Frequently Asked Questions

My office has received many calls and thoughtful questions from North Carolinians about coronavirus (COVID-19). The health of you, your loved ones, and our state is the most important thing and it’s critical that you have access to information and resources. I have put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve been receiving.

If you have further questions, click here to contact my office.

Relief Checks for North Carolinians

Who is eligible to receive a relief check?

All U.S. residents with gross income up to $75,000 and $150,000 for married couples, who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible social security number, are eligible for the full $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate. In addition, they are eligible for an additional $500 per child. The amount is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, $146,500 for the head of household filers with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.

To ensure you get a check, you need to have either filed a tax return in either 2019, 2018 or go fill out and file the free 2020 return on the IRS’s website.

How will I receive the relief check?

For the vast majority of Americans, no action on their part will be required in order to receive a check as IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return is filed, or in the alternative their 2018 return. This includes many low-income individuals who file a tax return in order to take advantage of the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. The check will be sent out (via mail or direct deposit) from the Department of Treasury to the IRS, directly to you. 

The relief check will be distributed however you received your money following your 2019 tax return or in the alternative your 2018 return. If you signed up for a direct deposit, you will get a direct deposit.  If you opted for a paper check, you will receive a paper check. The IRS and Treasury are still crafting and finalizing the guidelines for this program, so additional information should become available on their website in the coming days.

To ensure you get a check, you need to have either filed a tax return in either 2019, 2018 or go fill out and file the free 2020 return on the IRS’s website.

If I haven’t filed my 2019 taxes, then what?

If you filed a tax return for 2018, the checks will be based on your 2018 return. It is recommended that you complete your tax return for 2019 income ASAP. 

Will I get a check if I receive tax-exempt income such as social security or disability?

Yes, relief checks are available regardless of income source. If you did not file taxes and have tax-exempt income such as social security or disability, you’ll need to complete a free tax return filing through the IRS. This information, when available, will be updated at www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Will the checks be taxed?

The check is not considered taxable income per the Senate Finance Committee.

What if someone says they can help me get my check sooner?

If someone tells you they can get your check to you sooner, they are a scam. If you have any questions, contact my office. The IRS will be updating the following page with info as it becomes available: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

How will checks be sent?

You will receive your check based upon how you accepted your 2018 or 2019 tax return (via mail or direct deposit). While Secretary Mnuchin has yet to announce an official timeline for the checks, the IRS did say they could begin issuing payment within three weeks.  Those with direct deposit information should see their check significantly faster than those who utilize paper checks.

FAQ for Business Owners and Individuals

I hope you find this information useful. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have any other questions, and we will do our best to get you answers or point you in the right direction.

Additionally, the state of North Carolina has created a coronavirus helpline to help answer questions or concerns you may have, which you can reach at 1-866-462-3821. The hotline is staffed by professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

I'm a business owner, where can I go for resources on relief to get through the coronavirus pandemic?

My office has put together resources for individuals, small businesses, and medium-large businesses.

Can independent contractors or self-employed individuals file for unemployment?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides $250 billion to expand unemployment benefits and cover more Americans during this crisis.  Through the end of 2020, workers, including the self-employed and independent contractors, are made eligible for unemployment benefits, which are also temporarily increased by $600 per week from their typical benefit value. Additionally, the law increases the length of unemployment eligibility by an additional 13 weeks. With the President recently signing the bill into law, agencies are now formulating and finalizing rules and are providing guidance to the state of North Carolina, which will determine the ultimate unemployment benefits eligibility for our state. I will keep North Carolinians updated once we receive more guidance and the final details on how the program will be administered by the state government.  

Can part-time workers file for unemployment?

It varies state by state. Per the North Carolina Department of Commerce: If you work part-time, you must report the gross (before taxes) earnings for the weeks that you worked, and you must maintain your eligibility requirements. If your only employment was part-time and you have been separated, you may be eligible to receive benefits. Contact a DES claims representative at 1-888-737-0259 so that a determination can be made. More information is available here.

How do I apply for a small business loan?

Through multiple pieces of coronavirus (COVID-19) relief legislation, Congress has authorized the Small Business Administration (SBA) to issue special loans to employers in need of financial assistance in the coming days, weeks, or months. Click here for assistance. 

Facts about COVID-19

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North Carolina Health and Human Services Resources

NC 2-1-1 is a 24/7 information and referral service that North Carolinians can call to get free and confidential information on health and human services resources within their community.

Only call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing an emergency.

How can I protect myself and my family from coronavirus?

The CDC, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS), and the Red Cross have valuable information for North Carolinians on how you and your loved ones can best protect yourselves at home, at work, and at school. By taking these precautions and following the state’s guidelines on temporary social distancing to limit transmission, we can all do our part to help stop the spread of the virus and protect others.

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What is Senator Tillis doing to help combat the spread of coronavirus?

My top priority is the health and well-being of North Carolinians, which is why I’m working in a bipartisan manner to make sure North Carolina is as prepared as possible. I supported the successful initiative to provide $8.3 billion in federal funding to combat the spread of the coronavirus and support research and vaccine development. I also worked to help secure more than $13 million that will go directly to North Carolina to be used for emergency preparedness. I’m in communication with federal, state, and local leaders, including Governor Cooper and Vice President Pence, and I’ll continue to work to make sure North Carolina gets more testing kits as soon as possible and that we have the resources needed to combat coronavirus and protect you and your families.

Are there enough testing kits in North Carolina?

Right now, the number of testing kits in North Carolina does not meet the expected demand over the next several weeks. That is why I recently sent a bipartisan letter to Vice President Pence urging the administration to provide additional resources to increase testing capacity for coronavirus in North Carolina. I’m committed to working with the administration and our state leaders to make sure North Carolina receives its additional supply of test kits and guidance on best practices for testing prioritization.

Who is at high-risk for serious complications from coronavirus?

While the vast majority of healthy Americans who get coronavirus will experience mild symptoms and make a full recovery, the CDC notes that certain groups are at higher risk for serious illness or complications from coronavirus. This includes older adults and people with compromised immune systems and serious medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. The CDC recommends that higher-risk Americans take certain precautionary measures to help protect themselves, which you can read about here

Do our medical professionals and hospitals have enough supplies to treat patients?

There are reports that some hospitals are running out of N95 respirator masks which are critical to protecting health care professionals and treating patients and helping combat the spread of coronavirus. This is why I have co-sponsored a bill that will improve access to respirator masks to medical professionals during a health crisis. Additionally, bipartisan legislation that I supported and was signed into law by the President provides $10 million for worker-based training to prevent and reduce exposure for hospital employees, emergency first responders, and other workers on the front lines combatting the virus.

Why has a state of emergency been declared in North Carolina?

Governor Cooper recently declared a state of emergency to prepare and respond to the spread of coronavirus. This action gives the state government agencies a better ability to coordinate and communicate with each other, and also provides the state with more flexibility to focus on things like increasing access to medical supplies and countering price gouging. This is an important step, and I will continue to do my part at the federal level to support the state’s preparation and response efforts, which includes more than $13 million in federal funding I helped secure that will be provided to North Carolina to assist the state and local governments.

How far away are we from developing a vaccine?

We are at least a year away from developing a vaccine, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, because it takes time to ensure that a vaccine goes through a trial process and is safe for the public to begin using. Legislation that I recently worked to pass, which provides $8.3 billion in federal funding to combat the coronavirus, also includes more than $800 million for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

What countries should I avoid traveling to?

The CDC has issued warnings to avoid non-essential travel to select countries because of coronavirus. Please note this list is regularly updated, so visit here to see the most up-to-date list.