I know that these are challenging times for Oregonians and their families. I wanted to share some resources that I think would be helpful as folks navigate a multitude of agencies and programs designed to offer COVID-19 relief. Many of these programs are not perfect and federal agencies are working rapidly to fix problems and add new information. I urge constituents who are having difficulties navigating federal agencies to call my office at 202 225 5711. My office is always here to provide assistance.
ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS
If you have not yet received your IRS economic impact payment, you can check your status through their Get My Payment tool, linked here. If you are a non-filer, you can enter your personal and banking information here. The fastest way to get your economic impact payment is to enter your direct deposit information through the IRS Get My Payment tool.
Additionally, I am very concerned by reports that I have been getting from some constituents about attempted IRS fraud. It is unacceptable that bad actors are preying upon vulnerable people during this tough time. Below are some tips about preventing fraud from happening to you and how to report it:
The IRS NEVER:
- Calls to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. They do not reach out over the phone, text or social media. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be the IRS, hang up right away and report it immediately.
- Threatens to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demands that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed
- Calls out of the blue about an unexpected tax refund.
If any of this has happened to you, please report it right away. You can call the IRS Fraud Hotline at 1-800-829-0433.
SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Last week, I came to DC to ensure that small businesses got another round of Payroll Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan funding. I voted with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to pass an additional $310 billion dollars in funding for our small businesses. This will supplement the $350 billion in small business aid that we passed last month. However, there are some new provisions for these funds that will ensure they get in the hands of those who need it the most. $30 billion of these new funds will be reserved for small banks and community lenders. Another $30 billion will be reserved for medium sized banks.
I also voted for the creation of the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis. This panel will serve to provide needed oversight on the distribution of Coronavirus relief funds and will make sure that these dollars are spent appropriately and go to those who need the most.
If you have questions about small business assistance, visit my small business resource page on my official website. It is regularly updated with information and resources that may be helpful to our small business owners.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 and your mortgage is backed by the federal government—this includes FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans—provisions in the recently passed CARES Act allow you to suspend payments for up to six months with a possible extension of up to a year. It’s important to note that most mortgages are federally backed, so this might be an option for you. Mortgage forbearance is when your mortgage servicer, the company that sends you your monthly statements and manages your loan, temporarily halts or reduces your payment. Mortgage forbearance does not mean your payments are forgiven. You will still be required to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future, which is why it is important that if you can continue to pay your mortgage, you should do so.
In order to request forbearance, you must contact your mortgage servicer. You will not be required to submit additional documents beyond informing your servicer that you are facing a financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19. Mortgage servicers are prohibited from adding additional late fees, penalties, or interest during the forbearance period, other than what you are typically scheduled to pay during that time.
If you don’t know who owns or backs your mortgage, you can contact your servicer. The servicer has an obligation to provide you with the name, address, and telephone number of who owns your loan. Depending on the kind of loan you have, there may be different forbearance options. For example, if you have a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, or USDA loan, you won’t have to pay back the amount that was suspended all at once—unless you are able to do so. It is important that you check with your mortgage servicer and work with them to determine what repayment option is best for you at the end of the forbearance period.
Additional resources that may be helpful are linked below:
Finally, I want to share my immense gratitude for Oregon’s essential workers during this time. Our doctors, nurses, postal workers, grocery store workers stocking shelves, sanitation workers, construction workers, farmworkers and our brave first responders who are working tirelessly to keep Oregonians healthy and safe. I also want to thank our teachers who have quickly adapted to remote learning and are working overtime to get our high school seniors graduated and college ready. It is because of our frontline heroes and everyday Oregonians who are following social distancing guidelines that our state has turned the corner and is beginning to reopen. I am proud to be your representative in Congress.
We are thankful and we stand with you.
Member of Congress