Public Law No: 116-136 (03/27/2020)

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act

This bill responds to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak and its impact on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses.


This division establishes the Paycheck Protection Program to provide eight weeks of cash flow assistance to small businesses through federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll. Such assistance shall be to cover costs such as payroll, paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, and employee salaries. The division further provides that certain amounts owed on such loans are eligible to be forgiven.

The division also authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide advances on SBA emergency disaster loans for small businesses that have applied for such loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the division requires the SBA to pay all principal, interest, and fees on certain new and existing SBA loans for a period of six months.


This title provides emergency economic relief for small businesses to meet their payroll and expenses and to receive education and assistance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Sec. 1102) This section authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to guarantee paycheck protection loans during the period beginning on February 15, 2020, and ending on June 30, 2020.

During this period, in addition to a small business, any business, nonprofit organization, veterans organization, or tribal business is eligible to receive a paycheck protection loan if it employs fewer than 500 employees or the applicable SBA size standard for the relevant industry. In addition, individuals who operate as sole proprietors or as independent contractors, as well as certain self-employed individuals, are eligible to receive a paycheck protection loan.

Allowable uses for such loans include (1) payroll costs, (2) continuation of group health care benefits, (3) employee salaries, and (4) rent payments.

(Sec. 1103) This section authorizes the SBA to award grants to resource partners to provide specified education, training, and advising to small business concerns that are negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19.

(Sec. 1104) This section requires the SBA to reimburse any recipient of a grant under the State Trade Expansion Program for financial losses relating to a foreign trade mission or a trade show exhibition that was cancelled solely due to a public health emergency related to COVID-19. Such reimbursement may not exceed the recipient\'s grant funding.

(Sec. 1105) This section temporarily waives the requirement that participants in the Women\'s Business Center Program of the SBA obtain matching cash contributions from non-federal sources as a requirement for participation in the program.

(Sec. 1106) This section makes recipients of paycheck protection loans eligible for forgiveness of amounts expended for payroll costs and payments of interest on mortgage obligations, rent, or utilities during the eight-week period such loans are provided.

(Sec. 1107) This section provides specified appropriations for

(Sec. 1108) This section authorizes the Minority Business Development Agency of the Department of Commerce to provide grants to minority business centers and minority chambers of commerce for educating, training, and advising minority business enterprises on such topics as (1) hazards and prevention of transmission and communication of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases; (2) potential effects of COVID-19 on their supply chains, distribution, and sale of products and mitigation of those effects; and (3) management and practice of telework to reduce possible transmission of COVID-19.

(Sec. 1109) This section requires Treasury to establish criteria to enable insured financial institutions that do not participate in SBA lending programs to participate in the paycheck protection program.

(Sec. 1110) This section makes small businesses and certain other entities eligible for an advance of up $10,000 on an SBA disaster loan for which they have applied in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA shall waive (1) any rules related to the personal guarantee on advances and loans under a certain amount, (2) the requirement that an applicant must be in business for the one-year period prior to the disaster (except that no waiver may be made for a business not in operation on January 31, 2020), and (3) the requirement that an applicant be unable to obtain credit elsewhere.

(Sec. 1111) This section requires the SBA to provide its resources and services in the 10 most commonly spoken languages, other than English, in the United States.

(Sec. 1112) This section requires the SBA to pay the principal, interest, and any associated fees that are owed on certain SBA loans for a six-month period. Such loans must be in a regular servicing status.

(Sec. 1113) This section expands bankruptcy relief by (1) excluding from current monthly income any payments made under federal law relating to the national emergency declared by the President with respect to COVID-19, and (2) allowing the modification of a reorganization plan under Chapter 11 if the debtor is experiencing material financial hardship due to COVID-19.


Subtitle A--Unemployment Insurance Provisions

Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act

(Sec. 2102) This section requires the Department of Labor to provide pandemic unemployment assistance for up to 39 weeks to workers who (1) are not eligible for other federal or state unemployment insurance or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation; (2) meet certain conditions related to being unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work due to COVID-19; (3) are not able to telework; and (4) are not receiving other paid leave. The provision of such assistance may be extended beyond 39 weeks under specified circumstances. Pandemic unemployment assistance payments are available retroactively for the period beginning January 27, 2020, and ending on or before December 31, 2020.

The section provides appropriations for these purposes.

