Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

 

A guide to understanding the

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act 

 

Are you a small business owner?

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides a resource guide for Tennessee businessses. The guide, which inlcudes a list of SBA-approved lenders, Women’s Business Centers, Veterans Business Outreach Centers, can be found here. For more information about all small business resources, please click here. You can also call the U.S. Small Business Administration in Nashville: 615-736-5881.

Numerous resources are now available for Tennessee business owners impacted by COVID-19.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance. EIDLs may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. Apply here.

Emergency Economic Injury Grants
A new grant program has been created to provide an advance of $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) within three days of applying for the loan. Small businesses (up to 500 employees), cooperatives, ESOPS, private nonprofits, independent contractors and the self-employed are eligible for the grants. The advance can cover immediate payroll, mortgage rent, and other operating expenses while they wait for additional relief to be processed.

Additional information and application information will be provided as soon as it is made available by the SBA. 

Paycheck Protection Program
A new Paycheck Protection Program has been created that will allow small businesses to cover payroll during the crisis. This provides 100% guaranteed, low interest, no fee loans of up to $10 million with repayment deferred for at least six months and will forgive up to 100% of the loan if the borrower has retained the same number of employees as when they received the loan. Small businesses (up to 500 employees), nonprofits, independent contractors and the self-employed are eligible. This includes churches but only to cover payroll costs of an associated business, like a thrift store. Eligible entities will be able to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. The program will be retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Loans are available through June 30, 2020. All current SBA 7(a) lenders are eligible lenders for the Paycheck Protection Program. 

Use this form to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program with an eligible lender.

SBA Assistance
The stimulus includes $17 billion in funding to provide immediate relief to small businesses with standard SBA 7(a), 504, or microloans. SBA will cover all loan payments for existing SBA borrowers, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. Relief is also available to new borrowers who take out an SBA loan within six months after the President signs the bill. While SBA borrowers are receiving the six months debt relief, they may apply for a PPP loan that provides capital to keep their employees on the job. The six months of SBA payment relief may not be applied to payments on PPP lonas.

Payroll Tax Credit
There is a new 50% employee retention payroll tax credit for wages paid to employees during the COVID-19 emergency. The fully-refundable credit would be available to any business or non-profit that has a furloughed or reduced workforce as a result of a forced closure due to a federal, state, or local government directive or as a result of quarantining of employees. The credit would also be available to any business that has seen a 50% drop in gross receipts. The credit is limited to $10,000 per employee and is refundable against payroll tax. The credit would be available to businesses that do not receive SBA loans. Business owners would be able to choose whether an SBA loan or employee retention credit is better suited to their situation.

Payroll Tax Delay
As an additional incentive to keep workers on staff, companies may defer the 6.2% Social Security tax on all wages up to $137,700 for the rest of the year, though they would have to pay it back in equal installments in 2021 and 2022. What they owe, though, would be reduced by the tax credits earned by keeping employees on their payroll. Deferral is not provided to employers that avail themselves of SBA 7(a) loans designated for payroll.

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides a resource guide for Tennessee businessses. The guide, which inlcudes a list of SBA-approved lenders, Women’s Business Centers, Veterans Business Outreach Centers, can be found here. For more information about all small business resources, please click here. You can also call the U.S. Small Business Administration in Nashville: 615-736-5881.

Additional information for small businesses may be found through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website here.

Are you eligible for the cash rebate in the stimulus?

Cash rebates have been made available from the COVID-19 stimulus bill. Individuals making $75,000 or less ($150,000 couples filing jointly) will receive $1,200. This phases out up to $99,000 ($198,000 couples filing jointly). Families would receive $500 for each dependent child under 17. All individuals, including Social Security and SSI recipients are eligible. Recipients must have a Social Security Number (except spouses of U.S. service members) and be a U.S. resident. Adoption taxpayer identification numbers are acceptable for adopted children.

People are encouraged to go to https://www.irs.gov to file for direct deposit if they do not already use direct deposit. Rebates are based off of 2019 taxes, but 2018 taxes will be used if the 2019 taxes have not been filed. Nonfilers are encouraged to file a return, and will likely be asked to undertake additional steps that will be determined by the IRS, in order to claim the rebate.

Read more about the stimulus payments here and hereThe Washington Post created a stimulus payment calculator.

Do you have a student loan with the federal government?

Federally-held student loan payments have been suspended until September 30, 2020. Borrowers can defer payments without interest for 60 days but must contact their loan service providers to trigger deferment. 

Do you need more time to file your taxes?

The federal tax filing deadline has been pushed from April 15 to July 15 for all taxpayers and businesses. People expecting a refund are still encouraged to file as soon as possible in order to get the money they are owed. Note this only applies to federal, not state, taxes.

More information about how to file an extension can be found here.

Do you have limited or no internet access?

Several broadband resources are available at little to no cost while the Coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis continues. Find available resources here.

Are you a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient?

Congress has given Tennessee authority to provide Emergency Allotments to SNAP households, as well as provide temporary services, including school lunch programs for children whose schools are closed and normally receive free or reduced price meals.

The State of Tennessee may issue Emergency Allotments to current SNAP households for April and May 2020, increasing their current monthly allotment to the maximum monthly allotment for a household of that size. Current SNAP households that already receive the maximum monthly allotment are not eligible for increases. All Emergency Allotments will be delivered on current SNAP households’ EBT cards. 

Apply for SNAP benefits here. Frequently Asked Questions for about SNAP benefits can be found here

Are you a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipient?

