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COVID-19

Update on changes to law due to COVID-19

Consumer Protection:

Major Consumer Protections Announced in Response to COVID-19

This comes from the National Consumer Law Center and will be updated as laws change.  Excellent information on consumer debt, bankruptcy, foreclosure, debt collection, student loans, price gouging, and more.

Employment:

Families First Coronaviruse Response Act (FFCRA)

Generally provides that employees of *covered employers* are eligible for the following types of paid time off from work due to to the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Two weeks/up to 80 hours paid sick leave at regular rate of pay if employee is quarantined or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Two weeks/up to 80 hours paid sick leave at 2/3 regular rate of pay if employee is unable to work because of need to care for another as follows:
    • someone who is subject to quarantine,
    • a child (under 18) whose school or child care is closed due to COVID-19, and/or
    • the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by particular governmental agencies.
  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at 2/3 regular rate of pay, where an employee (who has been employed for at least 30 days) is unable to work due to need to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed due to COVID-19.

*Note that covered employers means fewer than 500 employees, and businesses with fewer than 50 may be exempt from the school closing/child care unavailability provisions if this would jeopardize business viability.*

More details, payment calculations, FAQs, scenarios, and definitions here and here and here and here

Coronavirus Paid Sick Leave-- article by Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP

COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits --specific information about how to apply in Minnesota

Health Insurance:

Insurance Options for Minnesotans Experiencing a Change in Income or Employment --new eligibility information from MNSure in light of COVID-19

COVID-19 Emergency Special Enrollment Period  via MNSure

  • Must apply between Monday, March 23- Wednesday, April 21
  • Only for eligible Minnesotans who do NOT currently have health insurance
  • You do NOT have to be sick with the coronavirus to qualify
  • Coverage starts April 1

Minnesotans Who Lose/Will Lose their Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

  • You may qualify for a special enrollment period with MNSure
    • if your employer ends coverage or
    • you/your spouse lose coverage when you lose/leave a job
    • Note there is usually a 60 day window to apply
    • Failing to pay your COBRA premiums does NOT make you eligible for a special enrollment period

Housing:

For Homeowners:

Moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for 60 days for single family homeowners with FHA backed mortgages--Housing and Urban Development, March 18, 2020

Federal Housing Finance Agency directs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend Foreclosures and Evictions for at least 60 days due to coronavirus. --March 18, 2020

For Renters:

The majority of eviction cases are suspended until March 30 -update from Homeline as of March 19, 2020

Taxes:

Federal Tax Payments Deferred from April 15 to July 15 --US Department of Treasury

MN State Individual Income Tax Payments for 2019 Extended to July 15

  • Applies only to individual income taxes not various business or fiduciary taxes
  • Does NOT apply to estimated payments for 2020 due on April 15
  • Does NOT apply to property taxes; those are collected by the various counties and the Dept of Revenue doesn't have authority to delay or cancel them
  • If you are due a refund, file your taxes asap as waiting to file until July 15 will only delay receiving the refund you are due

Student Loans:

Suspension of Payments on Federally Held Student Loan for at Least 60 Days 

Beginning March 13, 2020:

  • interest rates will automatically be set to 0% for at least 60 days and 
  • borrowers have the option to suspend payments for at least two months, but need to contact their lender to request forbearance

For ongoing updates and info, visit the Federal Student Aid Coronavirus Forbearance Website

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