There is a lot of information out there about the different types of small business assistance available to help during this time–so much that it can make your head spin. That’s why we’ve put together an overview of available programs to help you find the best resources for your business. Take a look and know that we will continue to update this information and answer your most pressing questions.
In the coming days and weeks, we will also be partnering with our WeddingPro Educators from across the country to share advice, stories and insights to help you navigate. So if you have any questions, message us on Instagram @WeddingPro, and we will do our best to cover them right here on our WeddingPro Blog.
Before you dive in, keep this in mind:
1. There are quite a few resources available.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has local partners that can provide assistance, counseling and advice for small businesses across the country. You can visit the SBA Local Assistance Directory for a list of these local partners. The SBA also has a COVID-19 Resources Page, but it takes some time for it to be updated to reflect all of the latest legislation and regulations.
Many states and localities have also implemented their own COVID-19 small business loan and assistance programs. Several sources are tracking these assistance programs as they’re implemented, including:
- National Association for the Self-Employed
- National Federation of Independent Business
- Forbes (includes local and private resources; doesn’t reflect latest federal programs)
- Gusto (Includes local resources; doesn’t reflect latest federal programs)
2. There are legal advisors available to you.
You may want to consult with a legal advisor to understand how all the various laws and regulations affect you based on your particular circumstance. Many state and local bar associations and legal aid societies provide free or low-cost small business legal advice such as free hotlines for legal questions related to COVID-19. Check your local bar association or legal aid society website for the legal resources available in your area.
3. Assistance may take time.
The time it takes to get your money will depend on the type of assistance you apply for. It’s important to note that the government is still updating its processes to help people get relief faster and some of the government web sites take a while to catch up to new benefits.
Here’s what we know so far:
- Individual tax rebates are expected to pay out in as little as three weeks if the IRS has your direct deposit information on file, but possibly longer depending on your circumstances and how quickly the government acts.
- You may be able to get a $10,000 immediate advance if you apply for an SBA EIDRL (Economic Injury Disaster Relief Loans) loan while you wait for your other loan applications to be approved and disbursed. However, if you do get a $10,000 advance, it may not be eligible for forgiveness under the new forgivable PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan program. You can apply for an EIDRL and advance here.
- There are also SBA “express loans” available to some businesses already working with the SBA that may get you your money faster with less paperwork. You can find out how to apply for an express loan here.
- Full EIDRL disbursements and the new PPP loans might take a few weeks to a couple of months to pay out.
- Once you apply for an SBA loan, you can track the status of your application and estimated payment date on its website.
- Some states and localities also have loan and grant programs which might get money to local businesses faster. You should check with your local Department of Commerce or SBA partner to learn more.
Round-up of Assistance Programs and Eligibility.
Many businesses under 500 employees should be eligible for assistance. Under new federal relief programs, independent contractors and the self-employed are eligible for some assistance during the COVID-19 crisis as well.
Here’s a list of programs currently available, starting with government programs:
- What it is: It’s a new federal stimulus package that was just signed into law to provide COVID-19 relief. This new law is still being implemented, so more information will be released in the coming days on how to apply for its programs. (And we’ll do what we can to keep you updated!).
- Who is eligible: Small businesses (500 employees or fewer), sole proprietors, freelancers, those who are self-employed, gig workers, part-time workers, temporarily furloughed workers, and individuals who can’t work because they have symptoms of COVID-19 or are quarantined.
- What it offers: We did a deep dive of the details here, but overall, the law is designed to:
- Help you keep your workers paid and employed
- Help you and your employees when you’re unable to keep them employed
- Help you cover monthly expenses
- Give you tax relief (individual and business)
- Provide direct assistance to severely impacted industries (e.g. hotels and the food and beverage industries)
How it works: The government is moving fast to get these new measures set up, and you can check the SBA and the IRS COVID-19 resource pages for updates on how to apply. The laws and regulations are changing quickly, so check back frequently with the SBA, IRS and, of course, right here on our blog for updates.
Tip for the Taking: Loan amounts may be partially determined by your monthly payroll costs for the past year, so you may want to calculate those numbers. More information on the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is here.
- Who is eligible: Small businesses (500 employees or fewer) and solopreneurs.
- What it offers: Reimbursement of paid COVID-19 sick leave for employees through tax credits and refunds. Self-employed individuals (solopreneurs) will also get equivalent tax credits.
