On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,also known as the CARES Act, to provide economic relief to people and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The relief takes many forms, including, for example, direct payouts and unemployment benefits to certain individuals and families, increased grant funding to help vulnerable communities, loans to small businesses, and support for healthcare and various other industries. The CARES Act will provide support to a significant number of LGBT people and same-sex couples. This brief provides estimates of LGBT people and same-sex couples who will benefit under several key provisions of the act.
The CARES Act provides for a direct payout to individuals, married couples, and parents with annual incomes under certain thresholds. Over 6.5 million LGBT people will receive these funds, including:
- 6.4 million single LGBT adults with an annual income of up to $75,000 who will receive the full payout of $1,200. An estimated 1.7 million of these adults also have children under age 17 in the home and will receive additional support of $500 for each child.
- 324,000 same-sex married couples with a combined annual income of up to $150,000 who will receive the full payout of $2,400. An estimated 64,000 of these couples also have children under age 17 in the home and will receive additional support of $500 for each child.
- A number of additional unmarried LGBT adults who earn up to $112,500 will qualify for the full payout if they file their taxes as head of household and have children under age 17 in the home. Unmarried LGBT adults who earn an annual income of $75,001 to $99,000 and same-sex married couples who earn an annual income of $150,0001 to $198,000 will also receive some amount of money, depending on their income and the number of children under age 17 in the home. It is not possible to estimate the number of unmarried LGBT adults who will be eligible for this money using existing data sources.
The CARES Act provides $600 in additional unemployment benefits per week for people who are unemployed.
- 292,000 LGBT adults filed for unemployment benefits last week.
- This estimate is likely low given that research suggests that LGBT workers are overrepresented in industries most heavily impacted by the pandemic, including arts, entertainment, transportation, warehousing, and other fields.
The CARES Act provides support and resources for healthcare workers across the country. Support and resources include funding for protective equipment and critical medical supplies, support for enhanced infection control and mitigation efforts, and the development of programs that allow health care workers to connect remotely with their patients.
- 826,000 LGBT people work in the healthcare industry.