Updates on loan programs and worker benefits

This edition has important updates on small biz loan programs, unemployment benefits, stimulus checks and other types of assistance. 

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) UPDATE: The US Small Business Administration will resume accepting PPP loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30 AM from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower. Congress appropriated an additional $310 Billion for the program and added some new regulations to steer more funds to customers of community banks and credit unions. For PPP loans you apply though your bank and they submit to SBA on your behalf. If you did not already start the process with your bank, you need to act fast as there will be a major backlog. https://www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find

SBA EIDL & EMERGENCY ADVANCE UPDATE: The SBA will also resume processing EIDL loans and emergency advances that were previously submitted online. They have not yet announced whether brand new applications will be accepted. If you already applied (loan or advance) and got a confirmation code that begins with the number 3 then you should not need to take any further action and you should get an emailed response within approximately three weeks of the date of application. See: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loan-emergency-advance

IRS STIMULUS CHECK PAYMENT TOOL UPDATE: The U.S. Department of Treasury announced Sunday that they have made some upgrades to their stimulus check website and the ‘Get My Payment’ tool function that allows individuals to input their information or track their payment. See: https://sa.www4.irs.gov/irfof-wmsp/notice

EMPLOYEE RETENTION TAX CREDIT (ERTC). The CARES Act includes a good alternative to PPP for some businesses. This ERTC is not a loan or advance that you have to apply for, but rather a direct tax credit that you can deduct from your business taxes and in some cases get refunded directly by the IRS. It’s up to $5,000 per employee and businesses and non-profits of any size are eligible. It does require that your business have experienced a significant loss in revenue or a partial/full shutdown. Details on the IRS page: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/employee-retention-credit. A more user friendly summary is available from the U.S. Chamber: www.uschamber.com/ertc

UNEMPLOYMENT FOR SELF-EMPLOYED & GIG WORKERS (PUA). The new federal PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to many not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. This includes self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and those with limited work history. Applicants can learn more and apply at www.mass.gov/pua.

UNEMPLOYMENT VIRTUAL TOWN HALL: If you need help applying for unemployment benefits I recommend you sign up for one of the Virtual Town Halls hosted by DUA. They are held daily. Sign up form is here: https://www.mass.gov/forms/massachusetts-department-of-unemployment-assistance-dua-virtual-town-halls

ARTS & CULTURAL GRANTS. Sharing news of another grant opportunity for cultural groups, museums, libraries, archives, & other nonprofit organizations. Beginning May 4 you can apply for grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 through Mass Humanities, the state affiliate of NEH. Details here: https://masshumanities.org/Cares-Act/

HEALTH CONNECTOR ENROLLMENT: The Health Connector is offering an extended enrollment period through May 25. This is a good option to look at if you lose your employer sponsored health insurance and are not eligible for Mass. Health. See: https://www.mahealthconnector.org/

PANDEMIC EBT FOR FAMILIES: All families with school aged children who qualify for reduced lunch are eligible for Pandemic EBT benefits. Households will receive $5.70 per eligible student per day, or $28.50 a week. If receiving DTA benefits, your P-EBT benefits will be added to your EBT card. If not actively receiving DTA benefits, you will receive a P-EBT card for each eligible student in your household. The money will carry over from month to month. Benefits that are not used for over a year will be removed from the card. See: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/pandemic-ebt-p-ebt

FACEBOOK MICRO GRANTS. Facebook is offering cash grants of $2,500 plus $1,500 in optional ad credits for small businesses with 2-50 employees in operation one year or longer. Application window for Boston regional area now open: https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants

VERIZON SMALL BIZ RECOVERY FUND. Offering Small Business Relief Grants in the amounts of $5,000, $7,500, and $10,000. Priority will be given to “entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically under-served places.” Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, April 28 at midnight. https://www.research.net/r/LISCreliefgrant