On March 25th, 2020, the US Senate passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in an effort to speed up financial relief across the American economy, increase the government guarantee of the Small Business Act loans to 100%, and allocate $349 billion to small businesses.
While $349 billion sounds like a lot of money, with so many small businesses in need of aid at the moment, the funding was exhausted within 14 days, leaving numerous small business owners without the money they need to continue to pay their employees amidst a massive nationwide shutdown.
Now, Congress is on the verge of passing a new $470 billion stimulus deal that will add another $370 billion for small business funding programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Find out more about how you can apply for this second round of funding and what your other financial relief options might be.
When to Apply for Funding Through the Paycheck Protection Program
The most relevant aspect of the CARES Act for small businesses is the Paycheck Protection Program. Essentially, it’s a loan program that provides coronavirus aid to small businesses that are struggling to cover the costs of retaining employees during and even after the lockdown. In an effort to avoid layoffs, the government is providing funding to small businesses that apply for forgivable loans as long as they agree to use the money for specific things, such as paying salaries, paying off debt, or even paying for utilities.
And, while each business can only receive up to a certain amount, the problem with the program was that it was based on a first-come, first-serve basis. This meant that, in order to receive the aid after submitting an application, you had to be one of the first businesses to apply. That’s why funding ran out so fast. One senior Bank of America executive told NBC that on the first day the bank received over 10,000 applications per hour. Another senior banking executive from JPMorgan Chase said that they didn’t even have a chance to get through the first five minutes of applications.
So, when should you apply for the second round of funding through the Paycheck Protection Program once it becomes available? As soon as possible. According to smaller banks, most are still accepting applications for the program but simply can’t process them for approval until the government approves funding. So, even though you might not be approved or receive the aid straight away, it’s best to apply now in order to ensure your application gets in before others.
Other Funding Options for Small Businesses During the Coronavirus Crisis
As of right now, it’s unclear whether or not every small business that needs financial aid will receive it via the CARES Act and PPP. Until the government works out the kinks in the system, there are, however, other ways in which your small business can receive the help its needs during the pandemic.
Employee-Retention Tax Credit
The PPP is a program designed to help small businesses retain their employees by providing them with the money they need to pay their salaries amidst the shutdown. However, it’s not the only program of that kind. As part of the CARES Act, legislators also introduced the employee-retention tax credit.
While it’s not as beneficial as being able to receive a forgivable loan, this tax credit will allow you to receive financial aid for 50% of eligible employee wages throughout the 2020 calendar year. There’s a $10,000 wage cap, however, and you can’t take advantage of the credit if you’ve received PPP funding.
State & City Funding
The Payment Protection Program is federal aid, but state and local governments are also offering loans to local small businesses in need. For example, the City of New York recently offered zero-interest loans to small businesses that could prove they’d experienced a 25% drop in business due to coronavirus-related issues.
And, the State of Texas has resources set up to allow small businesses to search for Community Development Finance Institutions that are able to provide additional assistance. It’s best to check with your local government and browse the workforce section of their website to learn about what your specific options are based on where your small business is registered.
Amidst all of the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, numerous non-for-profits, accelerators, and other small business groups are raising money to support local companies in their industries. IFundWomen launched a COVID-19 relief campaign, for example, to allow those interested in providing funding so small businesses can easily search for companies that are most in need of help.
And, they’re not the only kind of relief program that exists. If you operate within a niche industry or are part of a small business community, get in touch to see what kinds of funding resources are available.
Saving for the Future
As a company operating within the financial industry, we here at Cheese are constantly monitoring all updates that might affect our members, especially those with small businesses that might be suffering during this unprecedented time.
While we’re doing our part to support our community while also supporting SoCal Tech’s gofundme project to support healthcare workers on the front lines of this pandemic, we can also ensure that our Cheese Debit Card can help you save a little bit more for the future regardless of your current financial situation.
With cashback and saving bonus, you’ll be able to save more money in a way that’ll help you stretch your business savings until long-term solutions are put into place. Interested? All you have to do is sign up for the debit card and begin to reap the financial benefits (cashback and saving bonus) that our FDIC-insured 100% free card offers you.