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Understanding Coronavirus Relief Options

Explore COVID-19 resources and learn how the government is responding to the crisis with legislation like the CARES Act.

COVID-19 has affected everyone in one way or another. The government’s response is ongoing, and part of it includes relief efforts like the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Learn more about what the CARES Act might mean for you, including things like stimulus payments, unemployment benefits and housing protections. And explore other resources aimed at supporting those affected by the outbreak.

Economic Impact Payments

We know you might have questions about Economic Impact Payments, also referred to as stimulus payments, and what they mean for you. It’s our goal to share as much as we know to help keep you informed. We encourage you to visit IRS.gov/coronavirus for the latest information on each of the questions below. 

You can also learn more about Economic Impact Payments and how you might be affected, including information about depositing checks, accessing mobile banking, protecting yourself from fraud and more.

What are Economic Impact Payments?

On March 27, 2020, an emergency stimulus package was signed into law to provide financial relief to qualifying individuals impacted by COVID-19. According to the IRS, eligible individuals will receive up to $1,200, and eligible married couples will receive up to $2,400. There’s also a separate one-time payment of $500 for parents of each qualifying child under 17.

Who qualifies for Economic Impact Payments?

Individuals who filed their taxes in 2019 or 2018 with an adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($112,500 for taxpayers who filed as head of household) and joint filers with an adjusted gross income up to $150,000 are eligible to receive the full payment. The payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000 and $150,000 thresholds. Filers with no children and income exceeding $99,000 for single filers, $198,000 for joint filers and $136,500 for head-of-household filers aren’t eligible.

How do I receive my payment if I qualify?

If banking information was provided in your 2018 or 2019 federal tax return, payments will be deposited directly into your account. If the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information, you may have to wait to receive a check in the mail.

When can I expect to receive my payment?

The IRS indicated on March 30 that payments were scheduled to begin by mid-to-late April. It will take a few months for payments to reach all those who qualify. We encourage you to visit the Get My Payment application on the IRS website. You can also learn more from us about how to check on your stimulus payment.

Unemployment Relief

The CARES Act and other recent coronavirus relief legislation allow states to expand unemployment insurance so that more people qualify for benefits.

Ultimately, each state manages a separate unemployment insurance program. But the CARES Act allows states to extend unemployment benefits by up to 13 weeks—sometimes more—until December 31, 2020. States can also offer an additional $600 per week on top of existing benefits until July 31, 2020.

How do unemployment claims work?

As COVID-19 has spread, unemployment claims have surged. The Department of Labor recommends contacting your state’s program as soon as possible after you become unemployed. The agency says it generally can take two to three weeks after a claim is filed to receive a benefit check, so it may be a good idea to start the process as soon as possible.

Capital One has more information about unemployment insurance It includes a full list of links to state unemployment websites. The Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop also has state-level information about unemployment insurance and coronavirus updates.

What if I lost my health insurance, too?

If losing your job also resulted in you losing your health coverage, you may be able to access insurance elsewhere. But be sure to act quickly: Special enrollment periods for the national and state marketplaces may be open for only 60 days after you lose your job.

Capital One put together a quick health insurance guide to help you navigate potential options.

Housing Relief

The CARES Act also provides some relief for those worried about being unable to make their mortgage or rent payments amid the outbreak. And additional assistance may be offered at the state and local levels.

For the most current information about relief, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), state government, state courts and local government websites. Capital One also has more information about mortgage and rent relief.

What relief is available for homeowners with federally backed mortgages?

If you can’t pay your mortgage, the CFPB recommends calling your mortgage servicer immediately to discuss your options. 

The CARES Act has two mortgage relief options for homeowners with federally backed mortgages. The first temporarily suspends foreclosures. And the other allows people to request mortgage forbearance, a process that temporarily pauses or reduces payments.

How does foreclosure protection work?

When it comes to foreclosures, lenders and servicers can’t foreclose on homeowners with federally backed mortgages for the 60-day period that began March 18. That includes starting new foreclosures or finalizing existing judgments and sales.

How does forbearance work?

The CARES Act also lets homeowners with federally backed mortgages who are experiencing a financial hardship due to COVID-19 request a mortgage forbearance (pausing or reducing payments) for up to 180 days—and a one-time 180-day extension after that. 

During this forbearance period, there will be no additional fees, no penalties or no additional interest added to your account by your mortgage servicer. And delinquencies won’t be reported to credit reporting agencies during this period. Keep in mind that your regular interest may continue to accrue according to your loan schedule. 

