If you are a business owner, there are several resources available to you from the government. There’s a ton of information out there, so we’ve tried to simplify it for you with the main bullet points below. The main takeaway should be to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program ASAP.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
What it is: A loan for small businesses with a 2-year term and 1% interest rate. The loan can be forgiven, which essentially makes it a grant.
What can the funds be used for? 75 per cent of the loan is supposed to be used to fund payroll and employee benefits costs. The rest can be used towards mortgage, interest payments, rent/lease payments, and utilities.
What is forgiven? If you follow the guidelines above, you will not have to pay any of the loan back (making it a tax-free grant).
How much can I get? The maximum amount you can receive is your monthly average payroll cost in 2019, multiplied by 2.5 (up to a maximum of $10 million).
Do you qualify? Yes! This is for small businesses, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals. The only requirement is that your business was operational as of February 15, 2020.
What it is: The government is sending a check (or direct deposit) for $1200. Individuals with an income of $75,000 or less will be eligible for up to $1,200 ($2,400 for joint tax returns) and $500 for each qualifying child under age 17. The payments will start to phase out for Americans who earn more than $75,000 (or $150,000 for a joint return).
Do you qualify? To qualify, you must have filed tax returns in either 2018 or 2019 or receive Social Security or veterans’ benefits.
How to apply: No need to apply, it’s being done automatically.
If for whatever reason you don’t get the loan via the Paycheck Protection Program, changes have been made to Unemployment Insurance.
What it is: The amount of money a worker receives when they apply for unemployment benefits varies by state. Generally, individuals are paid half of their weekly wages based on earnings from the previous four quarters. Under the new stimulus package, workers will be paid an additional $600 per week on top of what they would normally receive for up to four months until July 31. Once that additional federal assistance is exhausted, they will continue to receive their normal benefit amount, administered by their state. The relief package will also allow workers to receive benefits for an additional 13 weeks, providing up to 39 weeks (or nearly 10 months) of financial assistance in total.
How to apply: The Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop site has a tool where you can look up each state’s direct unemployment website and contact information. Yet because of the influx of people applying as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, several states are having trouble with their unemployment sites crashing.
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