The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has left many Americans confused and anxious about their financial future, including many who’ve seen their income sources impacted by the social distancing and stay-at-home orders from state governments, along with an economic downturn that has accompanied the pandemic. Many state governments, though, including Colorado, have taken steps to help individuals and small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the crisis. The federal government has also taken steps to help. Both now and after then pandemic has passed, consider using a financial advisor to build wealth, protect your savings and put yourself in the best financial position possible.
Colorado Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
There are a number of programs available to individual Coloradans to help them through the crisis, either through financial relief or just by making their lives easier.
Document Expiration Extension
This program applies to individuals as well as businesses. A number of state-issued licenses and documents have had their expiration dates extended, meaning the holders won’t need to worry about going out to complete the renewal process. This includes individual licenses for programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, plus business documents like licenses for health care facilities and liquor importers.
Colorado COVID-19 Relief Fund
Gov. Jared Polis announced a statewide relief fund to help those in need. The fund, which anyone can donate to and started with around $2.8 million, will be used for medical supplies, homeless shelters and cleaning supplies, plus to help small businesses and struggling workers. You can donate time or money here. One major donation from March was a $500,000 contribution from the Denver Broncos. Team President — and former Super Bowl hero — John Elway also personally donated $50,000.
Special Health Insurance Enrollment Period
If you don’t have health insurance or lost yours recently, Colorado opened a special enrollment period for health insurance that runs through April 30. You can shop for a plan and enroll here. If you select that you lost your insurance because of COVID-19, insurance companies will not ask for documentation proving you are eligible for this special enrollment period.
If your income falls below a certain level, you may be eligible for Colorado Medicaid. See the eligibility requirements (based on household size and income) and apply here.
Colorado Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
The Centennial State also has programs available to help small businesses currently struggling with finances as a result of the pandemic and economic crisis.
Denver Small Business Emergency Relief Program Form
Denver, the biggest city in Colorado, is offering grants of up to $7,500 to businesses in industries that have been impacted heavily by the crisis including restaurants, retail and barbershops. Apply for these grants here. The fund for these grants totals $4 million.
City of Boulder Small Business Relief Fund
The city of Boulder established a $200,000 fund to help local small businesses, and local philanthropists added $50,000. These grants of up to $2,500 are available to businesses in Boulder with between 2 and 50 employees who have experienced severe revenue loss because of COVID-19. Apply for these grants here.
Federal Programs for Individuals
The federal government also has a number of programs that are designed to help individuals making their way through the COVID crisis. The one most likely to help is the personal stimulus check program. These checks were created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law last month. Checks have started to be deposited for people with bank information on file with the IRS. This program is means tested, so the amount of money a person or family gets is determined by the income on their last tax return.
The most any individual can get is $1,200, while a married couple filing jointly can get up to $2,400. This total is for individuals earning less than $75,000 and married couples with income less than $150,000. The amount you get goes down as your income goes up and the program cuts off at income of $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples. A family also gets an additional $500 for each child.
The CARES Act also provides enhanced unemployment benefits. If you lose your job due to the crisis you are eligible for up to 39 weeks of unemployment, 13 more than available in most states. The federal government is also providing a $600 booster to unemployment checks through July 2020. If you have to miss work because of COVID-19, you are eligible for paid sick leave.
Federal Programs for Small Businesses
The federal government is also looking to help small businesses dealing with economic losses. The Paycheck Protection Program, for example, lets a business with less than 500 employees borrow up to 2.5 times their payroll (deducting any salary over $100,000 for any individual), with a $10 million maximum loan. These PPP loans are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration at 100%. Moreover, the loans are forgivable for up to eight weeks of payroll, mortgage interest and utilities, so long as the firm’s full-time headcount and payroll stay the same as they averaged between February 15, 2019 and June 30, 2019 (January 1,2020 and February 15, 2020 if the business was founded this year.) This means that total essentially becomes a grant. Apply for a PPP loan through a local lender.
Businesses can also apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). These loans are administered by the SBA and are available for up to $2 million anywhere an economic disaster has been declared. The interest rate is 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. Apply for one here.
Automatic debt relief is being provided for existing SBA loans. All payments including principal, interest and fees will be covered by the SBA for six months. Check with your lender to see that this applies to your loan.
If you have applied for an EIDL but aren’t sure you can make it until the money arrives, consider an express bridge loan of up to $25,000. You’ll then pay back the bridge loan with your EIDL money. Apply through a local lender.
The Bottom Line
Both Colorado and the federal government are looking to help people and businesses hurting from the COVID-19 crisis. If you are looking for help, consider all your options and make sure you take the time to figure out the best way for you to make it through.
Tips for Managing Your Finances During the COVID-19 Crisis
- A financial advisor can help during and after this crisis. Finding the right financial advisor that 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.
- Just because there is a crisis doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about the future, if you can. Use SmartAsset’s retirement calculator to see how you should be saving for your golden years.
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