We are living in unprecedented times. Recently we’ve been hearing a lot about the stimulus packages that the US Congress has passed to help our nation and us as citizens cope with the impact of the COVID-19. It is known as the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). We have never seen a stimulus package like this.
I’m Valarie Budayr, a small business owner. I’m the CEO of Audrey Press, a boutique small press publisher as well as co-founder of the non-profit children’s literacy initiative, Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
As I speak with colleagues, friends, and friends of my children, who have been greatly impacted financially, one of the biggest questions is How do we get our stimulus money? Who is eligible? And how do I manage this crisis financially?
All of us are being impacted as COVID-19 continues to have to bring our world to their knees. But thankfully, there is an effective stimulus package in place so we all do not need to see our years of hard work collapse.
There are options for everyone out there. I felt called to comb through websites, announcements, and reports to pull together a list of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act stimulus money available and how everyone can go about accessing it.
The result is Everyone’s Guide on How to Get Stimulus Money; my gift to all of you.
When we succeed in diﬃcult times we actually help everyone.
The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) is an unprecedented 2 trillion dollar stimulus package to send money directly to American citizens, extend unemployment and repayments of student loans, as well as, help small business owners.
There are 57 million self-employed people in the US.
Here’s a closer look at the specific dollar amounts being allocated to various agencies in the CARES Act:
377 Billion dollars have been allocated to small business owners.
The rest has been allocated to extended unemployment benefits, deferred student loan payments and much more.
NOTE: I need to add that I am not a financial planner/ advisor or attorney. I’m simply a businesswoman, who like you is trying to protect what I’ve created while helping my peers, children, colleagues, and friends find their way through this. I do not answer financial planning questions so please check with your financial planner. I also do not give application advice. This is simply an information guide. This isn’t a complete information guide, it’s just what’s out there now and what I have found.
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
1. Stimulus Checks:
We’ve been hearing a lot about stimulus checks and that they are in the mail. But who’s going to be getting them? For up to date information on this topic please check out the NYT FAQ page.
The IRS is basing your check on your last filing. So if you haven’t filed 2019 taxes yet, it will be based on your 2018 filing. Whether you receive one or not is based on your earned income. How much the check will be written for is also based on earned income. If you made more in 2019 you may want to wait to make your 2019 tax filing. If you made less in 2019 and want that income counted as your earned income, you may want to file your taxes quickly. It is not certain if it will be considered or not but it’s worth a try.
In the next 4-8 weeks, your check will be coming through a direct deposit. You don’t have to do anything. The breakdown looks like this:
- Individuals who make up to 75,000 a year and heads of households who make 112,500 will receive a $1,200 rebate from the federal government.
- Couples who earn up to $150,000 annually will receive $2400.
- People exceeding these amounts can still receive stimulus money. The benefit levels are reduced by $5 for every $100 of additional income and are capped oﬀ at $99,000 for individuals, $146,500 for heads of household, and $198,000 for couples.
- Parents are eligible for a $500 rebate per child. However, if your child is working and you still claim them on your income tax return, you will not receive the $500 rebate per child.
- If you make too much money but your income because of COVID-19 will reduce your income to less than $99,000, you will be able to claim this on your 2020 income tax and receive the benefit then.
Stimulus checks are not considered income. You do not have to pay taxes on it nor is it a loan and you do not need to pay it back.
2. Student Loan Relief
This is an important one. So many of my kids’ friends are struggling to pay back student loan debt. The U.S. Department of Education has suspended federal student loan payments and interests for at least 60 days, and possibly longer. The interest rate on your student loans will now be 0% for at least the next 60 days.
This isn’t automatic and you must call your student loan provider to make sure you get this benefit. Please get this done ASAP.
Provider Information can be found here: https://studentaid.gov/
To stay up to date on student loan stimulus incentives please go here: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USED/bulletins/2823e37
For people repaying student loans who are also small business owners, you might want to consider an income-based repayment plan. Your monthly payments will be more manageable. You will pay more interest for the remainder of the loan but you will have more cash in hand to run your business with. To see if this option is good for you, go here: https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/plans/income-driven
3. Your Retirement Accounts
This is an amazing thing for not only small business owners but many of us who need to access our cash because of COVID-19. The CARES Act waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty up to 100,000 from your retirement plan or an individual IRA who:
- Is diagnosed with COVID-19
- Whose spouse or dependent is diagnosed with COVID-19
- One who experiences adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, being furloughed, laid oﬀ, having work hours reduced, can’t work because of no childcare, closing of the place you work, reducing your hours because of COVID-19, or operated by an individual user to COVID-19
- Other factors as determined by the Treasury Secretary
The CARES Act allows those who take from their retirement accounts to pay the taxes on that income distribution over a three year period, as well as repay the amount tax-free back into your retirement plan over the next three years. You will need to call your retirement fund provider to file for this special stimulus distribution and to make sure that you will not be penalized.
