COVID-19 Economic Resources
On December 20, 2020, Congress passed a major end-of-year health and economic rescue package 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 by extending supercharged unemployment benefits, and helping small businesses retain their workers and return to normal operations when the economy restarts.
For a full summary and list of available resources under the end-of-year-COVID-19 relief bill, click here.
Relief for workers, individuals and families:
Enhanced Unemployment Benefits:
Under the end-of-year-COVID-19 relief bill, workers who lose their jobs will now receive an additional $300 per week on average on top of their traditional unemployment benefits for 11 weeks between December 26, 2020 and March 14, 2021.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program, which provides unemployment benefits for self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig workers, freelancers, part-time workers and individuals who are losing work as a direct result of COVID-19, will remain available until March 14, 2021.
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 $600 to most individuals ($1200 for couples). Those with children will receive an additional $600 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.
These figures are based on 2019 tax returns. The best way for Oregonians to ensure they receive the payments is to ensure they have filed their 2019 tax returns - 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 end-of-year-COVID-19 relief bill provides $20 billion in additional targeted funding for eligible entities in low-income communities through the EIDL Advance program from the CARES Act. The bill makes entities in low-income communities, as defined in section 45D(e) of the Internal Revenue Code, that received an EIDL Advance under Section 1110 of the CARES Act eligible to receive an amount equal to the difference of what the entity received under the CARES Act and $10,000. It also provides $10,000 grants to eligible applicants in low-income communities that did not secure grants because funding had run out. Eligible small businesses and nonprofits seeking to participate in the EIDL Advance program should contact the SBA.
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.
For the first two quarters of 2021, businesses with 500 employees or fewer can claim the credit for wages and benefits paid to all employees. Employers with more than 500 employees can only claim the credit for wages and benefits to employees that are not providing services. Regardless of employer size, the credit is equal to 70% of qualified wages and benefits paid, limited to $10,000 of wages and benefits (resulting in a $7,000 credit), per quarter, per employee. The credit is refundable for all employers and advancable for employers with 500 or fewer employees.
For wages and benefits paid between March 12, 2020 and January 1, 2021, 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 fewer employees can use the credit to cover half the wages and benefits paid to all employees, regardless of whether the employee is furloughed.
Employers that received PPP funding are eligible for this credit for other wages paid (wages that are not counted toward PPP loan forgiveness. If an employer was otherwise eligible but did not previously claim the credit, the employer can retroactively claim the credit for 2020 calendar quarters.
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