Maryland currently has more than 20,000 coronavirus cases with a total of 929 deaths, according to the Maryland Department of Health. The federal government enacted its own coronavirus crisis response through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but the state has also employed its own relief programs. In offering protections to those impacted by COVID-19, Maryland has enabled individuals and small businesses to avoid further economic loss. But even if certain applicants aren’t eligible for state or local benefits, they can still utilize coronavirus crisis government help. And financial advisors can also help you navigate times of economic uncertainty. Below, we look further into the available coronavirus relief programs.
Maryland Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
Public Health Emergency Act
Governor Larry Hogan signed the Public Health Emergency Act to protect Marylanders from coronavirus-related economic hardships. The legislation includes numerous provisions that benefit individuals impacted by COVID-19. Specifically, it prohibits price-gouging for essential supplies, as well as fees and co-pays for COVID-19 tests. The law also prevents employers for terminating employees due to self-isolation or quarantine.
Learn more about the legislation here.
The Maryland Food Bank is a statewide nonprofit organization distributing food throughout multiple counties in the state. Other schools and organizations are also fundraising to aid individuals and families impacted by the virus. See a full list here.
Maryland Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) Grants
Maryland independent artists and art organizations can take advantage of financial relief through the Maryland State Arts Council’s grant opportunities. The MSAC Emergency Grants are for artists and organizations whose events have been canceled or modified due to coronavirus reasons.
To receive funding, organizations must show proof of ineligibility or proof that an application has been accepted or declined from one of the relief programs: U.S. Small Business Administration disaster relief loans, the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund and the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund. However, independent artists must prove ineligibility for unemployment insurance (UI) or that they’ve exhausted their UI. See how to apply here.
Montgomery County Public Health Emergency Grant Program
To help small businesses rebuild revenue, Montgomery County is offering nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses (including independent contractors and sole proprietorships) grants of up to $75,000. The grants strictly apply to businesses experiencing financial loss due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The Montgomery County government offers more information about eligibility requirements and applications here.
Prince George’s County COVID-19 Business Relief Fund
This $2.5 million fund offers grants to small county-based businesses experiencing business interruption, according to Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation. The grants, which are for working capital uses, provide up to $10,000 for businesses with more than 10 employees. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees can earn up to $5,000 in grants. You can learn more about eligibility requirements and grant details here.
Carroll County Small Business Emergency Relief Fund
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners is providing grants of $1,250 for coronavirus-impacted businesses. To qualify, businesses must have been established and must have hired between two and 25 full-time employees before March 5, 2020.
Eligible uses include working capital to support mortgage payments, rent, payroll and other expenses. Carroll County residents can learn more about the program here.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
Marylanders can utilize several different federal coronavirus relief programs. Many of these require individuals to be directly impacted by the virus, but some, such as the coronavirus stimulus checks, do not. These checks go out to individuals, married couples and heads of household. But you’ll only receive the checks if your adjusted gross income (AGI) doesn’t exceed a specific dollar amount. For instance, individuals won’t receive anything if they make above $99,000. For joint filers, the income cutoff is $198,000, and the maximum AGI for heads of household is $135,500. But individuals receive $1,200 if they make $75,000 or less. Married couples earn $2,400 (plus an additional $500 per dependent) if they make $150,000 or less. And heads of household get $1,200 if their AGI is $112,500 or less.
Individuals can also utilize enhanced coronavirus unemployment benefits if they lose their job due to coronavirus-related causes. The government now provides 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefits, along with a federal boost of $600 per week. The government’s response to unemployment during COVID-19 also led to the creation of the following three programs: Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
If you find yourself experiencing coronavirus symptoms, or if you need to care for a loved one impacted by a medical diagnosis or coronavirus quarantine, you can also take advantage of paid coronavirus sick leave and family leave. Among the federal government’s other provisions are the tax deadline extension, coronavirus student loan relief programs and coronavirus relief for rent and mortgage payments.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
If you’re not sure your small business can survive solely on state relief benefits, you should also consider federal programs, such as the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program, which recently received an additional $31o billion in funding, offers businesses 2.5 times its average monthly payroll costs, with a loan maximum of $10 million. The PPP program excludes salaries of $100,000 or more. The program is now on hold, but it is expected to get additional funding.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program also served as a prominent source of business relief. The program recently ran out of funding, but will likely receive additional financing. The EIDL program offered emergency cash advances of $10,000 and loans of up to $2 million for businesses damaged by COVID-19.
The Bottom Line
Maryland provides a number of coronavirus relief programs at the state and local levels. These programs aim to protect individuals and small businesses either directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19. But each state and local program has limited funding. Therefore, if you or your business has been negatively affected by the pandemic, it’s wise to apply and seek aid sooner rather than later. In avoiding financial loss, you’ll also want to consider the range of federal programs created specifically for individuals and small businesses. Even if you think you can recover financially without government assistance, it’s better to be proactive in protecting your finances from coronavirus-related shutdowns.
Tips for Managing your Finances During the Coronavirus Crisis
- If you’d like professional help with managing your assets during challenging times, a financial advisor could be right for you. As a Maryland resident, you’ll likely have many options, but it’s important to choose the advisor that best suits your short- and long-term goals. Our financial advisor matching tool connects you with up to three local advisors for free.
- A budget can help you minimize unnecessary spending and save more toward retirement. If you’re not sure where to begin, our budget calculator can help.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Anton Litvintsev, ©iStock.com/ake1150sb, ©iStock.com/RichLegg