives the USDA secretary broad discretion to provide much more flexibility for states in managing SNAP caseloads. Requires USDA to make state requests publicly available online

Emergency Family Medical Leave (EFMLA) Expansion Act:

  • Reason: The employee is unable to work due to a need for leave to care for their child because the school or day care has been closed or the child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency.
  • Benefit: Not less than 2/3 the employee's regular pay, up to $200/day and $10,000 over the benefit period. The first 10 days may be taken unpaid but the employee may use other paid leave during that period, if available.
  • Duration of Leave: 12 weeks of job-protected leave. Generally, employers of less than 25 employees would be exempted from job-protection if certain conditions are met. Benefits are not retroactive.
  • Applicable employers: Private businesses with less than 500 employees and all public employers.
  • Exemptions: DOL has authority to exclude certain health care providers or emergency responders from the definition of eligible employees and to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if compliance would jeopardize the viability of the business.

Senior Nutrition Program: Includes $250 million for Senior Nutrition Program to provide approx.25 million additional home-delivered and pre-packaged meals to low income seniors. Of the $250 million, $160 million is available for home-delivered meals, $80million for congregate nutrition services, and $10 million for Nutrition Services for Native Americans.

School Lunch Program:

  • Authorizes USDA to issue nationwide school meal waivers which will eliminate paperwork for states and help more schools adopt flexibilities
  • Allows all child care and adult care centers to operate as non-congregate (i.e. they can serve outside the school or in individual settings) and waives meal pattern requirements if there is a disruption to food supply.

Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act:

  • Provides $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states for activities related to paying UI benefits under certain conditions.
    • $500 million is to be used for staffing, technology, and admin costs as long as states require employers to notify employees of potential UI eligibility, ensure workers have at least two ways (phone, mail, online) to apply for benefits, and notify applicants when an application is received and if it cannot be processed info to applicant on how it can be successfully processed.
      • States are required to report on the share of eligible individuals who received UI benefits and the state's efforts to ensure access within one year of funding. Funding is distributed in the same proportions as regular UI Admin funding.
    • $500 million would be reserved for emergency grants to states which experienced at least a 10 percent increase in unemployment compensation claims over the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. Those states would be eligible to receive an additional grant in the same amount as the initial grant, to assist with costs related to unemployment spike, and would also be required to take steps to ease eligibility requirements that might limit access during the COVID-19 outbreak, like work search requirements, waiting periods, and requirements to increase employer UI taxes if they have high layoff rates. These actions may require changes in state law, depending.
  • Also provides temporary federal flexibility regarding those UI restrictions in federal law.
  • Provides states with access to interest free loans to help pay regular UI benefits through Dec.31, 2020.
  • For states with an increase of 10 percent or more of unemployment rate over previous year, this section provides 100 percent federal funding for Extended Benefits, which normally require a 50 percent state funding match. Extended Benefits are triggered when unemployment is high in a state and provide up to an additional 26 weeks after regular UI benefits (usually about 26 weeks) are exhausted.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act:

  • Reason: an employee is unable to work or telework because the employee is subject to a quarantine or an isolation order, has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19, or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • Pay: Employer's regular pay, up to $511 per day and a max of $5,110 over the benefit period.
  • Other reasons an employee could qualify, if they could not work because they are caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or an isolation order or has been advised by a health care professional to self-quarantine, or they are caring for a child if their school or daycare is closed.
  • For the above reasons pay is to be 2/3 of the employee's regular pay, up to $200 per day and a max of $2,000 over the benefit period.
  • Length of Leave: 80 hours for full-time employees and an amount equal to the average number of hours such employee works over a 2 week period for part-time employees.
  • Paid sick leave is available for immediate use once the Act is in effect (April 2) and does not require accrual or a waiting period.
  • An employer may not require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer before the employee uses the paid sick leave provided by the Act.
  • Applicable employers: Private businesses with less than 500 employees and all public employers.
  • Exemptions: Authority is given to the Secretary of Labor to exclude certain health care providers or emergency responders from the definition of eligible employees and to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees if compliance with the Act would jeopardize their business.

COVID-19 Testing:

  • Requires private health plans to provide coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, including the cost of a provider, urgent care center, and ER. Coverage must be provided at no cost to consumer.
  • Requires Medicare Part B to cover beneficiary cost-sharing for provider visits during which a COVID-19 diagnostic test is administered or ordered. Medicare Part B currently covers the COVID-19 diagnostic test with no beneficiary cost-sharing.
  • Requires Medicare Advantage to provide coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing at no cost to the consumer
  • Requires Medicaid to provide coverage of COVID-19 testing including the cost of the provider visit at no cost to the consumer. It also provides states with the option to extend Medicaid eligibility to uninsured populations for purposes of COVID-19 testing. State expenditures for medical and admin costs would be matched by federal government at 100 percent.
  • Requires the National Disaster Medical System to reimburse the costs of COVID-19 testing to individuals without insurance
  • Requires personal respiratory protective devices to be treated as covered countermeasures under the PREP Act Declaration during the COVID-19 outbreak and ending October 1, 2024
  • Ensures individuals with TRICARE, covered veterans, and federal workers have coverage for COVID-19 testing without cost-sharing
  • Ensures that American Indians, Alaskan Natives do not experience cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing
  • Provides a temporary increase to states' federal medical assistance percentage for the duration of the public health emergency for COVID-19. It requires states to maintain eligibility standards that are no less restrictive than date of enactment.

Tax Credits for Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family and Medical Leave:

  • Payroll tax credits: qualified sick leave wages and family leave paid by an employer shall be allowed in the amount of benefits paid over the permitted duration.
  • An individual tax credit for qualified sick-leave and family leave for self-employed individuals in the amount of $200 a day (or $511 per day for emergency paid sick leave for own quarantine or seeking own medical diagnosis) or 67% (or 100% for emergency paid sick leave for own quarantine or seeking own medical diagnosis) of average daily pay for self-employed individuals over the permitted duration.
  • This credit shall not apply to the federal or state governments.
  • Any wages required to be paid through the sick leave and family leave expansions, shall not be considered wages for certain purposes.