Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

COVID-19 CRITICAL RECOVERY REPORT

April 1, 2020
Newsletter Archive

 

FIGHTING THE CORONAVIRUS

This bill includes a $200 billion investment in hospitals, health systems, and health research. This includes funding for healthcare equipment and infrastructure, including personal protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, and new construction to house patients. It also includes increases in Medicare payments to all hospitals and providers to get them the resources they need during this crisis and additional investments into COVID-19 research.

The bill also includes $150 billion for the Coronavirus Relief Fund, a program that provides direct funding to states to give them the resources they desperately need during this emergency. Mississippi is expected to receive $1.25 billion in this funding for new and necessary expenses being incurred in the fight against COVID-19.

 

FOR INDIVIDUALS

This bill creates two new programs to help get money into people’s pockets now. The first program is Recovery Rebates, a direct payment of $1,200 to each adult and $500 per child. The second is a new Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program that increases unemployment benefits by a taxable $600 per week and expands eligibility for unemployment to include people who are self-employed, independent contractors, and “gig economy” workers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers. This is a $260 billion investment in Unemployment Insurance benefits to match the average paycheck of laid-off or furloughed workers. These increased payments will run until July 31, 2020. This bill also provides an additional $15.5 billion in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Stimulus payment checks: No sign-up needed.

Who exactly qualifies for a payment? Individuals with adjusted gross incomes up to $75,000 a year will be eligible for the full $1,200 check. Reduced checks will go out to individuals making up to $99,000 a year (the payment amount falls by $5 for every $100 in income above $75,000). 

Married couples are eligible for a $2,400 check as long as their adjusted gross income is under $150,000 a year. Reduced checks, on a sliding scale, will go out to married couples who earn up to $198,000. Married couples also will receive an additional $500 for every child under 17. 

People who file as a “head of household” (typically single parents with children) are eligible for a $1,200 check if they have an adjusted gross income up to $112,500 a year. Reduced checks on a sliding scale are available for heads of household earning up to $136,500 annually. Heads of household will also receive an additional $500 per child under 17.

How does the U.S. government know where to send the money? If you have already filed a 2019 tax return (that’s the one most people are working on now), the Internal Revenue Service will use the direct deposit information on your 2019 return to send your payment to your bank account. If you don’t provide the IRS with your direct deposit details or you closed that account, then the IRS will mail you a check. 

If you have yet to file a 2019 tax return, the IRS will see if you have filed a 2018 tax return and use that information to determine whether you meet the qualifications for a check and to find your bank details or mailing address.

When will the payments arrive? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has set a goal of getting the first payments out the door the week of April 6. Many experts say that is an ambitious timetable, and it might get pushed back to later in April. The last time the U.S. government did anything like this, in 2008, the payments went out in batches and it took about eight weeks for the final people to receive their checks. 

What about people on Social Security? People on Social Security are eligible to receive the coronavirus relief payment as long as their total income does not exceed the limit. Low-income Americans on Social Security do not need to file a tax return. As long as they received an SSA-1099 form (the Social Security benefit statement), the federal government will be able to send them a payment via the usual way they get their Social Security payment. Retirees and people on disability are both eligible for the special payment.

Who won’t get a check? The main people excluded from receiving a payment are the wealthy, “nonresident aliens” and “dependents” who can be claimed on someone else’s tax return.

If I owe past taxes, will my check be reduced? No. The only reason a check would be reduced is if past child support payments are due and the amount has been reported to the federal government.

I have a lot more questions. What should I do? The Treasury and IRS are still figuring out a lot of the administrative details. The IRS created a website where more information will eventually be posted. For now, there is no information available beyond what is in the legislation.

Pandemic Unemployment Insurance– Application process administered by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security

  • Increased Benefit
    • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is a taxable $600 a week in addition to regular state unemployment benefits.
    • States would be allowed to provide an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond current law.
  • Expanded Eligibility
    • People not normally eligible for unemployment insurance are now eligible under this expanded eligibility if their unemployment is due to COVID-19.
    • This specifically includes:
      • Self-Employed workers
      • Independent contractors
      • “Gig economy” workers
      • People who were going to begin a new job or new contract which was canceled due to COVID-19.

How Do I File for Unemployment Insurance?

The U.S. Department of Labor's unemployment insurance programs provides unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and meet certain other eligibility requirements.

Unemployment insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides cash benefits to eligible workers. Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program, but all states follow the same guidelines established by federal law.

Am I Eligible?

