I write to share various updates surrounding our work in Congress and in Georgia’s 5th District.
The CARES Act authorized the Internal Revenue Service to send direct stimulus rebates (Economic Impact Payments) to individuals across the country. Please share with your loved ones that individuals have until 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 to update your banking information if they would like to receive their stimulus payment by direct deposit.
Earlier today, House Democrats unveiled the Heroes Act, the next COVID-19 relief legislation; the House is scheduled to consider this legislation on Friday. Notably, this bill would extend pandemic unemployment payments through the rest of the year, provide robust support for small businesses and nonprofit organizations, send direct and increased assistance to households, and address food security concerns. Here is the bill summary and section-by-section.
As we work to navigate the impact of COVID-19 on our daily life, we must remember that we are stronger together. During this time, it is critical that we all do what we can to keep our communities safe and healthy.
Below, you will find updates on the following:
- COVID-19 and Nursing Homes
- Fighting Discrimination
- Avoiding Scams
- IRS and Economic Impact Payments
- Census Reminder
COVID-19 Impact on Nursing Homes
It is often difficult to grapple with the reality of this pandemic and its impact on some of the most vulnerable populations. Across the country and especially in Metro Atlanta, the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly devastating on those individuals residing in long-term care facilities and the workers who care for them.
My heart mourns for the families and friends of loved ones who have succumbed to this virus. I will continue to do all in my power to advocate for safer practices, more worker protections, and improved communication and transparency at long-term care facilities.
In 2016, the Federal government issued rules requiring collection of information related to sexual orientation and gender identity in an effort to better understand the needs of LGBTQ children and parents. Today, the administration announced a new rule that removes those requirements, making it harder to serve those children most in need.
As the House author of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, I strongly oppose this decision. Sadly, during the pandemic, domestic violence and child abuse is increasing. Now is not the time to make it harder for families in crisis to secure safe, stable homes.
The administration’s rule will have a particularly harmful impact on tribal communities, vulnerable children, and the recruitment of diverse adoptive or foster parents. My bipartisan bill would prohibit discrimination in the child welfare system on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and marital status. It would also require the government to collect the information this rule is designed to ignore.
Two weeks ago, I spoke out against another new rule that removes protections for women, LGBTQ people, those with limited English proficiency, and individuals with disabilities from discrimination in health care and insurance coverage.
At a time when health care access for vulnerable communities is critical, the decision to issue these rules is a shame, a disgrace, and a blatant desertion of responsibility and duty.
During these difficult financial times, it is critical that we all stay alert to the scams and tactics targeting us and our loved ones.
Several federal agencies have provided resources online on how to avoid scams. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) created an online portal to report IRS coronavirus related scams. You may also report Internal Revenue Service (IRS) COVID-19 related scams via telephone at (800)366-4484.
In the interim, there are several things you should remember to protect yourself:
- The IRS will generally first contact people by mail, not by phone, about tax-related matters.
- If the IRS does contact you by telephone, they will not insist on any pre-payment.
- The IRS will NEVER request personal or financial information by e-mail, text letter, or social media.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) also developed processes for reporting coronavirus related scams:
- You may report an SBA coronavirus related scam online here or via telephone at (800)767-0385.
- Recipients of SBA Coronavirus relief may find tips on avoiding scams online.
In a previous newsletter, I also provided tips and guidance about scams targeting COVID-19 tests and donations. Please be mindful, vigilant, and aware.
IRS and Economic Impact Payments
In April, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began sending out Economic Impact Payments authorized by the CARES Act.
The IRS regularly updates their FAQ page to provide the most recent information on Economic Impact Payments. While most individuals should have received their payment in April, the IRS is still sending out paper checks to those who did not provide bank information.
If you did not include bank information on your tax return or were not required to file a tax return, individuals have until 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 to update your banking information so that you may receive your stimulus payment by direct deposit.
Beginning in mid-April, the IRS started to mail about five million paper checks each week. The IRS sent the first checks to individuals with incomes between $0-$10,000. The income level moves up by about $10,000 each week.
Earlier today, House Democrats unveiled the Heroes Act that proposes additional direct payments of $1,200 per family member and up to $6,000 per household.
The 2020 Census is still in progress, and it is not too late to participate. As many of you may know, the 2020 Census will play a critical role in shaping our country’s future.
You may complete the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail. To complete the Census online, click here. To respond to the Census via telephone, you may call (844)330-2020. For those who wish to complete the Census by mail, you may return the questionnaire sent to you via mail from the U.S. Census Bureau to this address:
U.S. Census Bureau
National Processing Center
100 Logistics Avenue
Jeffersonville, IN 47144
You may find additional information on the 2020 Census here.