Congress Passes “CARES” Act
In this difficult time, Washington Filmworks and our new partner organization, Whipsmart, are working to share information for both the film and creative communities in Washington State as it becomes available. Whipsmart is a new creative economy-focused nonprofit that gives creative professionals the tools they need to succeed by meeting them where they’re at.
Today Congress passed a third package of emergency relief legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security “CARES” Act. This is breaking news and the federal legislation that was signed into law today will need to be interpreted and implemented at the state level. So in the coming weeks, there will be many more details that need to be discussed and communicated to the public.
This bill expands key unemployment insurance benefits to include those who are self-employed, gig workers, independent contractors and freelancers. This means arts and entertainment workers will now receive economic support to help make up for the income lost due to cancelled or postponed work. Here are the notable benefits from the new relief bill.
“CARES” Act Notable Benefits for Arts and Entertainment Workers:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) extends unemployment benefits to those who otherwise would not qualify, including the self-employed and independent contractors
- Increased maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week through July 31
- Extended unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks
- A direct $1,200 payment to heads of households earning up to $112,500 or other individuals earning up to $75,000 per year
- A direct $2,400 payment to married couples earning up to $150,000 per year
- A direct payment of $500 for each child under 16
- Increases funding by $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and $75 million for the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities
- Increases funding by $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
- Establishes forgivable loans and grants for small businesses and nonprofits so that they can continue to run
You can read the CARES Act legislation passed today here.
What are the next steps? This is breaking news and the federal legislation that was signed into law today will need to be interpreted and implemented at the state level. In the coming weeks, there will be many more details that need to be discussed and communicated to the public. The Washington State Employment Security Department will be sharing details as quickly as possible about how to access these benefits. They recommend signing up for COVID-19 action alerts for updates, or check back often to be notified of the next steps for applying for benefits.
Here is a list of media coverage and press releases on the CARES act:
: CARES Act Notable Benefits for SAG-AFTRA Members in Need of Relief
: Congress passes “CARES” Act providing immediate economic relief for entertainment workers
: CARES Act: What’s in it for Small Businesses, the Self-Employed and Gig Workers
: New relief bill to boost unemployment insurance by $600 a week for gig workers, freelancers and more