Financial Help for Independent Contractors
COVID 19 RELIEF RESOURCES
Finally, some good news. In the midst of this crisis, the federal government has worked to extend relief to millions of American workers and Independent Contract Workers were not forgotten. If your ability to work has been impacted by COVD-19, the following outlines sources of assistance that you may be eligible for.
Pandemic Un-Employment Assistance Program
Workers (including independent contractors) are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. You will get $600/week under federal funding plus half the average unemployment benefit in your state for up to four months. Unemployment benefits are processed through state agencies. Click here to find your state's program. States are recommending that you file online (but the process can be challenging). Benefits take an average of 2-3 weeks to process.
PayCheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan that is intended to be a direct incentive to keep workers on payroll and will be forgiven if (1) all employee are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and (2) the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. At least 75% of the forgiven amount must be used for payroll. Independent contractors CAN apply. Application for the program will be done through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union and Farm Credit System Institution. You can learn more about this program here.
The US Chamber of Commerce has prepared a helpful Guide to check your qualifications and requirements including how the loan can be forgiven. Click here for more information. [4/7/2020].
Paid Sick & Family Leave
People who are self-employed, but work for another employer, will be eligible for tax credits of two weeks of sick pay at their average pay and 12 weeks of family leave pay at two-thirds their normal rate. You must be able to show that you had to comply with a self-isolation recommendation, had to care for a family member or had to care for a child whose school closed due to the coronavirus. The benefit is capped at $511 per day for paid sick leave and $200 for family leave (or the average daily income the person usually receives if it is less than those amounts).
The tax credit can be applied against a person’s income taxes and it is refundable, meaning taxpayers will get a government rebate if their sick or family leave pay was greater than their tax bill.
All loan and interest payments can be deferred through September 30 without penalty for all federally owned student loans.
Multiple banks are offering various forms of mortgage assistance programs as well as ones for home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. Check with your lender to learn if you qualify.
If you have not heard, your filing deadline has been extended to July 15. Obviously if you are expecting a refund, you can file this sooner but if you need the case on hand, you have two more months of grace.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan
The goal is to keep Independents "open for business" in the short term so that our country can recover economically. The SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer low interest loans to businesses during the COVID-19 Crisis that can be used to cover operating expenses including payroll, accounts payable or debts. These loans are:
Available to small businesses (generally any business with less than 500 employees)
Amount can range from $2000 - $2 Million
Interest rate is 3.75%
To apply, you can visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance
There are many (many) reasons to experience stress and anxiety right now. Most IC therapists that I know have had a reduction in hours, are not working at all or are trying to figure out how to work with young children who are now home and will be for the foreseeable future. While economic relief bills won't change this, it does give some hope.
... Hope... isn't that a great word (and feeling) to have these days.
Stay Safe Everyone.