First coronavirus relief checks to go out next week

The checks will first be sent to the island's lowest income earners. (PNC photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero this afternoon announced that the first relief checks will go out next week to those who have lost jobs and income as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The checks will first be sent to the island’s lowest income earners.

“Under my cash management authority as governor, I have directed the processing and release of over $11 million in local funds to be paid by this time next week,” the governor said.

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Island residents who filed tax returns last year showing an adjusted gross income of $10,000 or less will be the first to receive checks. The amounts will mirror the provisions of the economic impact aid program under the CARES Act.

That means that individual tax filers can expect a check of $1,200. Couples who filed jointly will receive a check for $2,400. Those with dependent children under the age of 17 will receive an additional $500 dollars per child.

“While this local advance will help more than 10,000 individuals and children, we are mirroring federal requirement so that this amount can be reimbursed with federal funds,” the governor said.

The money to issue these first relief checks is coming from the Guam general fund, said the governor. It will be reimbursed once the economic impact aid program under the Cares Act becomes available.

“In order for us to bridge that gap, what I did was I am advancing the payments to those individuals who are in the lowest income bracket. Because it’s a federal program, I am allowed to advance that and I will get reimbursement for that money. The money that we are using to pay that is from the general fund. We are actually floating from the general fund $11 million. And I am comfortable doing that because I know that we will have a reimbursable federal grant,” the governor said.

No application is necessary as the checks will be issued by the Department of Revenue and Taxation to qualified recipients based on their 2018 tax return.

“It’s not like you have to apply because we already have that data in our system. You don’t have to apply. If you filed for you’re 2018 tax return you will be getting a tax rebate the amount just varies based on your income level,” the governor said.