Emergency Cash Assistance is open for Tennessee families to apply. These funds are available in addition to unemployment benefits and may provide up to $1,000 per month, for two months. To be eligible for assistance, families must have been employed as of March 11, 2020 but have since lost employment or at least 50% of their earned income due to COVID-19. Families must include a child under 18 or a pregnant woman. You also must have a valid Social Security Number to apply. 

Apply for TANF benefits here.

Are you a homeowner, renter, or do you live in a HUD-subsidized housing? 

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development suspended foreclosures and evictions for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration for 60 days. Options such as short and long-term forbearance options, mortgage modifications, and other mortgage payment relief options may be available to borrowers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and facing foreclosure. For more information for homeowners, renters, and consumers please click here.

Are you recently unemployed due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

In response to the coronavirus crisis, Congress has provided additional funding to Tennessee to expand unemployment benefits and cover more applicants.

An extra $600 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation will be added to every weekly unemployment benefit, effective until July 31, 2020. This $600 benefit will be taxable (like regular unemployment benefits), but it will be disregarded in determining Medicaid or CHIP eligibility. Self-employed workers (including gig workers and independent contractors), part-time workers, and those with limited work histories are eligible. An additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment compensation is available for individuals who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits and is available immediately through December 31, 2020.

An FAQ document is available here.

Apply for unemployment benefits here.

Do you need to contact the Social Security Administration?

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as of March 17, 2020, Social Security Offices only offer phone services. Call your local Social Security Office: 

Nashville: 1-877-808-5461

Madison: 1-866-964-6302

More information about the Social Security Administration and its current services may be found here.

Are you a retired VA physician?

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approved a request from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to waive a section of federal law that governs retired VA workers. The waiver makes it easier for the department to rehire retired VA health care workers and will help VA health care facilities bolster their medical staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Retired VA clinicians who are interested in coming back to VA can register here. OPM’s waiver authority expires after one year. 

For more information on VA’s response to COVID-19, click here.

Are you eligible for paid family or sick leave?

Employees at businesses that employ less than 500 people are required to provide family and sick leave to certain employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

What does this mean?
If you are a business owner who employs 50-500 people, you must provide paid family and sick leave to employees.

  • Eligible full-time employees and part-time employees are entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to take care of a family member due to COVID-19 or for their children in the event of a school closure.

    • The 12 weeks of job-protected leave include two weeks of unpaid leave, followed by 10 weeks of paid leave. Eligible employees may elect or be required to overlap the initial two weeks of unpaid leave with two weeks of other paid leave they have available. Eligible employees will receive a benefit from their employers that will be no less than two-thirds of the employee’s usual pay.

    • Employers will be fully reimbursed by the federal government through a payroll tax credit.

  • Eligible full-time and part-time employees are eligible for two weeks of paid sick leave (up to $511 per day) to seek treatment of COVID-19, or two weeks of paid leave (up to $200 per day) to care for a family member or child whose school has closed due to COVID-19.

    • Employers will be fully reimbursed by the federal government through a payroll tax credit.

If you are a business owner who employs <50 people, you are not exempt from the bill.

  • Employees at these companies are eligible for emergency paid sick leave under this bill. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees can only qualify for a narrow exemption if the Department of Labor determines that providing these benefits would jeopardize the viability of the business.

If you are self-employed, this means:

  • People who are self-employed but work for another employer are eligible for a tax credit of up to two weeks of sick pay at their average pay and 12 weeks of family leave pay at two-thirds their normal rate. The tax credit can be applied against a person’s quarterly estimated income tax payments and it is refundable.

The Department of Labor issued guidance stating that the paid leave provisions are effective on April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

For more information about family and sick leave, please read:

Fact Sheet for Employees

Fact Sheet for Employers

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there changes to charitable contributions or HSAs?

A new, above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions has been made available. Taxpayers may deduct up to $300 for their contributions made to charity in 2020 on their federal tax form, regardless of whether they itemize their deductions.

Tax-free reimbursement of feminine hygiene products is also allowed from health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), health flexible spending accounts (health FSAs), and Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs).

Local Resources:

  • Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) is offering free breakfast and lunch meals to children in Nashville Monday-Friday. The meals will be bagged or boxed and available in a drive-through setup to limit crowds and possible exposure to COVID-19. The meals will be cold or room temperature to allow for transportation. Meals will be available to anyone under 18, regardless of their school status; however, they must be present to collect the meals. For a full list of locations, click here

  • Mayor John Cooper, together with philanthropic, corporate, and government partners, created the COVID-19 Response Fund at United Way of Greater Nashville. The Fund’s advisory committee will be chaired by former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, MD. The COVID-19 Response Fund was established to quickly and effectively address both the health and economic challenges of this virus. Chaired by former Senator Dr. Bill Frist, the Fund will rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations, getting dollars to where they are needed most. The Fund will focus its initial allocations on helping our neighbors who are experiencing lost wages or who become ill from the virus receive the assistance they need to stay in their homes and keep food on the table. To donate to or request assistance from this fund, click here.

Other Ways to Help:

Tennesseans can provide a critical supply need by donating blood. Red Cross blood donation locations can be found here.

Trained medical volunteers can offer their services by registering with a National VOAD member on nvoad.org.

To sell or donate medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please visit https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help. Businesses can register for free through the System for Award Management (SAM) website and email all information to nbeoc@fema.dhs.gov.