4. Small Business Unemployment Benefits for Owners and their Staﬀ, even Freelance Staﬀ
In normal times, self-employed as well as independent contractors aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits. The CARES Act has now expanded unemployment to include benefits to self-employed, and independent contractors. Not only this but it extends usual unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks. There is an additional $600 a week on top of the state unemployment benefit for up to 4 months. The rate of state unemployment may be less for the self-employed, independent and freelance workers. Also, not everyone who is self-employed will qualify.
If you become infected with COVID-19 and are ordered to be in quarantine, you also qualify for unemployment benefits under this stimulus package.
This is a fantastic tool to find and search your state’s unemployment website and to submit a claim. To file a claim you will need the following information:
- Your Social Security Number
- Your Driver’s License or State ID
- The Social Security Numbers of any dependents you are claiming
It’s important to do this now.
Many states do not have enough funds to cover the number of unemployment filings. Until now the Federal Government has not added to state unemployment funds. Time is of the essence. 22 states currently do not have enough reserves in their unemployment funds.
5. Small Business Loans from the Government
There is $349 million for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to guarantee loans through its 7(a) loan program. The SBA is also oﬀering emergency disaster loans called Economic Injury Disaster Loans for those small businesses that qualify. The interest rates are very low not to exceed 4% and terms as long as 30 years for small businesses and non-profits.
You can apply for these loans here: https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications
You can apply for one or the other but not both. Remember this is a loan and the amount you receive will be based upon your losses. You will need the following information:
- Tax Information Authorization IRS Form 4506T must be signed by each owner or principal.
- Most recent federal income tax return Personal Financial Statement SBA Form 413 Schedule of Liabilities SBA Form 2202
- Other information which may be required: Profit and Loss statements Balance Sheets
SBA Local Funding
The Small Business Development Center has unique funding based on what area you live in.
Specifically for Small Business** If you own a small business and have been wondering about some of these SBA programs, this awesome free guide (created by a small business owner) will help. Here’s the link to sign up and get the info: https://bit.ly/sba-covid-signup
6. Support From Private Lenders
If you have loans from private banks and lenders, now is a good time to discuss with them where you stand and what they can do for you. Discuss with your financial institutions, landlords, etc if they can oﬀer you a break in payments for the next 30-60 days.
If this is a leasing situation, many states have passed non-evict legislature during the COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure and check with your state to see the current situation and how to enact that. Most lenders and landlords are open to having this conversation with you.
Let’s not forget about our credit cards either. The website TheHelm.co has compiled a list of banks who will work case by case with their clients to Help through financial diﬃculties at this time. The Helm is an investment company that backs and supports female founders to raise capital for their companies.
Here is their list of banks who are willing to work with you:
American Express: waiving interest on late fees on accounts that are requesting COVID-19 relief. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/customer-service/financial-hardship.html
Bank of America: Committed to giving relief on a ‘case-by-case’ basis for small business loans, mortgages, deposit accounts, credit cards, etc. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/19/bank-of-america-says-customers-impacted-by-coronavirus-may-be-able-to-defer-mortgage-payments.html
Capital One: Have pledged that they are working with customers that experience financial diﬃculties. https://www.capitalone.com/coronavirus/
Citi: For 30 days, small business customers are eligible to have their monthly service fees waived. They’re also waiving the fees on early CD withdrawals. https://online.citi.com/US/JRS/pands/detail.do?ID=covid19
U.S. Bank: Reach out to customer service if you’re a customer that has been impacted by coronavirus to discuss individual solutions. https://www.usbank.com/splash/covid-19.html
Wells Fargo: Has donated $6.25 million to help the public relief eﬀort and are encouraging customers that are experiencing financial hardships to contact customer service. https://www.wellsfargo.com/jump/enterprise/coronavirus-response
Also, have a look at this article to find a bank that wasn’t mentioned on this list:
7. Private Investors and Financial Capital
Also from The Helm is a list of those companies, people and programs that are willing to invest in small businesses. Some of these specify “Women Only” but many are for all.
You may be sitting on a business that is doing great and you’re not aware that there is funding out there for you.
Vogue and CFDA are repurposing the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund to create A Common Thread—a fundraising initiative supporting those in the American fashion community who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications open April 8th. In the meantime, read here for more information. https://www.vogue.com/article/anna-wintour-cfda-fashion-fund-covid-19-coronavirus-relief
Facebook has announced a small business grant that is oﬀering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits. More information about eligibility is to be announced, but it will be available to 30,000 businesses in over 30 countries where Facebook currently operates. Find information here. https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants
James Beard Foundation is providing micro-grants to independent food and beverage small businesses in need through their Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund. https://www.jamesbeard.org/blog/relief-fund
Yelp has announced a $25 million relief fund primarily focused on supporting independent local restaurants and nightlife businesses in the form of waived advertising fees, and free advertising, products, and services. https://blog.yelp.com/2020/03/yelp-covid-19-response-and-support-for- local-businesses
Hello Alice‘s Business for All oﬀers up to $200,000 business grants and mentorships from influential leaders like Gwyneth Paltrow and Rebecca Minkoﬀ. https://businessforall.helloalice.com/
JPMorgan Chase is committing $8 million to assist small businesses in the U.S., China, and Europe. https://news.jpmorganchase.com/news-stories/this-program-helped-people-climb-economic-ladder
The Soze Agency, Taskforce, and Invisible Hand have created a fund in support of artists & activists who are impacted by COVID-19. They will provide $250 to selected applicants on an on-going basis and, at the moment, they have $30,500 for the first round of grants. You can apply here: https://www.wearesoze.com/relief-fund
Bumble is oﬀering up to $5,000 in monetary support for small businesses aﬀected by COVID-19. Download the @bumble app and use any mode to match with their Bumble Community Grants profile to learn more and apply.
