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

The IRS has launched sites to help hardworking Americans with their Economic Impact Payments.
 
IRS Frequently Asked Questions, click here.

For those who filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and want to check the status of your Economic Impact Payment, click here.
 
For those who are not required to file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, enter your payment information, click here.
 
For Social Security recipients who do not file tax returns, you will NOT need to take any action in order to receive their check. Click here to learn more.

If you're Economic Impact Payment says it has been sent but you haven't received it, click here for more information on requesting a trace on your payment (Q. 55 on the official IRS website).
 

Who is eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment?
Relief checks are available to all U.S. residents regardless of income source. All U.S. residents with gross income up to $75,000 for individuals 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. 

  • Have a valid Social Security number,
  • Could not be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer, and
  • Had adjusted gross income under certain limits.

Who should use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info to provide additional information to receive the Economic Impact Payment?

Eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents who:

  • Had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019
  • Were not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, and didn't plan to

For more information for non-filers, click here

Do I have to apply to receive an Economic Impact Payment?
Though most individuals will be automatically enrolled to receive their rebate check, some still need to file a tax return to ensure eligibility.  All those who have filed a tax return for taxable income earned in 2019, 2018, or received a Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099 are automatically enrolled to receive a rebate check.  The value of the check will be based on the most recent benefit statement or tax return filed.

However, all those who have not filed for income earned in 2018 or 2019, and do not receive a Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099 will need to file a free 2019 return to enter themselves into the IRS system. The process can be completed online through the IRS by clicking here.

Most eligible U.S. taxpayers will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments including:

  • Individuals who filed a federal income tax for 2018 or 2019
  • Individuals who receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits
  • Individuals who receive Railroad Retirement benefits

Do people on social security and disability receive Economic Impact Payments?
Yes, available to all U.S. residents regardless of income source.  While it phases out with income made over the gross income threshold, it does not discriminate on income source.

How do I claim dependent children if I don't normally file taxes?
If you don’t normally file taxes and are set to receive payment automatically, use the IRS Non-Filers tool to claim dependent children. This means that eligible people who get Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), survivor benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Affairs benefits and have a qualifying child should register soon to get an additional $500 in their payments. 

Will veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments receive a check?
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and IRS announced today that they are working directly with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure Veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments will receive their Economic Impact Payments automatically and without additional paperwork. (Source: U.S. Treasury)

Will the Economic Impact Payments be taxed?
The check is not considered taxable income per the Senate Finance Committee.

If 2019 is the first year I’m filing taxes and I haven’t file them yet, what happens?
If so then fill out your tax return ASAP with complete and accurate information to become eligible for the rebate check.

How will the IRS know where to send my payment?
The vast majority of people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payment to those eligible. 

For people who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their return for 2019, the IRS will use information from their 2018 tax filing to calculate the payment. The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on the return filed. (Source: irs.gov/coronavirus)

Individuals on tax-exempt income will receive payment however you receive your normal payment, as a direct deposit or check in the mail.

The IRS does not have my direct deposit information. What can I do?
In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail. (Source: irs.gov/coronavirus)

Individuals on tax-exempt income will receive payment however you receive your normal payment, as a direct deposit or check in the mail.

Does someone who has died qualify to receive an Economic Impact Payment? 
No. A payment made to someone who died before receipt of the payment should be returned to the IRS by following the instructions about repayments. Return the entire payment unless the payment was made to joint filers and one spouse had not died before receipt of the payment, in which case, you only need to return the portion of the payment made on account of the decedent. This amount will be $1,200 unless adjusted gross income exceeded $150,000. 

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

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. 

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 to Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19

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.







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?

The United States has completed more tests than any other country, and national and state testing capabilities continue to increase exponentially by the day. While I understand frustration and confusion exist surrounding testing capability and criteria, public-private partnerships at all levels of government have dramatically increased testing capacity, which has, in turn, given clinicians the ability to test an increased number of both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.

There are two types of tests for COVID-19, molecular (diagnostic) tests, and serology (antibody) tests, both of which have different purposes. Molecular test results determine if an individual is currently infected with the virus, regardless of the severity of symptoms, whereas serology tests determine, through analyzing antibodies, if there was a previous infection from which one has recovered. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has worked quickly to issue Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for dozens of molecular and serological tests, allowing private companies to begin manufacturing and distributing tests across the country.

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?

