COVID-19 Economic Resources
On March 27, 2020, Congress passed a major health and economic rescue package called the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the legislation included several of Senator Wyden's priorities. In particular, he fought for two key proposals to get money into the hands of those struggling with the economic impact of the pandemic: helping individual workers and families stay afloat, especially those who are losing their jobs, contracts and hours; and helping small businesses retain their workers and return to normal operations when the economy restarts. Descriptions of some of the funding made available by the CARES Act is below:
For a full summary and list of available resources under the CARES Act, click here.
Relief for workers, individuals and families:
Supercharged Unemployment Benefits:
Under the CARES Act, workers who lose their jobs will now receive an additional $600 per week on average on top of their traditional unemployment benefits for four months. The combined total will fully replace many workers' lost wages.
Self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig workers, freelancers, part-time workers and individuals who are losing work as a direct result of COVID-19 are eligible for expanded unemployment insurance.
Please note: If you work in a state other than Oregon, you will need to apply for unemployment compensation through the state where you work.
Direct cash assistance for individuals and families:
The Treasury Department will send one-time checks worth $1,200 to most individuals ($2,400 for couples). Those with children will receive an additional $500 per child under age 17.
The payments phase out for individual taxpayers who earned more than $75,000, heads of households who earned more than $112,500, and joint filers who earned more than $150,000.
Those figures are based on 2018 tax returns or 2019 returns for those who have already filed. The best way for Oregonians to ensure they receive the payments is to file their 2019 tax returns as soon as possible - even if you typically do not file.
Relief for small businesses and nonprofits:
The SBA Paycheck Protection Program:
Businesses and nonprofits may apply under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to borrow the lesser of $10 million or 250 percent of monthly expenses including salaries, wages, sick leave, rent and utilities. Businesses that retain their employees during the COVID-19 crisis can apply through their lenders to have 8 weeks of those expenses forgiven, converting the loans into grants that do not need to be repaid.
For a full list of Small Business Administration Oregon Lenders, click here.
Emergency Injury Disaster Grants and Loans:
The CARES Act created new disaster grants that provide a cash advance worth up to $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits within three days of application. In order to secure the advance those small businesses and nonprofits must also apply for traditional, low-interest disaster loans worth up to $2 million. Those funds may be used to cover payroll, paid sick leave, rent, mortgages and other costs. However, they may not be used to cover the same costs as PPP loans.
Employee Retention Credits from the IRS:
Businesses that have been forced to reduce operations or have seen a sudden drop in revenue due to COVID-19 may claim an Employee Retention Tax Credit from the IRS. The credit covers half the wages and benefits paid to furloughed or reduced-hour employees, worth up to $5,000 per employee, and is fully refundable. Smaller businesses with 100 or less employees can use the credit to cover half the wages and benefits paid to all employees, regardless of whether the employee is furloughed. Businesses that have taken SBA interruption loans are ineligible to claim the credit.
For more help determining which of these programs your small business or nonprofit would qualify for, see the Q&A linked here.