Emerging from the Shadows
Face of America’s Essential Last Responder Once Concealed, Now Revealed
Essential Edict: Effective April 15 employees of businesses in direct contact with the public are required to wear face coverings. And their employers must provide them. This mandate is part of the Governor’s efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The image was taken by a neighborhood writer/photographer earlier this month on Fulton Street in Clinton Hill.
Who CARES About Us? Attorneys General Urging Feds to Ensure Stimulus Payments Go to Families, Not Debt Collectors
From the Office of Attorney General Letitia James
The CARES Act authorizes the Treasury Department to issue emergency stimulus payments of up to $1,200 for eligible adults and up to $500 for eligible children. Similar government relief programs intended to provide for Americans’ basic needs — like Social Security, disability, and veterans’ payments — all are statutorily exempt from garnishment, a legal mechanism that typically involves the “freezing” of funds in a bank account by creditors or debt collectors.
But — in what was a likely oversight by Congress to quickly pass the law — the CARES Act does not explicitly designate these emergency stimulus payments as exempt from garnishment, allowing debt collectors to potentially benefit before consumers.
Earlier this week, York Attorney General Letitia James sent two letters to the federal government in an effort to help Americans deal with the ensuing economic fallout of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health crisis.
First, Attorney General James led a bipartisan coalition of 25 attorneys general in sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, calling on the U.S. Department of the Treasury to take immediate action to ensure billions of dollars in emergency stimulus payments authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) go to American families AND NOT debt collectors. Congress passed the CARES Act three weeks ago to provide direct and immediate economic relief to all individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19, but — unlike other government programs — the CARES Act does not explicitly designate these emergency stimulus payments as exempt from garnishment from creditors.
“During this public health and economic crisis, the States do not believe that the billions of dollars appropriated by Congress to help keep hard-working Americans afloat should be subject to garnishment,” the attorneys general write. Continuing, “Treasury has stated that ‘[i]n the weeks immediately after the passage of the CARES Act, Americans will see fast and direct relief in the form of Economic Impact Payments,’ and we request Treasury’s assistance in ensuring Americans are able to retain that monetary relief.”
Attorney General James, as part of a coalition of 23 attorneys general, also sent a second letter today to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), demanding the federal agency enforce the provision of the CARES Act that protects consumers who obtain relief under the Act from incurring harm to their credit scores, after the agency recently announced that it would not be enforcing the provision. The letter demands that the CFPB require both lenders and credit reporting agencies to meet their obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act during the COVID-19 crisis.