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In these trying times, many small businesses and contract workers are seeing their sources of income slow to a trickle, or worse. Meanwhile, others are working harder than ever to keep up with surprise exceptional demand and growth opportunities. Depending on your market segment, you may be able to find ways to grow your business as we all struggle to make sense of the realities of this economy.

Finding research time and clarity among all the sources of information for potential support for your business may seem like an exercise in futility and frustration.

Your economic health is a large part of your ability to be self-reliant, which is right up our alley. What follows is a reference guide we assembled that includes a short list of useful links you may be able to use to rescue or ramp up your fiscal situation.

 

2018 Small Business Profile (Courtesy of U.S. SBA)

Grants and Loans for Small Businesses from the Federal Government

President Trump signed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act on March 27, 2020. It was in all the papers and news broadcasts but it’s better known as the CARES Act. A link to the full 880 pages of text is here.

Helping small businesses means providing aid to the companies that employ 48 percent of American workers. The CARES bill allocates $349 billion for small business loans which are backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans are intended to help small businesses meet payroll, rent, and utilities and some loans would convert to grants that don’t have to be repaid if certain conditions are met as was explained in a March 30 article in the Wall Street Journal.

NOTE: The article found here in Inc. explains how COVID-19-related loans are not the same as other SBA loans that small businesses may be familiar with.

In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce created this checklist to help small businesses learn more about and apply for COVID-19-related SBA loans.

 

Unemployment Benefits for Self-Employed Workers

Independent contractors aren’t usually eligible for unemployment benefits, however, if you perform freelance work and your options are drying up, you may be able to qualify for unemployment benefits during this time. This Business Insider article provides helpful insight that you should check into.

This CareerOneStop.org link help is a useful resource for self-employed workers to research and apply for unemployment benefits where they live.

 

Coronavirus Relief Checks for Individuals

Some Americans will be issued one-time checks for up to $1,200 and other stimulus payments for children under age 16 will be made as well. There is no need to apply to the government to receive these funds. Eligible Americans are supposed to receive their payment toward the latter part of April, 2020, officials say.

As one might expect in an undertaking such as this, there is a complicated set of provisions related to 2019 gross income, which NPR has tried to simplify in this graphic.

If you want to see if you qualify for a stimulus check you can check your 2019 adjusted gross income on Line 8b of your 2019 1040 federal tax return, as explained in this article by the New York Times.

 

Corporations Step Up to Help Small Businesses and Self-Employed Workers

There are many other sources of help for small businesses, contract employees, workers telecommuting and families dealing with home schooling. Entrepreneur compiled this list of more than 100 technology products and services that are free during the pandemic. Check back often as the list will be updated regularly for the time being.

Inc. has a similar list, and they created a helpful small business survival guide to assist small businesses in dealing with COVID-19 challenges.