Many Americans could receive a $1,000 stimulus check in the mail, possibly in the next two weeks, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday, and some taxpayers will receive an extension on their filings.
The secretary made the revelation during the White House’s daily coronavirus press conference.
“Hardworking Americans need cash now,” Mnuchin said. “We want to make sure Americans get money in their pockets immediately.”
Exact details on the stimulus payment were still being worked out with members of Congress, but Mnuchin said he expected the deal to be worked out by the end of Tuesday.
People who are owed a refund should still file by April 15 so they get their money, Mnuchin said. If you owe money, you may defer for up to 90 days with no penalty and no interest. The limits are up to $1 million for an individual and $10 million for a corporation. Go ahead and file your taxes, however.
President Donald Trump estimated that’s $300 billion in additional liquidity in the market, Mnuchin said.
“That’s a tremendous amount,” Mnuchin said.
Other measures are under study, Trump said.
The government is looking at options for the airline industry.
“This is worse than 9-11” for airlines, Trump said, but did not answer a question as to whether executives would receive assistance.
The government has urged fast food restaurants to keep their drive-throughs open, Trump said. He urges customers to use restaurant apps to order ahead since the store can have their food ready to pick up quickly, allowing for social distancing.
“They can feed a large part of the population,” Trump said.
The president said he is looking at providing help for small businesses, defined as having 500 or less employees; that should help many restaurants, especially franchises.
Other economic takeaways include keeping the stock markets open, even if they operate on shorter hours.
Federal officials are cutting red-tape to expand Medicare patients’ access to telemedicine, Trump said. Medicare patients may use telemedicine to virtually visit their doctor at no additional charge using the phone or a service like Skype. State governments have been authorized to cover this service. The use of telemedicine is meant to reduce potential exposure to coronavirus.
“We want everyone to maximize the use of telehealth,” Trump said.
Officials said HIPAA regulations would be relaxed. Seniors may call their doctor or their Medicare number for help setting up the telemedicine call.
Private labs should start providing testing, Trump said. He said he spoke to executives from major fast food companies like Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Burger King to encourage them to make pickup service available instead of customers dining in.
Testing is available in all 50 states, Vice President Mike Pence said. State officials may now authorize the opening of labs and expanded testing capabilities. U.S. public health officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are talking with retailers like Walmart and Target to help with remote testing sites.
Pence asked people to use practical sense and good hygiene and be mindful of seniors. He asked construction companies to donate N95 masks to local hospitals and don’t order more.
Trump continued his call for people to work from home when possible, and for other industries where that is not possible, to take precautions. He continued his call to limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people.
“We’re going to win,” Trump said, and urged people to by less at stores. “Don’t take everything.”