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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law in March, gave wide-ranging relief to individuals and families financially impacted by the pandemic, including instituting temporary eviction bans, expanded unemployment benefits, foreclosure bans and student loan forbearance.
Now, some of those provisions are ending, while others continue through the end of 2020. Assuming another piece of stimulus legislation does not pass, here’s when the various financial relief options from the CARES Act expire.
401(k) hardship withdrawals and loans
Through the end of 2020, the CARES Act allows those with a 401(k) or individual retirement account to take a coronavirus-related distribution if they need to, without incurring the 10% early distribution penalty. Taxes are still owed on the withdrawal, but can be paid over a three-year period.
Additionally, the CARES Act doubles the loan limit from retirement plans to the lesser of $100,000 or 100% of a participant’s vested balance if the loan is taken between March 27 and September 22, 2020. A loan is generally considered a better alternative to a hardship withdrawal, because participants must pay back the money to their account, aiding their long-term retirement savings.
Both of these provisions are dependent on an employer allowing them for 401(k) plan participants.
Enhanced unemployment insurance
The CARES Act added $600 a week to unemployment benefits. But that federal aid expires July 31, 2020. Assuming Congress does not extend the extra payments, unemployment benefits will revert to their normal payment amount, which varies by state, but was less than $380 per week on average in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the Tax Policy Center.
The legislation also extended unemployment insurance to the self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers for the first time. This benefit continues through December 31, 2020.
Finally, the CARES Act allows most people to collect unemployment benefits for a total of 39 weeks, longer than the 26 weeks offered by many states under normal circumstances. These extended benefits will continue past July 31, ending on or before December 31, 2020.
Evictions for federally-backed properties, accounting for around a quarter of renters in the U.S., were frozen for 120 days under the CARES Act, expiring July 25, 2020. You can use these tools developed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to search whether the property you live in is federally backed.
For tenants living in private properties, eviction bans vary by state. Many put into place at the start of the pandemic are set to expire this month. You can see when protections expire in your state here. The National Housing Law Project also put together a comprehensive list of resources on evictions and foreclosures in each state.
Homeowners were provided a 60-day foreclosure moratorium on federally-backed properties from March 18, 2020 through May 17, 2020. However, the moratorium was extended through June and the Federal Housing Finance Authority announced Tuesday that it would again be extended for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages until “at least” August 31, 2020.
Additionally, homeowners with a federally-backed mortgage experiencing Covid-19-related financial strain can request up to 12 months of forbearance on their mortgage payments.
If you don’t have a federally-backed mortgage, any forbearance or other relief options will depend on your loan servicer.