ASCP Skin Deep

COVID 2020

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for the latest info, visit 7 On March 27, Congress completed its approval of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2.2 trillion deal to provide economic relief to those most affected by COVID-19, and the President signed the bill into law. Your ASCP staff was fully engaged, educating Congress about the nature of your work, the structure of your profession, and how relief needed to be tailored to be effective for you, and thousands of members joined us in our lobbying efforts. The CARES Act marks the third and largest piece of COVID-19 relief legislation developed by Congress, and even more COVID-related legislation may be on the horizon. It will take some time to fully implement the 880-page bill, but the following analysis will help ASCP members get a head start on seeking relief. DIRECT PAYMENTS To begin, the CARES Act calls for no-strings- attached, direct-dollar payments to most individuals. If you make $75,000 a year or less, regardless of whether you are still working or are unemployed, you will receive $1,200 from the federal government. If your adjusted gross income is a bit higher—up to $99,000—you will receive a lesser amount, based on a sliding scale. If you are a single parent head of household, your eligibility ceiling is a bit higher. For families who file taxes jointly, the comparable amounts are $150,000 and $198,000. Eligible individuals will also receive $500 per dependent child who is under the age of 17. You do not have to lift a finger to receive this benefit. If the US Treasury has your bank account number through your past payment of taxes to the IRS or because you receive Social Security directly into your bank account, you most likely will receive your funds in the last half of April or early May. If the Treasury needs to issue a paper check, you will be waiting longer. Here is an April Washington Post article that lays out payment priorities and the plans in detail. UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS The United States has an unemployment insurance compensation system with responsibilities split between the federal and state governments. Individuals relate to the system at the state level. While the federal government dictates general parameters and contributes part of the system costs, states have flexibility as to payment amounts and day-to-day administration of the program. An esthetician who works full time for an employer, such as a resort spa or franchise, and is laid off is eligible to file with their state for unemployment compensation. The amount of such compensation typically is some fraction of that individual's recent compensation, no unemployment compensation is paid for the initial week after filing, and each state has limits on the duration of payments. Part-time employees and self-employed individuals in esthetics, massage therapy, hair, and nails have not historically been eligible for unemployment compensation. However, in response to the devastating elimination of people's ability to work at these professions because of coronavirus restrictions, the CARES Act has temporarily loosened some of those restrictions. The enhanced benefits run through June 30, 2020. As is always the case with unemployment benefits, they cease when an individual finds new employment or is able to return to previous work. The new act is vague about what constitutes a return to work (A full client load? Seeing two clients?). Each state may have perspective on this matter. Under the CARES Act, unemployment insurance benefits will temporarily be available to "an eligible self-employed individual" . . . "an individual who regularly carries on any trade or business" within the meaning of a specified section of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. It appears that this expanded eligibility applies to individuals who work "part time," a government definition that would cover a large proportion of estheticians, massage therapists, hair stylists, and nail professionals. Individual states are in charge of deploying unemployment benefits, and states are in the process of creating language that would lay out the requirements for what counts as wages for those who are self-employed or independent contractors. We encourage you to visit your state unemployment website for the most updated information. You have to take the initiative to apply for unemployment insurance. In the short- term, the application process is likely to be daunting. Literally 16 million people filed for unemployement benefits in just the past three weeks. State unemployment offices are swamped; this is frustrating, but you simply have to file in order to receive benefits. The carrot: in many states you could be eligible in total for around $1,000/week for up to 39 weeks if you remain unemployed that long. If your state unemployment insurance agency determines you are eligible, you will receive weekly two amounts: • the amount the state calculates under existing rules, which will be some fraction of your recent earned income from your trade or profession; and • an additional $600 per week, constituting special coronavirus relief, courtesy of the federal government. States have a choice whether to lump these two amounts together in a single check or to issue two checks. In addition, under the current unemployment system, approved applicants receive no payment for the first week of eligibility. The CARES Act waives this provision. The federal government will be reimbursing states to enable them to begin unemployment payments right away.

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