Each state sets its own unemployment insurance benefits eligibility guidelines, but you usually qualify if you:

  • Are unemployed through no fault of your own. In most states, this means you have to have separated from your last job due to a lack of available work.
  • Meet work and wage requirements. You must meet your state’s requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred to as a "base period." (In most states, this is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters before the time that your claim is filed.)
  • Meet any additional state requirements. Find details of your own state’s program.

 

 

How Do I Apply?

To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online.

  • You should contact your state's unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after becoming unemployed.
  • Generally, you should file your claim with the state where you worked. If you worked in a state other than the one where you now live or if you worked in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency where you now live can provide information about how to file your claim with other states.
  • When you file a claim, you will be asked for certain information, such as addresses and dates of your former employment. To make sure your claim is not delayed, be sure to give complete and correct information.
  • It generally takes two to three weeks after you file your claim to receive your first benefit check.

Guidance on Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities During COVID-19 Outbreak

NOTE: Check with your state’s unemployment insurance program regarding the rules in your state.

Federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law provides states flexibility to pay benefits where:

  1. An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
  2. An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
  3. An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.

In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.

The Department of Labor's toll-free call center can assist workers and employers with questions about job loss, layoffs, business closures, unemployment benefits, and job training: 1-877-US-2JOBS (TTY: 1-877-889-5627).

Additional information on topics relevant to the unemployed can be found on the Department of Labor's web interface, Find It! By Audience - Job Seekers/Unemployed.

 

 

EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act made slight adjustments to the emergency paid sick leave and medical and family leave policies established under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. These changes include:

Allows an employee who was laid off by an employer after March 1, 2020, to have access to paid family and medical leave if:

  • The employee worked for the employer at least 30 of the last 60 calendar days prior to the employee’s layoff, and
  • The employee is rehired by the employer.

 

Provides the Director of the Office of Management and Budget authority to exclude for good

cause certain Executive Branch employees from emergency paid sick leave and expanded FMLA leave.

 

 

 

EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT

 

Who Is Eligible?

• Employees at companies with fewer than 500 employees

• Government employees

• Employees who work under a multiemployer collective agreement and whose employers pay into a multiemployer plan.

 

 

What Are They Eligible For?

• Eligible full-time employees are entitled to two weeks (80 hours) of fully paid time off (up to $511 per day) to self-quarantine, seek a diagnosis or preventive care, or receive treatment for COVID-19.

  • Eligible part-time employees are entitled to fully paid time off (up to $511 per day) for the

typical number of hours that they work in a typical two-week period to self-quarantine to seek

a diagnosis or preventive care or receive treatment for COVID-19.

• Eligible full-time employees are entitled to two weeks (80 hours) paid time off at two-thirds of their regular pay (up to $200 per day) to care for a family member or to care for a child whose school has

closed, or if their childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19.

  • Eligible part-time employees are also entitled to the typical number of hours that they work in a typical two-week period at two-thirds of their typical pay (up to $200 per day) to care for a child whose school has closed, or if their childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19.

 

Who Pays for the Emergency Paid Sick Leave?

• Employers initially front the cost of emergency paid sick leave but will be fully reimbursed by the federal government within three months.

• The reimbursement will cover both the wages paid and the employer’s contribution to employee

health insurance premiums during the period of leave.

• Employers will be reimbursed through a refundable tax credit that counts against employers’ payroll tax, which all employers pay regardless of non-profit/for-profit status.

• Employers will submit emergency paid sick leave expenses as part of their estimated quarterly tax payments. If employer’s costs more than offset their tax liability, they will get a refund from the IRS.

 

SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has approved the issuance of emergency supplement benefits for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients for March and April 2020.

SNAP households will receive an emergency benefit in March and April that, combined with the benefit amount the household is certified to receive, will equal the maximum benefit for the household, based on its size.   

March emergency supplements for ongoing SNAP households will be issued March 29.  March 2020 cases approved after March 29 will receive the emergency benefit amount two days after the case is approved.

April emergency supplements for ongoing SNAP households will be available on April 2. The household benefit amount will be made available on the household’s regular issuance date.

SNAP households that currently receive the maximum benefit for their household’s size will not receive an emergency supplement.

SNAP Eligibility Requirements:

  • Identity- Individuals must show proof they are the person they claim to be. Applicants must provide proof of their identity.
  • Residence- the client must be living in Mississippi.
  • Citizenship- household members can include either US citizens and/or certain aliens with verifiable USCIS documentation.
  • Enumeration- households must provide or apply for Social Security numbers for each member before certification.
  • Work Registration- all able-bodied adults, with specific exceptions, must register for work and accept suitable employment

Benefits:

  • The amount of SNAP a household receives depends on the number of people in the SNAP household and the amount of their net income.

