The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act” passed today in Congress, designed to provide for substantial stabilization in America’s economy during the unprecedented medical crisis sweeping the country. As approved, the Act provides critically needed funding in key areas like expanded unemployment benefits and specific aid to many business segments facing extraordinary disruption, along with financial relief payments to most Americans. As Kevin Brady, lead Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, noted in his opening remarks this morning, “Today’s vote is about saving lives and livelihoods, providing the urgent relief needed to keep workers on the job, helping those who have lost theirs, and preserving Main Street businesses so they can ride out this crisis and rebound strongly.” Read Rep. Brady’s full opening statement here…

Under the provisions of the approved Act, Americans having a valid Social Security number will receive direct cash assistance, specifically including those who receive welfare and Social Security benefits. Relief payments are scheduled to be $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for couples, and $500 for children, for individuals with incomes at or below $75,000 ($112,500 for heads of household), while couples with income at or below $150,000 eligible for the same level of relief payments.

The Bill also addresses concerns that many seniors have in the area of Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from retirement accounts.  Since mandatory withdrawals can limit the ability of seniors to make wise investment decisions in times of severe market volatility, it was felt that government regulation should not force anyone, especially seniors, to liquidate savings in a “personal” account. The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) had recommended a temporary waiver of Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rules for retirement accounts in the calendar year 2020, and this provision was approved in the final CARES Act vote.

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