Unemployment Benefits Guide

Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief

Overview

Disaster benefits become available any time the President declares a major disaster. There are different benefits available to individuals and small businesses. For a list of state agencies that can help you with disaster relief, please click here.

01. For Individuals

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is designed to help you if you are unable to work because of a disaster, but don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits.

If you are unemployed as a result of the disaster, or can’t reach your place of work, these benefits may be able to help. You can check if you are eligible here.

Benefits typically last up to 26 weeks from the date of the declared disaster. For more information click here, or contact your state unemployment office here.

02. For Small Businesses

The U.S. Small Business Association provides loans to small businesses during disasters under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. These loans are offered at a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills when your finances are affected by a disaster. Long term repayments are available to keep your payments small. You may also be able to receive an advance of $10,000 after a successful application, which does not need to be repaid, to help while you wait for a larger loan to be approved. To find out more click here, or click here to apply.

Disaster Relief

The Numbers Don’t Lie

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Small Businesses with no Recovery Plans

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Americans With No Disaster Plans

Disaster Relief

CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is the largest economic relief bill ever passed in the United States, offering $2.2 trillion to support people and businesses affected by the pandemic.

01. For Individuals

As part of the CARES Act, the federal government will issue Economic Impact Payments to American households of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 for each child. Individuals with income up to $75,000 or $150,000 for couples filing jointly will get the full $1200 each, with the amount of the payment reduced by $5 for every $100 in additional income, up to $99,000. You do not need to do anything to get this payment, it will automatically be issued in the same way you receive tax refunds. For more information please visit the Treasury Department here, or the IRS here. The most comprehensive and up-to-date information is through the Economic Impact Payment Information Center.

The CARES Act also increased unemployment benefits in several ways through Pandemic Unemployment Insurance:

  • An additional $600 per week will be paid by the federal government for four months, on top of your regular unemployment benefits. So if you were receiving $300 per week from your state unemployment, you will now receive $900 per week for four months.
  • The Act increased the number of weeks your state unemployment benefits will last by 13 weeks, from 26 to 39 total weeks.
  • It also expanded access to self-employed workers, freelancers, and contractors who typically don’t qualify for unemployment benefits.

Some additional provisions in the CARES Act include an extension in the tax filing deadline to July 15th, student loan benefits, free coronavirus tests, and requirements that all private insurance companies cover all COVID-19 treatments.

02. For Small Businesses

The CARES Act includes a number of provisions to help small businesses as well. These include:

  • Employee Retention Credit: To encourage employers to keep their employees on staff so they have a job waiting for them, a 50% credit is available on up to $10,000 of wages paid or incurred from March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020. For small businesses (under 100 employees), this is available even if you aren’t closed. For more information click here.
  • Emergency Grants: Grants of up to $10,000 for emergency funds. Click here for more information.
  • Relief of existing loans.

For more resources please visit the Treasury here or the Small Business Administration here.

03. Letters to Creditors

If your ability to pay your bills has been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, you can use these letters to inform your landlord, utility company, or credit card company of your inability to pay.  Your protections may vary by state, but sending a letter is a good first step to make them aware of your situation. 

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