 

 

 

How to Apply:

Step One

Step Two

  • Gather the documents you will need to verify the information in your application. (i.e. driver’s license, work or school I.D., social security number, alien status, wages, self-employment) full list provided on the website.

Step Three

  • After receiving your application, a MDHS employee will call you to conduct an interview over the phone, saving you time. Please provide a valid telephone number for contact purposes.  

For more information on SNAP and other services available through the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), call 1-601-359-4500 or visit their website at www.mdhs.ms.gov/.

SNAP participants may also meet the income eligibility guidelines for nutrition services through the Women, Infants & Children Program (WIC) offered by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

 

FOR SMALL BUSINESSES 

The bill includes a $377 billion infusion of fast relief for small businesses and made rent, mortgage, and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness. This bill creates several new programs designed to get assistance to small businesses and non-profits during this crisis. These include the Paycheck Protection Program to help cover the cost of retaining employees, Emergency Economic Injury Grants to get smaller amounts of capital quickly and the Small Business Debt Relief Program to help with payments on current or potential SBA loans.

Paycheck Protection Program

  • The program will provide 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven for amounts expended for payroll over certain periods and certain other business expenses.
  • Small businesses and non-profits will be able to apply if they were in business as of February 15, 2020, and the program will remain open for applications until June 30, 2020. 
  • Loans under the Paycheck Protection Program may be made up to $10,000,000 amortized over 10 years depending on a particular business’s circumstances.
  • These loans can be taken out from all current SBA 7(a) lenders.  Most local banks are currently SBA 7(a) lenders and many of the ones that are not are quickly joining the program.  Contact your banker to inquire into their process.   

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) & Emergency Economic Injury Grants

  • EIDLs are lower interest loans of up to $2 million, with the principal and interest deferment available for up to 4 years, that are available to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses. 
  • Emergency Economic Injury Grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 within three days of applying for an EIDL to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19.
  • Small business concerns, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, cooperatives and employee owned businesses, and private non-profits are eligible for EIDL.
  • To apply for an EIDL online, please visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. Your SBA District Office is an important resource when applying for SBA assistance.
  • Taking an EIDL will not prevent you from participating in the 7(A) program. Once approved for the 7(A) program your EIDL will be rolled into the 7(A) program.

 

SMALL BUSINESS DEBT RELIEF PROGRAM

This program will provide immediate relief to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular 7(a), 504, and microloans. Under it, SBA will cover all loan payments on these SBA loans, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out loans within six months of the President signing the bill into law.

To Apply for a 7(a) loan click here.

To Apply for a 504 loan click here.

Microloans:

Eligibility Requirements

Each intermediary lender has its own lending and credit requirements. Generally, intermediaries require some type of collateral as well as the personal guarantee of the business owner.

Use of Microloan Proceeds

Microloans can be used for:

  • Working capital
  • Inventory or supplies
  • Furniture or fixtures
  • Machinery or equipment

Proceeds from an SBA microloan cannot be used to pay existing debts or to purchase real estate.

Repayment Terms, Interest Rates, and Fees

Loan repayment terms vary according to several factors:

  • Loan amount
  • Planned use of funds
  • Requirements determined by the intermediary lender
  • Needs of the small business borrower

The maximum repayment term allowed for an SBA microloan is six years.

Interest rates vary, depending on the intermediary lender and costs to the intermediary from the U.S. Treasury. Generally, these rates will be between 8 and 13 percent.

Application Process

Microloans are available through certain nonprofit, community-based organizations that are experienced in lending and business management assistance. If you apply for SBA microloan financing, you may be required to fulfill training or planning requirements before your loan application is considered. This business training is designed to help you launch or expand your business.

Find a Microloan Provider

To apply for a Microloan, you must work with an SBA approved intermediary in your area. Approved intermediaries make all credit decisions on SBA microloans. For more information, you can contact your local SBA District Office .

 

FOR HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS

This bill provides important protections for millions of people with federally backed mortgages or that receive federal subsidies. The bill provides a 4-month moratorium on evictions to protect renters who are unable to pay their rent. The moratorium applies to properties that receive federal subsidies or assistance, such as public housing, Section 8, USDA rental assistance, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as to properties that have a mortgage issued or guaranteed by a federal agency, including FHA and USDA, or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Additionally, for homeowners with federally backed loans, there will be a foreclosure moratorium for four months and mortgage forbearance for up to a year. This includes a prohibition on fees and additional interest during the term of the forbearance. Multifamily rental property owners with federally backed mortgages will also have access to forbearance for up to 90 days and would be required to comply with requirements to halt evictions and late fees for the duration of the forbearance.

