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Status Update For COVID-19 Business, Worker Financial Relief

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Sonora, CA — Here’s the latest COVID-19 business buzz for those who are self-employed and or small business owners here in the Mother Lode.

Tuolumne County Director of Innovation and Business Assistance Cole Przybyla shares with Clarke Broadcasting a reason why self-employed folks who applied for California Employment Development Department (EDD) Unemployment Benefits may have received an EDD response stating they would get zero benefits. It is because the program has not yet been implemented and will not be taking applications until April 28.

It is called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) under the federal CARES Act, and will provide assistance for unemployed or partially unemployed individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance and who are unable or unavailable to work due to COVID-19 related circumstances. Among those potentially  eligible are independent contractors, self-employed, those without sufficient work history or have exhausted their regular and any extended UI benefits. All must self-certify to be able and available to work except due to being unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason.

Przybyla says that the assistance amount will equal proof of earnings of no less than $167 with an added $600 from March 29 through July 25. He adds that payments can be retroactive starting from the week of February 2 providing up to 39 weeks of benefits. Online applications will be taken beginning April 28. For more information on who is covered, how much coverage can be claimed, and how long you can receive coverage, click here.

SBA EIDL, PPP Loans Status

As far as Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) go, the
online loan portal is currently paused due to a lapse in appropriations.

Przybyla notes that businesses that have already applied and have an application number which begins with ‘3’ are in the queue, waiting for SBA to process their application. However the portal is not available to new applicants. The Fresno SBA office is encouraging people to continue to check back on the SBA Covid-19 Relief webpage, so when it opens back up they can apply.

With regard to SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), he says his office has received confirmation from local banks that their funding of PPP loans will pause due to federal funds being allocated until Congress adds more local banks, and will not fund any new applications. Oak Valley Community Bank described the process for them going forward as that the applications in the queue will just be ready for the next program — which should be out this week.

Przbyla maintains that this gives Oak Valley Community Bank and other banks more time to approve more applications and then hit the fund button when federal funds are allocated.

More On Who Qualifies For PPP

As earlier reported, PPP is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

It also provides a means for self-employed workers who meet PPP conditions to receive loans.

For example, a person with a 2019 Schedule C profit (reported on line 31 of the tax return) of $40,000 — having zero other payroll costs, health insurance or pension to deduct would for PPP purposes effectively yield a $40,000 payroll cost — and potentially qualify for a loan of $8,333.

The figure is based on dividing the person’s total payroll cost by 12 to determine the average monthly payroll cost, which in that case is $3,333, and then applying the PPP loan 2.5X multiplier.

To access a list of local banks and their participation in the PPP program, click here.