(Sec. 2103) Labor may issue guidance allowing states to interpret state unemployment compensation laws in a manner that provides maximum flexibility in the reimbursement of employers as it relates to timely payment and assessment of penalties and interest.

This section also provides for the transfer of specified funds to state accounts in the Unemployment Trust Fund for the reimbursement of certain governmental entities and other organizations for amounts paid (in lieu of contributions) into such accounts during the period beginning on March 13, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020.

(Sec. 2104) This section provides appropriations to fund federal-state agreements under which the amount of an individual\'s weekly unemployment compensation includes an additional $600 in federal pandemic unemployment compensation. Such payments shall apply to weeks of unemployment beginning after the date of the agreement and ending on or before July 31, 2020.

Such an agreement shall not apply with respect to a state that reduces the maximum duration or average weekly benefit amount of its regular unemployment compensation as in effect on January 1, 2020.

(Sec. 2105) This section provides appropriations to temporarily reimburse states for providing the first week of an individual\'s regular unemployment compensation without a one-week waiting period.

(Sec. 2106) This section temporarily waives through December 31, 2020, certain merit-staffing requirements with respect to certain temporary hiring actions taken by states to quickly process unemployment claims.

(Sec. 2107) This section provides funding for 13 additional weeks of pandemic emergency unemployment compensation through December 31, 2020, for individuals who have exhausted their rights to regular unemployment compensation and meet other specified requirements.

(Sec. 2108) This section provides appropriations to temporarily reimburse states for making short-time compensation (STC) payments under existing or new STC programs for weeks of unemployment ending on or before December 31, 2020. (STC, also known as work sharing, is a program that provides prorated unemployment compensation to workers whose hours have been reduced in lieu of a layoff.)

(Sec. 2109) This section provides appropriations to support STC payments by states that do not have STC programs under state law.

(Sec. 2110) This section requires Labor to award grants for states to (1) implement, or improve administration of, STC programs; or (2) promote, and enroll employers in, STC programs. The section provides appropriations for this purpose. Labor may not award a grant with respect to an application submitted after December 31, 2023.

(Sec. 2111) This section requires Labor to

(Sec. 2112) This section provides appropriations to temporarily reimburse states that waive the seven-day waiting period for benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA).

(Sec. 2113) This section provides appropriations to fund an additional RUIA benefit of $1,200 to qualified employees for RUIA benefits-registration periods beginning on or after April 1, 2020, and no later than July 31, 2020. This payment is available notwithstanding other RUIA benefits received during such registration period or limits on overall benefits.

(Sec. 2114) This section reauthorizes the temporary increase of extended RUIA benefits to employees who received regular RUIA benefits during the period beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2020. However, no such extended benefit period may begin after December 31, 2020.

(Sec. 2115) This section provides appropriations for Labor to conduct oversight related to the provisions of this subtitle.

(Sec. 2116) Specified procedural requirements related to the collection of information from the public shall not apply to this subtitle.

Subtitle B--Rebates and Other Individual Provisions

This subtitle allows individual taxpayers below a certain income level and their dependent children a one-time refundable tax credit and other tax benefits to compensate for financial losses due to COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019).

(Sec. 2201) This section allows individual taxpayers a refundable income tax credit of $1,200 ($2,400 for married couples filing a joint return). A $500 credit is allowed for each qualifying child of the taxpayer. The credit is eliminated for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes exceeding $75,000 ($150,000 for joint returns). To be eligible for the credit, taxpayers must include valid identification numbers (e.g., Social Security numbers) on their tax returns.

The Department of the Treasury must conduct a public awareness campaign regarding the availability of the credit.

(Sec. 2202) This section permits penalty-free coronavirus-related distributions from tax-exempt retirement plans up to $100,000 in a taxable year. A coronavirus-related distribution is defined as any distributions from an eligible retirement plan made on or after January 1, 2020, and before December 31, 2020, to an individual who is (1) diagnosed with the virus SARS-CoV-2, (2) whose spouse or dependent is diagnosed with such virus or disease, or (3) who experienced adverse financial consequences from being quarantined, furloughed, or laid off from work due to such virus or disease.

(Sec. 2203) This section allows a temporary waiver of required minimum distributions from retirement plans and accounts in 2020.

(Sec. 2204) This section allows a tax deduction for charitable contributions in 2020 up to $300 for taxpayers who do not itemize their tax deductions.

(Sec. 2205) This section suspends in 2020 the limitation on cash contributions for purposes of the charitable contribution tax deduction.

