On March 27, Congress passed and the president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748), the third package to provide relief and support given the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are amazed by and grateful for the support from the community for rising to the occasion and taking action - over 1,700 advocates sent 5,315 letters to Congress!
Many provisions were included in the package that will be of support to people with epilepsy including:
- Up-to 90-day extra supply of medication for those enrolled in Medicare;
- Direct one-time payments of up to $1,200 for individuals making up to $75,000 and up to $2,400 for married couples making up to $150,000, plus an additional $500 per child; individuals making up to $99,000 and couples making up to $198,000 would receive slightly less (the payment amount falls by $5 for every $100 in income above $75,000);
- $600 per week for unemployment above standard state benefits for up to four months and allows for 13 weeks of benefits beyond the standard number of weeks of benefits when the individual remains unemployed;
- High deductible health plans with a health savings account are required to cover telehealth services prior to the individual reaching his/her deductible;
- Funding for an education stabilization fund—which, in part, is to help ensure that students with disabilities needs are met; and
- Funding to various federal departments and agencies to research and better understand COVID-19, for public health preparedness and response and ensure access to treatments, as well as to health systems to better fight the pandemic.
While we applaud government efforts so far, there is still more that must be done for our community and others living with serious and chronic conditions to access a necessary supply of essential treatments. Congress has already started discussing a fourth COVID-19 package. The Foundation will continue to advocate and keep you apprised of further opportunities for action during these unprecedented times.