A Closer Look at the Senate’s Proposed HEALS Act

August 7, 2020
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The Senate Republicans recently released its proposed HEALS Act as its potential follow-up stimulus package to help businesses and individuals as coronavirus continues to wreak havoc nationwide. It’s hard to say for sure if it will pass, or how it will be reworked by Congress before it passes. At this point, it looks like there will be some second stimulus package in the $1 trillion range.

As for the HEALS Act, I wanted to break down some of the key points contained. Odds are that whatever version of the act is passed will include most—if not all—these key financial aid measures in some way, shape or form. The amounts may be different and some details may change. As of now, here are some of the notable features of the proposed HEALS Act:

PPP Loan Funding

The HEALS Act would add another $60 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) small business loan program. These are forgivable loans for businesses with less than 300 employees.

More Direct Payments

This program would include another round of direct payments to individuals with incomes of less than $75,000 a year, including an additional $500 in benefits for each child or adult dependent in the household.

Targeted Business Aid

The bill would provide $100 billion in long-term, low-cost loans that would be directed at businesses located in low-income areas and also seasonal businesses that have experienced demonstrable revenue losses during the pandemic.

Extended (But Reduced) Unemployment Benefits

The HEALS Act proposes extending the increased unemployment benefits for another two months. However, the amount would be reduced from an extra $600 a week down to $200 a week.

Business Tax Credits

With many businesses experiencing increased operating costs during the pandemic, the bill will provide some tax credits to help offset the expenses. Expanded tax breaks will also be available for businesses that have been providing entertainment and meals for clients.

COVID-19 Legal Support

The HEALS Act will provide legal shielding from lawsuits resulting from COVID-19 grievances through October 1, 2024. As long as the organization (business, school, charity, etc.) has demonstrated “reasonable” efforts to follow public health guidelines, they will be protected from lawsuits.

School Funding

An additional $105 billion in funding will be provided for education. Flexible funding options will be included to allow individual state Governors to allocate certain funds, while two-thirds of the money is meant for schools with solid reopening plans.

Employee Retention Tax Credit

The employee retention tax credit that encourages employers to keep people on their payrolls will be expanded and extended.

Protective Equipment Tax Credits

Additional tax credits will be available for businesses that manufacturer domestic personal protective equipment such as face masks.

Agricultural Aid

$20 billion in aid will be allocated for agricultural assistance.

Negotiations will continue between the Senate and Congress as some final version (likely revised) version of the HEALS Act will eventually pass into law. Issues like the amount of extended unemployment benefits are still being hotly debated by both parties. Then, there are other components like rental assistance and return-to-work payments could also make the final cut. Let’s just hope something is finalized sooner rather than later because many people and businesses still need help in these difficult times.

If you have questions about financial aid options for yourself or your business, it’s a good idea to speak with your financial advisor. If you are already an Illumination Wealth client, we’re here to help any time you need us. If you are not an Illumination Wealth client, contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation introductory consultation with one of our expert financial advisors.