April News and Shoptalk
Mar 27, 2020

This is What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus Stimulus Bill



Dear Nancy,

Congress has just passed the most sweeping stimulus bill in our nation's history. The "Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act" (H.R. 748) will provide urgently needed financial and medical assistance for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and will go a long way toward helping America's most vulnerable population — seniors — survive this health crisis. The National Committee applauds several provisions, in particular, that target older Americans, including:

  • Assurances that Social Security beneficiaries can receive cash rebates ($1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples) like millions of other Americans, even if they have not filed income taxes for 2018 or 2019.


  • Enhanced flexibility for Medicare and Medicaid to cover care and supports for seniors during the pandemic, including telehealth coverage for patients who can't visit a doctor.


  • Extra funding for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to assist nursing homes with infection control and to help states prevent the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.


  • Enabling of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program to provide Medicare beneficiaries with a three-month supply of medications.


  • An extension of community-based long-term care spousal impoverishment protections and the Medicaid "Money Follows the Person" Program (a demonstration that helps patients transition from institutional care to home and community-based care).


  • $955 million for Older Americans Act and disability services programs, including senior nutrition, home and community-based supportive services; family caregivers; elder justice; and independent living.


  • $900 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides grants to support immediate home energy assistance for low-income households affected by the coronavirus.

While the National Committee fully supports the above provisions, we caution against the following measures and any other alterations to the payroll tax that reduces revenue flowing into the Social Security trust fund or undermines the "earned right" nature of the benefit:

  • Providing employers with a payroll tax credit for retaining their employees.


  • Allowing employers to stop paying into Social Security on behalf of their workers for the rest of the year — with a requirement to repay those funds in 2021 and 2022.

This aid package will help keep seniors safer, healthier and more financially secure in their daily lives as we struggle to bring COVID-19 under control. However, we can expect so-called "fiscal hawks" in Washington to try and use earned benefits to pay for the massive $2 trillion price tag of this historic stimulus legislation. So please consider chipping in a gift in whatever amount you can safely afford today to help the National Committee remain vigilant during these uncertain times against any effort to reduce our government's obligation to workers and retirees through devastating benefit cuts.


Max Richtman Signature

Max Richtman
President & CEO







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