Duke Ellington once said, “A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” We’ve been deeply moved to see the way Americans are coming during these interesting times. We might be separated by distance, but we can still hold each other up.
We know families and businesses are feeling the heat right now, and that’s why we want to help make sure you’re aware of the key resources—both established and emerging—that can help both individuals and businesses survive and thrive during the current pandemic.
Here’s a brief checklist of the resources and relief programs currently being implemented by the Federal Government.
The “CARES” Coronavirus Relief Act
To help citizens and businesses cope with the economic Congress recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (or CARES) Act, which provides a range of employment-related benefits during the current COVID-19 crisis. Provisions of the act include:
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
This will provide an extension of unemployment benefits to a maximum of 39 weeks for individuals unable to work due to coronavirus. Individuals covered include:
- Those with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis
- Those who have active COVID-19 symptoms
- Those caring for a household member with COVID-19
- Those who must stay home to care for a child
- Those whose workplaces have been closed due to quarantine
- Those forced to quit their jobs, and
- Those who cannot get to work because of travel restrictions
Emergency Increase in Unemployment Benefits
This will be paid to persons for any week that they would otherwise be entitled to benefits. The benefit would include dependents’ allowances and would be commensurate with benefits provided by the state of residence, but would add an additional $600.
Full Federal Funding for the First Week of Unemployment
This will allow those put out of work by the current crisis to obtain benefits immediately, without the one-week waiting period imposed by some states.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
This will be made available for up to 13 weeks to eligible individuals. These include:
- Those who have exhausted all rights to regular unemployment benefits
- Those with no rights to regular unemployment compensation with respect to a week under state or federal unemployment compensation laws
- Those who are able to work and are actively seeking employment
The full text of the CARES act can be viewed here.
The Paycheck Protection Program
To help America’s business community weather the economic crisis created by COVID-19, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is offering 100% guaranteed Federal loans to small businesses (those with fewer than 500 workers).
Known as the “Paycheck Protection Program,” this initiative will help small business owners to:
- Meet payroll
- Pay payroll taxes
- Pay essential bills
The Administration will soon release details on specific lenders that will be offering loans under the new program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has provided a quick fact sheet on the program, which can be accessed here.
IRS Stimulus Checks to Individuals
As part of its efforts to relieve the financial burden imposed by the current COVID-19 pandemic, the government will soon issue checks in the amount of $1200 to each U.S. taxpayer.
For those who do not have their electronic banking information on file, the government will provide guidelines to help taxpayers submit the information needed to have their relief checks deposited directly into their accounts.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Another resource during COVID-19 to assist businesses with under 500 employees cope with the burdens of the current pandemic, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will provide assistance to businesses whose workforce has been affected.
Under the Act, benefits will be offered to businesses with:
- Under 500 workers Employees who miss work because they are ill with COVID-19 or have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis
- Employees who must stay home to care for a family member with COVID-19
- Employees who are unable to work remotely
Benefits will help provide paid leave to all employees who meet the above criteria and have been with the company for a minimum of 30 days. The complete provisions of the FFCRA can be viewed here.
We hope the information and links provided can help you determine what steps you need to take next to stay strong. We’ll get through this together, and if there’s anything we can help you with please get in touch.