Monthly Archives: May 2020

Will Unemployment Benefits and Stimulus Payments Impact Financial Aid?

Q: If a student receives unemployment benefits during COVID-19, do they need to report them as income on the FAFSA? What about other benefits like stimulus payments or emergency aid a student receives from their campus?

A: Unemployment benefits, including those received in connection with the Coronavirus pandemic, must be reported as income on the FAFSA.  Since the FAFSA is on a prior-prior year basis, this income, which will be reported on their 2020 federal income tax return,  and would be reported on the 2022-2023 FAFSA but would not impact their current financial aid award.

In contrast, Economic Impact Payments, or stimulus checks, are not considered taxable income and do not affect their financial aid eligibility, either now or in the future. These checks do not need to be reported on the FAFSA.

In addition, emergency financial aid grants to students and other financial aid received from the government in connection with the Coronavirus pandemic do not need to be reported as income on the FAFSA and do not affect students’ financial aid. Emergency aid from other than a governmental source, however, including emergency aid made available by a college campus not paid for by CARES Act funding, may be considered “Estimated Financial Assistance” and may reduce a student’s financial aid award. In this scenario, students should request that the financial aid office exercise professional judgment to increase the student’s cost of attendance to make room for the aid.

For further information on student emergency aid and taxation, refer to the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance.

Tagged , , ,

California Legislature Resumes

Q: Now that the California Legislature has resumed, what are key hearings, deadlines, and guidance for participation during the continued Covid-19 state of emergency? How will I know if a bill I care about is moving forward or held? 

A: After a legislative pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, the California State Assembly reconvened Monday, May 4, 2020 and the Senate will resume May 11, 2020. Due to the risk of spread of Covid-19, hearings are held virtually with telephonic access for public comment and in-person attendance is discouraged. Guidance to the public requests that people do not enter the Capitol if they have a cough or fever, or are monitoring Covid-19 symptoms. People are encouraged to watch and participate from home. Opportunities are provided to submit written testimony and to make public comment by phone. For anyone needing to attend in person there is a request to maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another. Capitol restrooms are equipped with soap and people are asked to wash hands often and use hand sanitizer.

The Assembly and Senate Daily Files are updated to include the new hearing dates, agendas and information for how to view the hearings. There will be one hearing per committee in the month of May. Based on the ongoing financial impact of Covid-19 on the economy, legislators were asked to restrict their legislative items only to those issues related to addressing Covid-19, homelessness, and wildfire response. Many bills previously set to be heard will now be held and will not move forward this year. To learn the status of legislation, search by bill number here and click on the status tab.

Hearings important to transition age youth and foster youth are the following:

To learn more and support JBAY’s legislative advocacy, visit our take action page, here.

Tagged , ,