April 1, 2020

Last Friday, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package to address the devastating economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.  Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance loans, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and the Direct Payment to Individuals are all provisions under the CARES Act that may apply to REALTORS®.

We understand that the situation is frustrating, and that our members want to be as proactive as possible with obtaining potential assistance. However, as soon as the CARES Act was signed, government agencies have scrambled to develop processes for enacting these policies. Most of these new programs do not have guidelines on eligibility or application processes available yet.

Our organization is dedicated to getting you the most current and accurate information. Below is general information on these provisions as well as sites that you can follow for updated information. Here’s what we know so far as provided from the National Association of REALTORS® and the Office of Senator Brian Schatz:

Small Business Administration (SBA) Assistance: 
Included in the package is over $370 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance to help small businesses, organizations and self-employed individuals to help cover their expenses during the crisis. The next step in the process is for the SBA to promulgate new rules necessary to implement the new law. This  means a delay in the release of available funds as the SBA drafts rules to clarify eligibility and provide information on how to apply.

The following is a summary of several CARES business related assistance programs:

SBA Loans: The CARES Act creates a new emergency grant of $10,000 for small businesses that apply for an SBA economic injury disaster loan (EIDL).  EIDLs are loans up to $2 million with interest rates of 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits, and principal and interest payments deferred up to 4 years.  The EIDL loans may be used to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not happened, including payroll and other operating expenses. The EIDL grant does not need to be repaid even if the applicant is denied an EIDL.  A small business may apply for an EIDL grant and a Paycheck Protection loan. The EIDL grant will be subtracted from the amount of the Paycheck Protection loan that is forgivable. See U.S. Chamber of Commerce guide and checklist for loan calculation and foregiveness.

Business Tax Relief: The CARES Act provides other forms of tax relief for businesses, including loosening requirements for net operating losses, and limitations on business interest deductions.  The CARES Act also permanently fixes the qualified improvement property (QIP) error in the 2017 tax law, so that QIP investments are entitled to 100% recovery over 15 years.

Delay for Single Employer Pension Plans: Single employer pension plans are allowed to delay quarterly contributions for 2020 until the end of the year.  Employers may also use 2019 funded status for the purposes of determining funding-based limits on plan benefits for the plan years that include 2020.

Updates available at

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA):
Self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and other individuals who are unable to work as a direct result of COVID-19 public health emergency, and would not qualify for regular unemployment benefits under state law may be eligible to receive PUA.

The unemployment assistance is available to individuals who are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work for the weeks impacted as a result of COVID-19 between January 27- December 31, 2020. These benefits will be administered by the states, in accordance with this new Federal law. There is a maximum of 39 weeks of assistance, where the amount is equal to what is authorized under the state unemployment compensation law, plus an additional $600 per week for up to four months.

According to Ken Hiraki, Government Affairs Director, PUA is not automatic, and individuals will need to apply to receive this assistance once the State finalizes its eligibility and application process. The State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations plans to activate a phone hotline by next week Monday to help answer any questions.

Updates available at

Direct Payment:
The federal government will send you a payment if (1) you meet the eligibility criteria; (2) you fall within the income cap; and (3) you have filed a tax return or you already receive Social Security benefits.  If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 or you receive Social Security benefits, you do not need to apply for this benefit. If you do not fit into those categories, you can file a tax return for free to receive your payment. Payments will be made as fast as possible but could still take a month or longer.


Anyone other than a nonresident alien, a dependent, or an estate, is eligible.

You must have a Social Security number for you, your spouse, and any child you are claiming.  There is an exception for spouses of active duty military members

Payment Amount

Individuals receive $1,200 (joint filers receive $2,400) plus $500 per child under 17 years old.

Benefits start to phase out for those with incomes exceeding $150,000 for married couples, $75,000 for singles, and $112,500 for single parents.

With the phase-out, payments will not go to single filers earning more than $99,000; head-of-household filers with one child, more than $146,500; and more than $198,000 for joint filers with no children.

Your income is based on your 2019 tax return; if you did not file taxes in 2019, the Treasury will use your 2018 tax return.

If you did not file a tax return in those years, the Treasury can use your Social Security benefit information or you will have to file a tax return.  You can find out how to file a return for free at

Payment Method

If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, or you receive Social Security benefits, you will receive the rebate automatically.

If you provided bank account information to receive your tax refund as a direct deposit, you will receive your rebate that way.

If you did not provide information for direct deposit, you will be mailed a rebate check to the address provided on your 2018 or 2019 tax return, whichever you filed most recently.

If you did not file in 2018 or 2019, but you receive Social Security benefits, you will receive the rebate the same way you receive your Social Security benefit.

After the payment is made, you will receive a notification in the mail from the Treasury within 15 days.

If you do not fit within one of these categories you can file a tax return now to receive your payment (to file a return for free, please go to

Updates available at 

In addition, the CARES Act appropriates at least $1 billion to Hawaii in federal assistance to the state and county to help offset a drop in tax collections and costs related to emergency services.

Again, since the Act was just signed, there will be a delay in the full implementation of the new law as state and county officials work with their federal counterparts to clarify both eligibility requirements as well as the application process.

The Residential Real Estate Council (RRC) hosted a free webinar on this topic with Chris Bird. Non-members can create an RRC account to access the recording.

For recent updates on the state and counties, visit the following sites:

Hawai‘i State




Hawai‘i Island