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Disaster Financial Assistance for Workers and Small Business Owners

If you’ve been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, learn how you could qualify for unemployment benefits, paid leave, and more. Get financial help from the government if you own a small business. Find out about the CARES Act and how it can help you.

Unemployment Benefits and the Coronavirus

Please note: The extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits officially ended on July 31, 2020. This benefit was federally provided and did not directly impact the benefits provided by your state.

The federal government has allowed states to change their unemployment benefits laws. It lets them provide unemployment benefits for situations related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

And, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has expanded benefits further. It authorizes:

  • Self-employed workers and gig workers to receive unemployment benefits

  • All unemployed workers to receive an extra $600 a week for up to six months

  • Unemployed workers to get an extra 13 weeks of benefits beyond the number a state currently provides

Contact your state’s unemployment insurance program for more information and to apply for benefits.

CARES Act Provides Relief for Individuals and Businesses

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, or stimulus package, was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It offers help in many forms for individuals and businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Help for Individuals: Stimulus Checks

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be issuing one-time payments for many individuals starting in late April 2020. Most people won’t have to do anything to get their stimulus check. Find out if you qualify for a stimulus payment, if you’ll have to do anything to get it, and when you might receive it. 

Help for Individuals: Expansion of Unemployment Benefits

The CARES Act expands eligibility, amount, and duration of benefits for people impacted by the coronavirus. Read about those and other coronavirus-related changes to unemployment benefits.

Home Loan Relief: Federally-Backed Mortgages

Single family homeowners with federally-backed mortgages get two types of financial help:

  1. Protection from eviction and foreclosure through mid-May

  2. Reduced or postponed mortgage payments for up to a year

Renter Relief: Multi-Family Homes With Federally-Backed Mortgages

If you live in an apartment building with a federally-backed mortgage, you're safe from eviction till late July. Read more about that and about renter relief from some  states.

Credit Report Protection

If you're affected by the coronavirus pandemic, you can ask a creditor to make an accommodation to defer or modify your payments. If you follow that agreement, your creditor cannot change your credit report status; if you were up-to-date in your payments before the accommodation, your creditor must still report you as current. If you were delinquent in your payments before the accommodation, your creditor will continue to report you as delinquent until you bring the account current.  

Federal Student Loan Relief

Federal student loan payments are suspended from March 13 to September 30, 2020. Your payments will automatically stop during this period.

Help for Businesses: Small Business Administration Loans

The CARES Act creates or boosts programs designed to keep small businesses afloat. 

Help for Businesses: Payroll Tax Credit for Businesses of All Sizes

The Employee Retention Credit allows businesses of all sizes to receive a tax credit for keeping employees on their payroll. It will refund 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses that take small business loans are not eligible.  

Paid Leave for Many Workers Due to Coronavirus

If you work for a business with less than 500 employees, under the  Families First Coronavirus Response Act you may be eligible for paid sick or family leave due to impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting April 1 and through December 31, 2020, you may get:

  • Up to two weeks of paid sick leave if you or a family member is quarantined or has symptoms of COVID-19

  • Up to an extra 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave if your child's school or daycare provider is closed or unavailable

Businesses will receive funds from the government to cover costs of providing leave. If you own a small business with less than 50 workers, you may not have to provide leave for childcare purposes.

Find information for employees and employers about paid leave due to the coronavirus emergency.

Tax Filing Deadlines and Extension Due to Coronavirus

The deadline for filing federal income taxes is now July 15, 2020. This three-month extension to the normal April 15 deadline comes in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This extension does not apply to state and local tax returns. To make sure you file those on time, find out the tax filing due dates in your state. If you do not file and pay your taxes on time, you will be charged interest and a late payment penalty. For taxpayers due a refund, there is no penalty for filing a late return.

Coronavirus Financial Help for Small Businesses

Please note: The Small Business Administration has placed the following on its Paycheck Protection Program page.

Notice: Paycheck Protection Program closed August 8, 2020

Current law dictates that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) close at the end of August 8, 2020. As such, SBA is no longer accepting PPP applications from participating lenders 

If your business has been hurt by the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Small Business Administration has options that may help you. For declared disasters, the SBA offers low-interest disaster loans for businesses. And now, its new programs can help businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

These programs were authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed on March 27, 2020.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program provides help for:

  • Businesses with less than 500 employees

  • Private non-profit organizations

  • Veterans organizations

The program offers loans for payroll and certain other expenses. Businesses that pay all employees for eight weeks will not have to repay loans used for:

  • Payroll

  • Rent

  • Mortgage interest

  • Utilities

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance

The COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides a loan advance for businesses losing money due to the coronavirus. These loans can help you pay:

  • Continuation of health care benefits

  • Rent

  • Utilities

  • Fixed debt payments

Apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan.


SBA Express Bridge Loans

If your business has a relationship with an SBA Express lender, you can borrow up to $25,000 fast under the SBA Express Bridge Loan program.

SBA Debt Relief

The SBA will pay the principal, interest, and fees of some types of loans through September 27, 2020. It may also defer loan payments on disaster loans through December 31, 2020.

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Last Updated: August 6, 2020