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Arkansas state capitolEven though Arkansas hasn’t been affected as much by COVID-19 as New York and California, the disease has still affected the Natural State. As of late April, there were more than 6,200 cases reported and 100 deaths. And there’s been a significant impact on the state economy, with more than 170,000 unemployment claims as of late April. The good new is that the federal and state governments are providing relief to help residents and small business owners. If coronavirus has affected you or your business, this guide will show you how to find help.

Arkansas Coronavirus Relief for Individuals

Arkansas has enhanced existing programs to help individuals during the coronavirus pandemic. The governor issued an executive order allowing first responders and front-line healthcare workers who contract coronavirus as a result of exposure at work to file claims for Worker’s Compensation. You can read the executive order here.

The Arkansas Department of Humans Services (DHS) now offers a Mental Health and Addiction Services Support Hotline at 844-763-0198 for individuals on Medicaid, without insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover counseling services. It’s open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A representative will help you find a list of providers offering services in your area. Some services may be available via telehealth, such as individual counseling and family therapy. You may be eligible for these services even if you have not received assistance from. DHS in the past. You can learn more here.

Non-physician direct-care workers providing in-person assistance will receive additional income. These workers include those who work for nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, and assisted living facilities. These types of workers include personal care aides, certified nurse aides, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, home health. aides, nursing assistive personnel, hospice service direct care workers, and respiratory. therapists. Workers can receive up to an additional $500 per week, depending on whether or not they work with coronavirus diagnosed patients, and how many hours a week they work. DHS Arkansas provides answers to FAQs about these direct payments here.

Arkansas Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses

Fort Smith, ArkansasArkansas also has initiatives to help businesses. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) is offering a Quick Action Loan Program affected by the pandemic. Small to medium-sized companies that are in the supply chain of essential goods and services, including healthcare, food manufacturing, and logistics will be prioritized. The program includes both loan guarantees and direct lending to businesses. A list of lenders can be found here. If you have questions for AEDC about how they can help your business, email them at covid19.businessinfo@arkansasedc.com or call 501-682-1121 or 1-800-ARKANSAS.

The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, a nonprofit, has established a fund to provide assistance to women-owned small businesses who have been negatively impacted by coronavirus. The first round of the funding application cycle is closed as of April 13, 2020. You can check here to see if there are any updates.

Federal Coronavirus Relief for Individuals

Congress passed the CARES Act, a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, which includes several major relief benefits for individuals affected by the coronavirus. It includes enhanced unemployment benefits, paid coronavirus sick leave, a tax deadline extension, and coronavirus student relief programs.

The three main enhanced unemployment relief programs included in the CARES Act were:  Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA); Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC); and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). These programs will allow individuals to claim an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits (pushing the total to 39 for most states). This expanded unemployment relief also allows freelance workers to claim unemployment if their income has been affected by the crisis.

The CARES Act also created a direct coronavirus stimulus check program. The one-time stimulus checks will be sent directly to all Americans within certain income levels, even if they have not gotten sick or face unemployment. The most an individual can receive is $1,200, while married couples can earn up to $2,400 (as well as $500 per dependent). However, the amount you get is affected by your adjusted gross income. Individuals who make $99,000 or more; or married couples who make $198,000 or more won’t receive anything. Our coronavirus stimulus check calculator can help you determine how much you may receive in your stimulus check.

Federal Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses

Man in a canoe in Arkansas

The CARES Act contains many provisions for helping businesses survive the pandemic. One of those provisions is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). After running through its initial $349 billion appropriation in less than two weeks, Congress appropriated another $310 billion for the PPP ($60 billion of which is being set aside for small and midsize lending institutions), $60 billion for disaster relief loans (Economic Injury Disaster Loans), $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for testing. Under the PPP, businesses with fewer than 500 employees can borrow 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs or up to $10 million, excluding salaries of $100,000 or more. You can apply through a local PPP lender.

Small businesses can also apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). EIDLs are Small Business Administration (SBA) loans that offer qualifying businesses an emergency cash advance of $10,000, with loans of up to $2 million for businesses and non-profits. The program’s first round of funding was exhausted, but it reopened its funding to agribusinesses. Small businesses can apply here.

Businesses also have access to other forms of widely available coronavirus relief, like the SBA 7(a) loan program and the SBA Debt Relief Program.

The Bottom Line

There’s help available for Arkansas residents and their businesses from both the state and federal government. There are also non-profit groups offering help for individuals and businesses. Look through the available programs and see which might be the best fit for you or your business.

Tips for Managing Your Finances

  • A financial advisor can be a great partner in building a durable financial plan. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors who will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  •  The government is offering various types of financial aid to those affected by the pandemic. One is providing stimulus checks. If you’re struggling to meet your rent or mortgage payments, check out coronavirus rent and mortgage relief.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/DustyPixel, ©iStock.com/peeterv, ©iStock.com/Sportstock

Sarah Fisher Sarah Fisher has been researching and writing about business and finance for years. She has worked for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and her work has appeared on Business Insider and Yahoo Finance. Sarah has a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and is from New York City. When she isn't writing finance articles, she dabbles in animation and graphic design.
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