We are all hurting now. The normal ebb and flow of business in America has been throttled by stay at home orders. Even if you do not own a restaurant or bar, even if all your workers can work remotely, you are probably highly impacted by frightened customers and small business. This is a huge blow to ego and self esteem. It becomes hard to concentrate. Everything seems like an emergency.
I have been greatly relieved by the thought that the CARES Act that passed last week will assist us in ways that are worthwhile. Here are a few things I’ve found that can benefit CompanionLink, our vendors, friends and relatives during this troubled time.
Pandemic Unemployment Insurance
A new category of Unemployment Benefits has been created to help Self-Employed and Gig workers. These new benefits are handled through your state. If you are Self Employed and have reduced business because of the Stay at Home order, or even if you are too concerned to go to work, you qualify for this benefit. Apply for Unemployment through the state. Even if the weekly amount is small, because your income is low, you will be eligible for the $600 additional weekly benefit (roughly $2400 per month) through July 31, 2020. So for four months, roughly $12,000 will flow to everyone who is unemployed. This benefit is taxable income so be sure to calculate your withholdings.
I would guess that this benefit will be extended as long as the Lock Downs continue, which may run through the end of the year.
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program from the US Small Business Administration will guarantee a loan to your business, and after a time, will forgive up to 100% of the loan amount.
This program is extended to Nonprofit and other types of business that do not normally qualify for SBA loans. You do not need to be turned down for credit to be eligible for the loan.
The loan amount is 2.5 times your monthly payroll, benefits and rent. After 60 days, if you spent this money on payroll, benefits and rent, then the amount is forgiven. Here is the best part; the loan forgivance portion is not considered taxable income to your business. This program is administered by your local bank provided they are an SBA lender. Call your bank for details. Note: The application forms have not been created yet, and full details are not yet available. Your bank will help you through this process.
Google and Facebook Advertising Credits
Both Google and Facebook have announced Small Business grants, and/or advertising credit. For Google, the advertising credit is automatic and will be added to your Google Ads account. For Facebook you need to apply, and details have not been sent yet. Keep an eye out for similar credts from Apple, Amazon, and other large vendors.