(Sec. 2206) This section allows an exclusion from employee income, for income tax purposes, of employer payments of student loans made before January 1, 2021.

Subtitle C--Business Provisions

This subtitle allows certain employers tax credits and other tax benefits to compensate them for losses due to COVID-19.

(Sec. 2301) This section allows employers a payroll tax credit for 50% of the wages paid to employees, up to $10,000 per employee, during any period in which such employers were required to close due to COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019).

Transfers from the general fund of the Treasury to specified Social Security trust funds are authorized to cover any loss in revenue due to the employer retention tax credit.

(Sec. 2302) This section allows employers to delay payment of payroll tax deposits until the end of 2020.

(Sec. 2303) This section modifies rules relating to net operating losses to allow taxpayers to carry back net operating losses in 2018-2020 for up to five years, and to offset 100% of their income with losses in taxable years beginning before 2021.

(Sec. 2304) This section repeals in 2018 and 2019 the $250,000 limitation on the net business losses of individuals other than corporations.

(Sec. 2305) This section modifies the tax credit for the prior year minimum tax liability of corporations to allow immediate refundability of credit amounts.

(Sec. 2306) This section increases for taxable years beginning in 2019 and 2020 the limitation on the deductibility of business interest.

(Sec. 2307) This section classifies qualified improvement property (certain improvements to the interior of nonresidential real property) as 15-year property for depreciation purposes.

(Sec. 2308) This section suspends through 2020 the excise tax for alcohol used in hand sanitizers.


Subtitle A--Health Provisions

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act


Subpart A--Medical Product Supplies

(Sec. 3101) The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to report on the security of the U.S. medical product supply chain.

(Sec. 3102) The strategic national stockpile must include personal protective equipment and supplies required for the administration of drugs, vaccines, biological products, medical devices, and diagnostic tests.

(Sec. 3103) This section revises targeted liability protections with respect to certain claims arising from the use of a respiratory protective device (i.e., mask) approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Such protections shall apply if HHS declares such a device to be a priority for use during a declared public health emergency.

Subpart B--Mitigating Emergency Drug Shortages

(Sec. 3111) If notified by a manufacturer of a likely disruption in the supply of a medicine, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must, as appropriate (1) prioritize and expedite an application review to help mitigate or prevent a drug shortage, or (2) prioritize and expedite an inspection or reinspection of an establishment that could help mitigate or prevent a drug shortage.

(Sec. 3112) This section expands reporting requirements for manufacturers with respect to drug shortages and requires such manufacturers to develop risk-management plans.

The FDA must periodically transmit a report of shortage drugs to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. If an FDA inspection reveals that a drug or product under shortage or interruption may have become contaminated, a report must be sent to relevant FDA personnel with drug-shortage expertise.

Subpart C--Preventing Medical Device Shortages

(Sec. 3121) The manufacturer of a device critical to public health during a public health emergency shall notify the FDA of an interruption or permanent discontinuance. If the FDA finds the existence of a shortage or likely shortage, it must prioritize and expedite (1) a device application review that could mitigate or prevent a shortage, or (2) an inspection or reinspection of an establishment that could mitigate or prevent a shortage.


Subpart A--Coverage of Testing and Preventive Services

(Sec. 3201) This section expands the scope of available diagnostic testing for COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) that private health insurance plans must cover. Specifically, it requires coverage of tests that have not been approved by the FDA if

(Sec. 3202) This section specifies the process for private health insurance plan issuers to reimburse providers of COVID-19 diagnostic tests. Specifically, a reimbursement rate negotiated for such test prior to the public health emergency declared on January 31, 2020, continues to apply for the duration of the emergency. If a reimbursement rate was not negotiated prior to the emergency declaration, an issuer may either negotiate such rate or pay the provider\'s cash price.

Additionally, test providers must publish the cash price of tests on their websites; HHS may assess a civil penalty for violations of this requirement.

(Sec. 3203) This section shortens the time frame under which private health-insurance plans must cover certain new preventative services related to COVID-19. Under current law, health plans have one year to cover services recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Under this section, health plans must cover such services to prevent or diagnose COVID-19 within 15 days.

Subpart B--Support for Health Care Providers

(Sec. 3211) This section provides for additional funding to health centers that serve medically underserved populations for evidence-based models that increase access to high-quality primary-care services for purposes of (1) the detection of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19; or (2) the prevention, d