A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. But what benefits do small businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals qualify for? The $2 trillion coronavirus bill provides emergency grants and forgivable loans with advances payable in as little as 3 days. Here are three programs from the coronavirus bill we help our clients with.

Paycheck Protection Program

This program offers government-guaranteed loans for independent contractors, employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, and mortgage, rent, and utility payments. Determining repayment ability isn’t considered possible during this crisis. Instead, eligibility is determined by whether the business was operational on February 15, 2020, had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes or a paid independent contractor. As an emergency loan collateral and personal guarantee requirements are waived under this program.

Loan Forgiveness

This program establishes that the borrower shall be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount of spent by the borrower during an 8-week period after the origination date of the loan on payroll costs, interest payment on any mortgage incurred prior to February 15, 2020, payment of rent on any lease in force prior to February 15, 2020, and payment to any utility company for which service began before February 15, 2020. Amounts forgiven may not exceed the principal amount of the loan.

Emergency EIDL Grants

This program expands eligibility to access Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). EIDL made in response to COVID-19 will not require personal guarantees on advances or loan amounts below $200,000. Applicants need to have been in business for the 1-year period before the disaster. Advances up to $10,000 may be requested on the loan which must be distributed in 3 days. No repayment is required even if subsequently denied for an EIDL loan. Eligibility for an advance is based on certification under the penalty of perjury by the applicant that they are eligible.