- How it works: Find out how to get tax credits and refunds here. You have to provide 10 working days (80 hours) paid sick leave to full-time employees who are unable to work for COVID-19 related reasons. For part-time employees, provide an amount equal to the average number of hours an employee works over a 2-week period.
- Tip for the Taking: Employers have 30 days from the date of the Act (3/18/20) to comply, and it only applies to employees who have worked for you for at least 30 days.
- Who is eligible: Businesses, renters, and homeowners located in regions affected by declared disasters.
- What it offers: Up to $2M in low-interest disaster relief loans
- How it works: The CARES Act expanded this loan so that you may be able to get an immediate $10,000 advance while you wait for your full EIDRL loan amount to be approved. However, if you do get an advance, it may not be eligible for forgiveness if you later apply for a forgivable PPP loan. Apply for an EIDRL loan and advance here.
- Tip for the Taking: Under the new CARES Act, an EIDRL loan received prior to the start of the PPP may be able to be refinanced into a larger, potentially forgivable PPP loan later. That said, you cannot have both an EIDRL loan and a PPP loan for the same purpose, such as reimbursing payroll, and if you got a $10,000 advance, that may not be forgiven. Check with the SBA for more details.
- Who is eligible: Those who already work with an SBA lender (search SBA lenders here).
- What it offers: You may qualify for up to $25,000 in quick relief loans with less paperwork.
- How it works: Apply here for these express loans while waiting for a decision or payout on another type of loan.
- Tip for the taking: If you’re having trouble getting through to your local SBA partner office, you can also try calling the SBA lender directly to ask about these loans.
- Who is eligible: Every individual taxpayer
- What it offers: The IRS has universally extended the federal tax filing deadline from April 15 until July 15, 2020. In addition, The CARES Act provides for individual tax rebates for people in certain tax brackets.
- How it works: You have more time to file your taxes, with no application required. In addition, individuals making up to $99,000/year and joint filers making up to $198,000/year will get immediate tax rebates on a sliding scale. See the IRS Coronavirus page for more information.
- Tip for the Taking: : If you file early or have already filed your taxes, you will still be able to get your tax refunds. Your eligibility for an immediate tax rebate will depend on a number of factors, including the income you reported on your 2018 or 2019 tax return (whichever one was your last one filed) and whether someone else can claim you as a dependent on their taxes.
6. Private Resources:
Some private and non-profit companies, including banks and other organizations, have announced limited loans, grants, free fundraising, and other relief available to small businesses. Some programs announced so far include:
- GoFundMe: Started the Small Business Relief Initiative where small businesses can apply for GoFundMe to match the first $500 in donations to their free GoFundMe fundraisers.
- James Beard Foundation: Started the Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund to assist the food and beverage community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Bank of America: Announced relief for small businesses in the form of deferred payments and waived late fees and overdraft fees.
- Facebook: Started a Small Business Grants Program where small businesses can apply for $100M in cash grants and advertising credits.
HELPFUL LINKS for You to Bookmark
- How to Postpone Your Wedding Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Questions About How Coronavirus Could Affect Your Wedding? Read This
- Here’s How You Can Support Your Wedding Vendors and Other Small Businesses Right Now
- Why You Should Totally Consider a Weekday Wedding if You’re Rescheduling Due to COVID-19
- What Is a “Change-the-Date” and Why Is It Relevant Now?
- U.S. SBA loans (Visit this page for how to apply and for updates as new relief becomes available)
- SBA COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
- SBA Local Assistance Directory
- Senate Paycheck Protection Program FAQ
- IRS Business Tax Relief
- U.S. Treasury Resources & Guidance
- Economic Relief for Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) (National Law Review)
State & Local Resources
- Small Business Relief Tracker (Forbes) (An updating list of federal, state/local, and private resources)
- List of COVID-19 Small Business Relief Programs (Forbes, as of 3/20)
- Coronavirus Loan and Relief Resources for Small Businesses (Gusto)
- FindHelp.org (Search for programs available in your area to help pay for food, health insurance and other expenses for you and your employees)
Private Sector Resources
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About the author: Meghan Stolar Brown is Director of Marketing at The Knot Worldwide. She has extensive marketing and event management experience and understands the challenges and opportunities creative entrepreneurs face. Meghan has been a featured speaker at Wedding MBA, Showit United, and on The Goal Digger Podcast. Growing up with a booking agent and a wedding band leader for parents, there is no doubt that marketing and events are in Meghan’s DNA (follow along via Instagram @meghan_sb).
Photo Credit: Lumière Imagery