The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the U.S., and Massachusetts has been particularly hard-hit. The state has seen over 50,000 confirmed cases of the sickness, and more than 3,000 people have died. Individuals have been ordered to stay home since March 24, which has had a significant impact on the state’s economy. The state government has implemented relief programs and other guidance to help individuals, families and businesses alike impacted by this economic fallout. In addition to state programs, there are plenty of federal relief efforts that are aimed at further helping people manage during the crisis. If you and your family are having financial troubles, it might also help to speak with a financial advisor in your area.
Massachusetts Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
Massachusetts has implemented several relief programs that exist to help individuals and families affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Most programs are designed to help people recoup lost wages and make ends meet during these difficult times.
The state government has waived the previously mandatory one-week waiting period for unemployed individuals to collect unemployment benefits. It also expanded unemployment benefits in order to cover more individuals and families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Massachusetts WorkShare Program
This program helps both businesses and individuals, by helping keep employees on employers’ payroll. The Massachusetts WorkShare Program allows employees to work fewer hours while simultaneously collecting unemployment. This allows workers to retain their jobs and make up for lost wages. while businesses can keep employees on staff despite reduced demand for business. You can find more information here.
Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program
An extra $5 million in COVID-19 funding has allowed RAFT to create a special program designed specifically to help families who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Eligible households are ones who have seen a decrease in income or an increase in medical expenses due to COVID-19. This RAFT funding will ideally reach over 1,500 households in Massachusetts, with up to $4,000 in funding for each of them.
Massachusetts Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
The commonwealth of Massachusetts doesn’t have a wide range of coronavirus relief programs for businesses. The city of Boston does have one such program, though.
City of Boston, Small Business Relief Fund
In Boston, the government has established the Small Business Financial Relief Fund in order to help businesses that have been hit the hardest by coronavirus pandemic’s many economic effects. To be eligible, your small business must have fewer than 35 employees and must have less than $1.5 million in annual revenue. Business can apply and learn more here.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes several federal provisions designed to help individuals get through the coronavirus crisis. The most notable of these is the stimulus check program, which is available to individuals, couples and heads of household. Individuals making less than $75,000 per year will receive $1,200. That amount doubles for married couples, who will also receive an additional $500 per child under the age of 17. For individuals, couples and heads of household, the cutoff for annual adjusted gross income (AGI) is $99,000, $198,000 and $136,500, respectively.
The CARES Act also includes other important individual and family-oriented provisions, such as a federal tax deadline extension, stronger unemployment benefits, expanded paid sick and family leave, relief for rent and mortgage payments and student loan relief. When it comes to unemployment, most Americans can now claim up to 39 weeks of benefits, which is 13 weeks more than usual in many states. Benefit amounts are also boosted by $600 until July 31, 2020.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
The federal government has implemented a number of programs to help America’s small business handle the crisis on hand. The CARES Act includes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which can provide businesses with up to $10 million in loans to cover payroll expenses. The loans are designed to cover 2.5 times an employer’s average monthly payroll, with the exception of salary amounts above $100,000.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) are also a good option for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Offered through the Small Business Administration (SBA), these loans range up to $2 million per business, and they can cover a range of operational expenses that may now be harder to pay for through standard business revenue. Applicants for an EIDL are also eligible to receive an advance grant of $10,000 to cover costs while the loan processes.
Other federal programs available to small businesses include: the SBA Debt relief program, the SBA 7(a) Loan Program, the Express Loan Program, the Community Advantage Loan Program, microloans and 504 loans.
Massachusetts has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of cases and deaths throughout the state. As a result, the state government has implemented measures to make sure that individuals, families and businesses are in the best position to be able to emerge from this crisis intact. While the state-level measures aren’t going to solve all problems, there are also a number of federal programs designed to help people and businesses.
Tips for Small Businesses During the Coronavirus Crisis
- Managing a business during the COVID-19 pandemic can be a challenge, and it may be a good idea to talk with a financial advisor. 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. Get started now.
- SmartAsset has plenty of resources available to help guide businesses through this pandemic. See our guide for small businesses.
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