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What the U.S. Stimulus Package Means for You

& a story of how one photographer took a creative approach to what's happening

· stimulus,economy,money story,photographer,covid-19

Congress just passed the largest stimulus package in modern history. Before I break down the numbers, I want to share with you a story from a photographer who's embodying what we should all be doing during this time -- keep creating and being creative! I also love this story because it's bringing families closer together, while physically distancing.

Photo by Oksana Pali

I am a photographer living in a NY suburb, and as you can imagine my business came to a compete stop 2 weeks ago as I had to postpone all my photoshoots and no new inquiries were coming in. This seemed like the most stressful time in my career, and I didn’t know what will happen to my business, even after the storm passes. Will the economy tank? Will people want to invest in portrait photography? I also felt useless just sitting at home while the world was falling apart. Yes, I was busy homeschooling my kids but I also wanted to show them that we can do more as a family.

Just as I was starting to lose hope, I learned about #thefrontstepsproject. It’s a movement started by another photog in Boston, and I decided to give it a try. What I do is drive to neighbors in my town and take photos of them in front of their house from a safe distance (10 ft away). I, then, email them their images and instead of getting a payment, I ask to donate to a charity to fight COVID-19.

Photo by Oksana Pali

I posted this on my FB page and the response has been incredible. I photographed 9 families in 4 days, who generously donated to local charities in need of funding. I am now completely booked up 2 weeks in advance.

Photo by Oksana Pali

Everyone that calls me to book is super excited and grateful. They welcome the opportunity to have a reason to get dressed up and put some make up on and create memorable family portraits they will talk about for years.

Photo by Oksana Pali

I bring my kids in the car, and while I shoot, they take behind the scenes videos, which makes them feel like they are participating as well. They're learning to give back to society and that makes my heart full.

Photo by Oksana Pali

While I am not making any money off these shoots, I am making a difference while building new connections in my area. I believe that the energy you put out comes back to you. And a few people are already asking to book a "real" portrait session with me once the storm is over.

Photo by Oksana Pali

If your business is struggling right now, is there a way you can help your potential clients from a safe distance? It feels so good to give back and be a part of something positive during these difficult times. Just wanted to share this in case someone is going through a difficult time and needs ideas on how to help & contribute to society.

Isn't that incredible? If you want to learn more about Oksana Pali, she can be found at She's a portrait and branding photographer specializing in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs create stunning and unique images for their online presence. Through her photography, she helps businesses elevate their image, look more professional, friendly, approachable and stand out from the competition.

Now, let's talk U.S. stimulus package.


If you're an adult, single and make less than $75,000 right now, you can expect a check for $1200. If you make in-between $75,000 and $99,000, then the payment is reduced by five dollars for every $100 of income above $75,000. If you make over $99,000, sorry you're not getting any money.

If you're married and you make less than $150,000, then you'll get a check for $2400. If you make between $150K-$198K, then it's also reduced by five dollars for every $100 over $150K. If you and your spouse make more than $198,000, then you do not get a check.

With the same income limits above, you'll get $500 for each child.

The income limits are based on what you're making this year, 2020, but to get things going, the IRS is looking at 2019 Adjusted Gross Income. And if you haven't filed your taxes yet this year, the IRS will look at 2018.


This includes a $600 per week increase in your state's unemployment amount (for example, CA's weekly amount is $450, so if you apply, you'll get $1050. If you live in NY state, the weekly amount is $504, and with the Stimulus package, you'll get $1104.)

The new benefits now includes a lot of us who weren't eligible for unemployment insurance previously, like self-employed and gig workers, contractors and anyone who may not have enough work history. The new law also provides a 13-week extension of unemployment.


Normally, if you take an early withdrawal from your 401(k) or an IRA, you'll need to pay a 10% penalty. The new law waives the penalty. Annuities, trusts, and deferred comp plans also qualify. However, just know that any withdrawals are still taxable. 

The law requires that all health insurance plans cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, and requires that COVID-19 testing be included for free. 
Also, if you have a federal student loan, you can suspend payments, without any interest accruing, until September 30, 2020.


Estimated tax payment may be postponed until October 15, 2020.
If your business is suspended, disrupted or you've experienced a 50% decline in revenue because of Covid-19, then you may be able to get a refundable payroll tax credit. The credit is equal to the lesser of 50% of qualified wages or $5000 per employee for wages paid.
The Stimulus Package also includes small business loans that include a 90-day interest only payment schedule (which you must ask for directly from the lender). These loans have interest rates up to 4%, in amounts to cover six weeks of payroll, with a maximum of $1540/week per employee or $10 million. The principal of the loans will be forgiven if the money you borrow are used for qualifying reasons, like if you keep paying your employees, or you're using it to pay rent, utilities, and mortgage interest. This means that business owners who used the money for these reasons only have to pay back the accrued interest on the loan. (Pretty good deal!)
To apply for the loan, ask your local banks, as well as government lending agencies like Main Street Business Lending Program. You'll need to verify payroll amounts from the previous 6 weeks and show that you've continued to pay your employees for eight weeks after getting the money.
And if your business already has an existing Small Business Administration loan, the interest and principal payments will be waived for six months.
There are more points in the CARE Act, so it would be beneficial to talk to a tax professional or a lender to see if any of it applies in your particular situation or business.
Oh and if you need to find a job right now, try the suggestions on this website.
Please let me know if you have any questions about this or any other financial matters. If you'd like to schedule your FREE 1-hour session with me, please go HERE and sign up. Then, schedule HERE.
In Gratitude,
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