Below is a message from SOAR Co-Principal Officer Congressman Hal Rogers.
We will overcome this unprecedented health and economic crisis, spurred by the coronavirus (COVID-19). To help answer questions and provide critical updates on state and federal efforts, I launched a new webpage focused on this national crisis and you can find it at halrogers.house.gov/coronavirus.
Our nation will not rebound overnight or with a single response, but through comprehensive, minute-by-minute work taking place at every federal and state agency to weaken the impact of the novel coronavirus on our society. I have spoken with Governor Andy Beshear and Kentucky's entire Congressional Delegation to ensure we are working together to try to address the emerging needs in all of our communities as quickly as possible. I have also been in touch with our healthcare leaders across Southern and Eastern Kentucky to discuss needed equipment and supplies to protect our healthcare workers and patients. We are working to help streamline personal protective equipment from suppliers to our hospitals.
I applaud you and all of our neighbors across Southern and Eastern Kentucky for doing your part to minimize the spread of the illness in our region. The stories of compassion and uplifting one another are inspiring and I encourage you to continue checking on loved ones and helping one another on a daily basis.
While you are doing your part to stay healthy and comply with a growing number of restrictions, we have been working on Capitol Hill to provide three federal funding packages to attack this threat at every angle, and to provide much-needed relief from the rapidly growing strain on our families and businesses.
On March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, authorizing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to temporarily waive some requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance programs, like KCHIP.
President Trump also invoked the Stafford Act to mobilize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate broad response efforts. He also invoked the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of medical equipment as necessary. On Friday, President Trump announced an extension of the tax filing deadline from April 15th to July 15, 2020.
Here are some details about the federal funding that has been approved to respond to this national emergency:
Expedites vaccine & treatment development
Supplies essential equipment for medical response
Expands telehealth services
Includes $1 Billion for state and local efforts, including more than $7 million for Kentucky.
Thousands of scientists and medical professionals are working around the clock at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand therapeutic options and produce a viable vaccine to prevent and treat this deadly virus safely and as quickly as possible.
Free coronavirus testing for Americans who need it
Expanded paid sick and family medical leave
Provides funding for more food aid and ensures meals are available for students and seniors in need
Relief and protection for small and medium businesses
The current proposal includes:
Direct financial help for the American people
Provides recovery checks to most taxpayers, providing cash immediately to individuals and families.
Individuals are eligible for checks up to $1,200 and married couples filing jointly are eligible for checks up to $2,400, with an extra $500 for each child. Eligibility for recovery checks is reduced starting at $75,000 in 2018 income for individuals and $150,000 in 2018 income for joint filers. Individuals with 2018 income exceeding $99,000 and joint filers with 2018 income exceeding $198,000 are ineligible.
Extends the traditional April 15th tax filing deadline to July 15th and allows individuals required to make estimated tax payments to postpone them until October 15th.
Waives penalties for early withdrawal from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes of up to $100,000.
Allows the Secretary of Education to defer student loan payments and allows students who were forced to drop out of school due to coronavirus to keep their Pell grants.
Rapid relief for small businesses and their employees
Significant steps to stabilize our economy and protect jobs
More support for healthcare professionals and patients fighting the coronavirus
Upon Senate approval, the U.S. House of Representatives could vote on the third package as early as next week. Stay tuned for details.
Adhering to CDC guidance, all of my offices are now assisting individuals via telephone and online only. Anyone living in Southern and Eastern Kentucky can contact my office toll-free at 1-800-632-8588. All of my staff is continuing to work on your behalf and we will assist you in any way possible through this crisis. Once again, the people of Southern and Eastern Kentucky are proving to be resilient in the midst of an unprecedented challenge.
Here are some frequently asked questions in Southern and Eastern Kentucky:
FAQ: Will my social security check still arrive on time?
I want to assure you that all benefits for veterans and social security disability/retirement will be released in full each month as scheduled. Your check will not be compromised through this process.
FAQ: How do I sign up for unemployment?
In Kentucky, apply by visiting kcc.ky.gov or calling 1-502-875-0442.
FAQ: What support is available for small business owners?
On March 16, 2020, Governor Beshear applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Congress is also working on legislation to help support small businesses that have been shut down and more information will be distributed as soon as possible. You can also stay updated on SBA's coronavirus-related webpage at sba.gov.
FAQ: How many cases of coronavirus are in Kentucky?
For coronavirus updates in Kentucky, visit: kycovid19.ky.gov or call the state hotline at: 1-800-722-5725.
I want to invite you to engage with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as we unite together and support one another through this challenging time. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
If I can be of assistance, please contact my office toll-free, at 1-800-632-8588. It is always an honor to represent the remarkable people of Southern and Eastern Kentucky.