What Do President Trump’s New Orders Mean For You?

As Congress continues to discuss another round of stimulus relief to aid those financially impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump signed an executive order and three memoranda on Saturday, August 8, to provide immediate relief in the interim.

The new orders address four distinct topics to aid the American people:

  1. Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019

Under this memorandum, President Trump addresses the additional $600 unemployment weekly benefit that expired at the end of July under the CARES Act. The new memorandum allows for a continued benefit of an additional $300 per week for unemployment recipients in participating states. States that participate in the program are required to contribute an additional $100 per week, allowing for a total of $400 additional benefits weekly.

  1. Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster

Under this memorandum, President Trump will allow certain payroll taxes to be deferred from September 1 to December 31, 2020 for any employee earning less than $2,000 per week. Employees can expect to save the 7.65% payroll withholding to fund Social Security and Medicare during this period.

It is important to note that this is a deferral of payroll taxes and may have to be repaid, although the Treasury has been directed to explore ways to eliminate the need for repayment. While this new payroll tax deferral only applies to employees, employers were given the option to defer a portion of their payroll taxes due under the CARES Act earlier this year.

  1. Executive Order on Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners

With the original moratorium included in the CARES Act expiring in July, President Trump has introduced a new Executive Order to help prevent renters and homeowners from being evicted. The order directs the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to identify Federal funds available to provide financial assistance to renters and homeowners who are struggling to make their rent or mortgage payments.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of CDC will also decide if any measures are necessary to temporarily halt evictions for tenants who are not able to pay rent to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

  1. Memorandum on Continued Student Loan Payment Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The last memorandum allows student loan borrowers to continue deferring their payments through December 31 for student loans owned by the federal government. Although the loan payments will still have to be paid, the new order allows them to be deferred without penalty.

Even though the period has been extended for student loan payment deferrals, borrowers may still wish to and are allowed to continue making payments during this time.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, HORNE will keep you informed on new and changing regulations. For more information, check out our COVID-19 Resource Hub.