If you’re not sure whether your mortgage is federally backed, you can check with your loan servicer. And remember, additional assistance may be available at the state and local levels.

What relief is available for homeowners with conventional mortgages?

Even if your loan isn’t federally backed, you may still have mortgage relief options. The CFPB still recommends you contact your mortgage servicer immediately if you’re unable to pay your mortgage. Financial regulators like the CFPB are encouraging lenders to work with people who are experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19. And some state and local governments are implementing their own relief programs.

What relief is available for renters?

The CARES Act also includes some protections for renters. But protections under this act apply only if you’re renting from an owner with a federally backed mortgage. If that’s the case, your landlord can’t evict you because of nonpayment of rent until August 23 at the earliest (120 days after the CARES Act went into effect, plus 30 days after notice to vacate is provided).

Some state and local governments have also suspended all evictions and foreclosures. So you might still be protected even if you’re not covered by the CARES Act.

Student Loan Relief

Under the CARES Act, payments on federally held student loans were automatically suspended through September 30, 2020. You don’t need to do anything to suspend your payments. And interest won’t accrue on your federally held loans while your payments are suspended.

Is there relief for private student loans, too?

The CARES Act is limited to student loans held by the federal government. If you have private student loans, contact your lender directly to see what your options may be. You can also visit the CFPB to learn more about what to do if you can’t afford your student loan payments.

Credit Card, Auto and Other Loans

Many businesses and lenders have already announced plans to help borrowers who have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. If you find yourself unable to make payments on bills or on credit card debts or other loans, the CFPB recommends working with your lenders directly.

Depending on your circumstances, lenders may be able to offer relief in the form of payment extensions or other flexible arrangements. 

Capital One customers who may be experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19 should reach out directly to discuss available resources.

What relief is available for auto loans?

If you’re unable to make payments on your car loan, you should contact your lender immediately. The CFPB has guidance on a few of the ways lenders may be able to work with you. Loan extensions are one way your lender may be able to offer temporary relief. These generally allow you to skip a certain number of immediate payments and add them on the back end of your loan.

Capital One customers who are experiencing challenges paying their auto loans can sign in to their account to see if they qualify for a loan extension.

What relief is available for small businesses?

The CARES Act also established a number of temporary programs to assist small businesses, including certain nonprofits, sole proprietors, independent contractors and other self-employed individuals. 

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is one example. It was designed to provide funds to cover payroll costs and other eligible expenses. That could include things like interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.

Learn more by visiting the SBA’s website. You can also find small business updates from Capital One and other resources, including FAQs about PPP loans.

Do relief efforts cover credit reporting?

The CARES Act also contains requirements for credit reporting. The new rules apply to people who have reached a COVID-19-related payment relief agreement with their lenders. But like so much related to the coronavirus, the specifics depend on each individual’s situation. Here’s how the CFPB explains it:

  • If your account is current, you may be able to make an agreement with your lender to do things like make partial payments or skip payments. If you meet the terms of the agreement, your creditor is required to report that you’re current on your loan or account.
  • If your account is already delinquent and you make an agreement, the creditor can keep reporting your account’s delinquent status until you bring the account current.


The CARES Act requirements apply to payment agreements made between January 31 and 120 days after the national emergency ends.


You can also learn more from Capital One about ways to reduce COVID-19’s impact on your credit score.


How can I monitor my credit?

You can monitor your credit with CreditWise® from Capital One®. And the Credit Simulator feature allows you to explore the potential impact of your financial decisions before you make them. CreditWise is free to everyone—even if you aren’t a Capital One customer. 

You can also get free copies of your credit reports every 12 months from each of the major credit bureaus: Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®. In response to COVID-19, they are now offering free weekly online reports through April 2021. Visit annualcreditreport.com to learn more.

Additional Resources

Check back for updates about the CARES Act and other government relief efforts—and what they might mean for you. If you have an account at a state-regulated financial institution, there may be other rules and regulations that apply to your accounts. Learn more from your state’s banking department.

You can also learn more about Capital One’s response to COVID-19, explore digital tools and find answers to frequently asked questions at capitalone.com/coronavirus.

Last updated June 25, 2020

We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

This content includes links to external sites that are not owned or maintained by Capital One. The content in these links could change, and the links may become inaccessible.


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