Due to the feedback I received from clients, I decided to turn an email I sent into a blog post, to allow for easy access and updates, as the situation evolves and information is made available. I will keep this post updated with the most current guidance available. Most (state) resources mentioned are specific to New York, so be sure to look into your specific state guidelines.
UNEMPLOYMENT FOR BUSINESS OWNERS:
The CARES Act just passed, rolled out several initiatives. Among these, it extended unemployment to business owners. I’m not sure of the specifics regarding what information you’ll need to file, but I believe it is based on previous income. I would expect them to ask for Profit & Loss Statements (P&Ls) or previous year tax returns. Here is the link to the NY DOL site that you can use:
The NY DOL released some helpful hints for self-employed individuals when filling out the online application for Unemployment:
Additional Information has just been rolled out addressing the influx of business owners, independent contractors, and sole proprietors. Here’s a PDF document that distinguishes who is eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUI)
Finally, here’s a flowchart showing how all the programs interact:
There are also a few loan programs available through the US Small Business Administration (SBA). The first, and more widely known of these programs is the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). This application can be found at the following link:
There is an SBA Economic Bridge Loan that could be available for qualifying small businesses while the above-mentioned EIDL is processing. A guide to these bridge loans can be downloaded at this site:
Another loan (and the highlight of the CARES Act) is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that can provide forgive-able loans to businesses that maintain (or hire back) their employees during this emergency. Some details can be found on the flyer attached to the following link:
The SBA says, “You can apply for this loan through any SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. The regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.”
Here is the link to the PPP Sample Application Form:
I also found an informative article published by the NY Times that answers a long list of FAQs about the Stimulus Package, including relief checks for individuals and benefit eligibility.
The US Chamber of Commerce also published a great article highlighting more specifics on the programs mentioned above, as well as some of the tax changes/implications for businesses:
During this time, I recommend negotiating with creditors/vendors to get reduced or deferred payments on critical bills. Here is a link to an email template that I have used successfully with my vendors:
I hope this helps navigate the crowded waters of relief programs and funding. There will certainly be tough times ahead, making it critical to stay in touch and take advantage of the resources out there.