 

FOR STUDENTS

This bill includes more than $30 billion in emergency education funding and eliminated income tax on student loan repayment assistance by an employer. A portion of that funding is specifically designated for HBCUs, including those so important to our district. On student loans, this bill pauses payments and suspends debt collection on most federal student loans until September 30, 2020.

 

FOR PLACES OF WORSHIP 

501(c)(3) non-profits, including churches, are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program, which makes non-profits eligible for a SBA loan that can be used for payroll support, such as employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, and mortgage, rent, and utility payments.

 Who is eligible for the loan?

You are eligible for a loan if you are a small business that employs 500 employees or fewer, or if your business is in an industry that has an employee-based size standard through SBA that is higher than 500 employees. In addition, if you are a restaurant, hotel, or a business that falls within the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 72, “Accommodation and Food Services,” and each of your locations has 500 employees or fewer, you are eligible. Tribal businesses, 501(c)(19) veteran organizations, and 501(c)(3) nonprofits, including religious organizations, will be eligible for the program. Nonprofit organizations are subject to SBA’s affiliation standards. Independently owned franchises with under 500 employees, who are approved by SBA, are also eligible. Eligible franchises can be found through SBA’s Franchise Directory.

I am an independent contractor or gig economy worker, am I eligible?

Yes. Sole proprietors, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and self-employed individuals are all eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.

What is the maximum amount I can borrow?

The amount any small business is eligible to borrow is 250 percent of their average monthly payroll expenses, up to a total of $10 million. This amount is intended to cover 8 weeks of payroll expenses and any additional amounts for making payments towards debt obligations. This 8 week period may be applied to any time frame between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. Seasonal business expenses will be measured using a 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019, or March 1, 2019, whichever the seasonal employer chooses.

How can I use the money such that the loan will be forgiven?

The amount of principal that may be forgiven is equal to the sum of expenses for payroll, and existing interest payments on mortgages, rent payments, leases, and utility service agreements. Payroll costs include employee salaries (up to an annual rate of pay of $100,000), hourly wages and cash tips, paid sick or medical leave, and group health insurance premiums. If you would like to use the Paycheck Protection Program for other business-related expenses, like inventory, you can, but that portion of the loan will not be forgiven.

When is the loan forgiven?

The loan is forgiven at the end of the 8-week period after you take out the loan. Borrowers will work with lenders to verify covered expenses and the proper amount of forgiveness.

What is the covered period of the loan?

The covered period during which expenses can be forgiven extends from February 15, 2020, to June 30, 2020. Borrowers can choose which 8 weeks they want to count towards the covered period, which can start as early as February 15, 2020.

How much of my loan will be forgiven?

The purpose of the Paycheck Protection Program is to help you retain your employees, at their current base pay. If you keep all of your employees, the entirety of the loan will be forgiven. If you still lay off employees, the forgiveness will be reduced by the percent decrease in the number of employees. If your total payroll expenses on workers making less than $100,000 annually decrease by more than 25 percent, loan forgiveness will be reduced by the same amount. If you have already laid off some employees, you can still be forgiven for the full amount of your payroll cost if you rehire your employees by June 30, 2020.

Am I responsible for the interest on the forgiven loan amount?

No, if the full principal of the PPP loan is forgiven, the borrower is not responsible for the interest accrued in the 8-week covered period. The remainder of the loan that is not forgiven will operate according to the loan terms agreed upon by you and the lender.

What are the interest rate and terms for the loan amount that is not forgiven?

The terms of the loan not forgiven may differ on a case-by-case basis. However, the maximum terms of the loan feature a 10-year term with interest capped at 4 percent and a 100 percent loan guarantee by the SBA. You will not have to pay any fees on the loan, and collateral requirements and personal guarantees are waived. Loan payments will be deferred for at least six months and up to one year starting at the origination of the loan.

When is the application deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program?

Applicants are eligible to apply for the PPP loan until June 30th, 2020.

I took out a bridge loan through my state, am I eligible to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program?

Yes, you can take out a state bridge loan and are still be eligible for the PPP loan.

If I have applied for or received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) related to COVID- 19 before the Paycheck Protection Program became available, will I be able to refinance into a PPP loan?

Yes. If you received an EIDL loan related to COVID-19 between January 31, 2020, and the date at which the PPP becomes available, you would be able to refinance the EIDL into the PPP for loan forgiveness purposes. However, you may not take out an EIDL and a PPP for the same purposes. Remaining portions of the EIDL, for purposes other than those laid out in loan forgiveness terms for a PPP loan, would remain a loan. If you took advantage of an emergency EIDL grant award of up to $10,000, that amount would be subtracted from the amount forgiven under PPP.