How the CARES Act Can Help Drivers

As we continue to make our way — together — through this unprecedented crisis, many of you are on the road providing access to essential services for our communities. Thank you for everything you do to help others, especially now.

For a lot of drivers, the ability to earn the money you count on has been affected, either by the drop in rides we’re experiencing, as people stay home, or the need to stay home yourselves. 

On Friday, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. The Act aims to ease the impact of COVID-19 and provide support to millions of working individuals and families across the country, including drivers on the Lyft platform. Should you or a family member get sick or if your income is disrupted by COVID-19, you may be eligible for direct financial assistance under the new law.

Benefits for Americans and resident taxpayers:

  • Direct payments automatically

    • The law provides for direct payments of up to $1,200 (individuals) or $2,400 (married couples who filed a joint tax return), with an additional $500 payment for each dependent child. 

    • Payments will be smaller for higher earners, with the full credit only available to individuals making less than $75,000, and married couples making less than $150,000. 

    • You may spend this money on anything you and your family need – like groceries, rent, or other bills. 

      • For example:

        • A head of household, with two kids, who makes $112,000 per year should receive $2,200.

        • A married couple, with three kids, who make a combined $150,000 per year should receive $3,900.

        • An individual, with no kids, making $90,000 per year should receive $450.

Benefits Specifically for Independent Contractors:

  • Tax breaks for those who get sick or are caring for sick family members:

    • If you are unable to work because of issues related to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a refundable tax credit up to $511 per day, for up to ten days. 

    • If you care for a loved-one who gets sick, you may be eligible for tax credits up to $2,000. 

    • If you stopped working to take care of a child at home while schools are closed, you can receive up to $10,000 in tax credits. 

  • Unemployment payments for independent workers:

    • Drivers who are self-employed, including independent contractors, and who are unable to work as a direct result of COVID-19, may be eligible to receive compensation through a new temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

    • The program will offer up to 39 weeks of assistance based on unemployment rates in your area, plus an additional $600 per week for up to 12 of those weeks. 

    • This program is operating now through December 31, 2020. 

Benefits for drivers who earn on the Lyft platform as supplemental income while working as full-time or part-time employees elsewhere

  • Paid sick and family leave

    • If you get a W-2 through your regular job, you may be eligible for paid sick and family leave, in the event that you or a family member become sick during the pandemic. 

    • We recommend you contact your employer for information about how to ensure you get paid while taking time off to care for yourself or a loved-one.

Other ways to get support:

The CARES Act includes many other benefits that might help you out, depending on your personal and family situation — for example:

  • More small business loans, and some loan forgiveness available for self-employed individuals, through the Small Business Administration.

  • Paused federal student loan payments for six months, with no interest.

  • More support for those with a federally-backed mortgage.

  • New rental eviction protections, if renters are unable to make payments at the moment. 

Read more about each specific benefit at IRS.gov.