Both Congress and the Administration have taken a number of significant steps to ensure our frontline health care providers and first responders have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). There is no question, however, that the international, national, and statewide competition for PPE has resulted in shortages and delays of critical supplies. This is why I have co-sponsored a bill that will improve access to respirator masks to medical professionals during a health crisis. As the proud father of a nurse, I understand the need for our health care workers and first responders to have adequate resources to protect themselves and their patients. In addition to Congress’ extensive actions to provide necessary resources, President Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) on numerous occasions to increase the supply of medical equipment and PPE. By invoking the DPA, the federal government has the ability to ensure companies prioritize and accept government contracts, control distribution of such products, provide economic incentives, and enter into voluntary agreements in order to increase supplies needed to combat COVID-19.

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.

I need internet access to work or learn remotely

As many North Carolinians are being asked to work and learn remotely, having access to reliable internet is more important than ever. To help ensure access, the Broadband Infrastructure Office has compiled a list of new and existing free or affordable service offerings from vendors across the state. Learn more by clicking here

USDA Resources for Rural Communities

The USDA has released information to help rural communities address the coronavirus pandemic. The guide helps rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities as we fight this pandemic. For more information, click here

Information for Veterans

If I am a veteran, can I get tested for COVID-19 at VA?

Testing is based on many factors, including the severity of symptoms, other existing conditions, and exposure. VA health facilities are testing veterans who meet the testing criteria provided by the CDC. There is no charge for testing provided by VA. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 please call your VA medical center before visiting. Learn more here.

What should I do if I have an upcoming VA health appointment?

VA recommends using telehealth (phone or video) for routine scheduled appointments. You can change your appointment from in-person to telehealth by using the secure messaging system or the VA appointments tool. If you have a non-urgent elective procedure scheduled, VA may contact you to cancel or reschedule. Per VA, urgent and emergent procedures will continue as scheduled. If you have a scheduled appointment with a community care (non-VA) provider, please contact them directly before going. Learn more here.

VA also has several online tools available to help you manage your healthcare and benefits:  

Can VA help me if I am stressed out?

The COVID-19 pandemic can be very stressful and overwhelming. Please know if you are feeling this way you are not alone. VA has several mental health tips on its website and someone is always available to talk on the VA crisis line.  To talk to a responder with the VA crisis line call (800) 273-8255 and press 1 to visit their website and chat online or text. 

 Is VA still conducting compensation and pension examinations?

VA is still providing exams to determine service-connected disabilities and rate potential disabilities. Exams can be conducted virtually by phone, videoconference, or online. If your claim requires an in-person exam and VA can’t conduct the exam in person, they will contact you to reschedule the exam. Please make sure that VA has your up-to-date mailing address, phone number, and email address. Click here to update your contact information online. 

What if I need to turn in paperwork for my VA claim or appeal?

Regional VA offices are physically closed but staff members are still available by phone and on the online customer service. To reach your regional VA office, call (800) 827-1000. VA is providing extensions for any claim or paperwork deadlines. You can submit your paperwork late to:

  • Perfect a claim
  • Challenge an adverse decision
  • Submit a Notice of Disagreement
  • Submit a Substantive Appeal
  • Respond to a Supplemental Statement of the Case

If you need a claim extension, you can request an extension with any late-filed paperwork. You do not have to proactively request an extension in advance. VA has also indicated that they will accept typed or digital signatures instead of wet signatures (meaning signed in ink) on forms. If you have any questions, please call VA at 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.  

My school changed all classes to online. Will I still qualify for my GI Bill benefits?

On March 21, 2020, President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tillis to allow veterans and dependents on the GI Bill to continue receiving full benefits as colleges and universities move classes online to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you are currently receiving GI Bill benefits, payments will continue automatically. You don’t have to do anything to continue to receive the same monthly housing allowance payments you received for resident training until December 21, 2020, or until your school resumes normal operations. If you have questions, please contact the VA Education Call Center toll-free at 888-442-4551, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET.

What if I am a caregiver for a veteran? Are there any resources to help me?

Learn how you can protect and support yourself and your veteran loved one through these challenging times with tips from VA on Caregiving During COVID-19. For more information or support, please call VA at 1-855-260-3274.

Ways to Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been holding regular telephone town halls with hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians to hear their concerns and answer their questions. One question I hear over and over again is how an individual can help out their fellow North Carolinians during this crisis, which is reflective of the kindness and generosity of the residents of our great state. 

Whether you simply want to donate resources or volunteer your time, read my newsletter for opportunities to help out their fellow North Carolinians.
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