Lowe’s is committing $3 million to support local small businesses, particularly skilled trade professionals, to continue to operate through the current conditions. https://newsroom.lowes.com/news-releases/lowes-commitment-coronavirus-pandemic/
IFundWomen and Visa are granting 3 early-stage female founders a $10,000 cash prize for their small businesses. Although not specifically created as a response to COVID-19, they are accepting applications now through April 7, 2020. https://ifundwomen.com/visa
Designer of Pyer Moss, Kerby Jean-Reymond, has set aside $50,000 for “minority and women-owned small creative businesses who are currently in distress.” https://www.instagram.com/p/B94T-VenrBo/?hl=en
Crowdfunding platform MainVest has launched a $2,000, zero-interest, 120-day loan for restaurants or other brick and mortars aﬀected by COVID-19. https://mainvest.com/blog/MSI
Register your business to Kabbage and Help Main Street! to enable customers to easily buy gift cards that provide critical cash support during the COVID-19 crisis. Kabbage https://www.kabbage.com/helpsmallbusiness
Help Main Street https://lunchboxtech.typeform.com/to/zMOywb
8. Local Resources
Every state, city, and county has local resources to help. Many have also implemented COVID-19 aid packages. Many are specific to your region. Be sure to check out these local resources:
- Economic Development Department
- City and State Chamber of Commerce
- City and State Tourism Council
- Local Utility Board to discuss Electricity, Water, Gas, and Garbage
9. Caring for an Elderly Person and Managing Their Money
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has some great info here and always up to date information for everyone. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/tips-for-financial-caregivers-during-coronavirus-pandemic/
10. Help For Restaurant Workers
ROC United (Restaurant Opportunity Centers United) has put a ginormous list together to help restaurant workers during this time of COVID-19. ROC United itself is giving grants of $500. There is so much generous help on this page from both ROC United and a bevy of specific restaurants. For more information on how to find the funds go here. https://rocunited.org/stop-the-spread/coronavirus-support/
These are some of the ideas to get the financial help that will help see you through these very diﬃcult COVID-19 times. Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. Before cracking into your nest egg or financial reserves try the above options first.
The longer you can go before dipping into your savings, the better it will be in the long run.
Wishing you and yours much health and abundance. Valarie Budayr, CEO Audrey Press Publishing
About My Small Business
About Audrey Press:
Since 2010 Audrey Press has created books for children, parents, families, and schools that inspire. Using beauty as their first ingredient, this boutique publishing house used books to plant the seeds of adventure, imagination, exploration, learning, and discovery.
“Our vision is of a world filled with inspired reading based on the compelling truth that curiosity and discovery are two of our greatest life skills. We are dedicated to creating beautiful books that inspire children, families, schools, and communities to experience, discover, and create a lifelong love of reading and exploring. Through the pages of our books, Audrey Press encourages others to Connect, Inspire, Teach, and Grow.” ~ Valarie Budayr
Aletha Press is the new YA imprint of Audrey Press. Not only is it book titles for YA readers, but they are also works written by authors aged 16-26. Aletha is the Greek word for truth. We want to give voice to the young writers of this generation. The first release from Aletha Press was in August 2016 from author Hannah Rials. The second book in the Ascension trilogy, Clandestine, was released in July of 2018, and the third book, Reclamation, was released in February of 2020. Learn more about these YA thriller/romance titles here.
Labyrinthine Press is the adult non-fiction/spirituality arm of this publishing house with a strong focus on sharing the wisdom, lives, and passions of exemplary people. Labyrinthine Press’ latest book in their catalog is Pilgrimage: A Modern Seeker’s Guide by Evans Bowen.
Evans Bowen’s voice is clear and comforting as she encourages spiritual travelers to engage in mindful journeying before their first footfall on the path. Then she takes us into the heart of the journal of 40 transformative days with her deep questions to lead us toward soulful integration. I highly recommend this work for even the most seasoned traveler. ~ Normandi Ellis award-winning author of Awakening Osiris
We hope you join Audrey Press on its mission to guide readers to grow together and develop a sense of purpose in our reading. Whether as individuals, as a family, or in ever-widening circles of community, when we come together to explore our world, we create strong connections within our homes, communities, and world.