What the CARES Act Means for You
UPDATE 3/27: The CARES Act was signed into law.
Today, the President signed into law a bill to provide direct support to millions of working individuals and families across the country. This is the second federal law enacted over the past week responding to COVID-19 that provides benefits to many members of the Lyft community.
Lyft supports this new law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), and advocated for a number of provisions contained in it. As a member of the Lyft family, we want to share with you what we know about resources found in the CARES Act that may help you and your family during this challenging time.
Most Lyft drivers use our platform as supplemental income while working as full-time or part-time employees elsewhere. For those of you who fall into this category, those receiving W2s from your part-time or full-time employer, you may be eligible for an expansion of existing unemployment compensation under the CARES Act if that job has been interrupted during the current health crisis.
Other drivers who are self-employed, including independent contractors, may be eligible to receive compensation through a new temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program now through December 31, 2020. Those who are unable or unavailable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency qualify for this assistance. The program offers up to 39 weeks of benefits - with weekly benefits of at least half the average weekly benefit under regular unemployment insurance plus an additional $600 per week for up to four months.
The law also provides for direct payments of up to $1,200 for individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 based on 2019 or 2018 tax returns. All married couples, with adjusted gross income up to $150,000 who file a joint return, are eligible for payments up to $2,400. Those amounts increase by $500 for every child. The amounts are phased out with higher incomes.
Additionally, the CARES Act expands the availability of small business loans and emergency grants through the Small Business Administration. These may be used for a variety of purposes, and may be subject to deferment and even forgiveness. And, federal student loan payments for direct loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) are suspended for six months with no interest accruing.
What Lyft is Doing
In addition to supporting the CARES Act, Lyft is providing supplemental support to drivers should they be diagnosed with COVID-19 or put under individual quarantine by a public health agency. This helps support drivers financially when they can't drive, while also protecting our riders’ health. These funds will be given to affected drivers who are identified to us by public health officials or who contact our support team and provide documentation that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or put under individual quarantine by a public health agency.
Transportation is fundamental to daily life, even in times of crisis. Due to the crucial role rideshare plays in transportation systems today, Lyft has been recognized by states around the country as providing access to essential services in more than a dozen states that have issued shelter in place and shelter at home orders. This means that Lyft drivers will continue to play an important role in connecting people with vital services and goods.
While ride demand is temporarily down, we’re actively expanding our services to include delivery partnerships with healthcare, government, and businesses to create new opportunities for those of you who are interested and able to drive. Those who would like to help neighbors get to grocery stores, workers to hospitals, and caretakers to their jobs can sign up for our LyftUp Driver Task Force (this is entirely optional and drivers are paid for these rides).
We ask all drivers to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control: if you are feeling sick or have been exposed to someone who is, stay home and do not drive. Drivers who are healthy and providing this essential service should keep vehicle windows open when possible to increase ventilation and regularly disinfect surfaces. We are doing everything in our power (given global shortages) to supply hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes at no charge. We’re also developing creative ways to distribute these while Hubs are closed. We’ll provide local updates in your app about when these are ready for pick up, so stay tuned.
We’ll continue to look for additional ways we can support the driver community, activate LyftUp Driver Task Force, and help unlock access to essential services during a time of uncertainty.