Mississippi hasn’t been hit as hard by COVID-19 as California, New York, and neighboring states like Louisiana, but the disease has still impacted the Magnolia State. By the middle of May 2020, there were 10,483 cases of COVID-19 and 480 fatalities. More than 130,000 residents have filed for unemployment – a large number for a state with just under 3 million residents. However, there’s relief available from both the state of Mississippi and the federal government for residents and small business owners. If coronavirus has affected you or your business, this guide will show you how to find help. If this crisis has raised concerns about how you can protect your finances now and in the future, consider working with a financial advisor.
Mississippi Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
Mississippi has created and re-opened programs to assist residents of the state struggling during this crisis. Programs include the Mississippi Hardest Hit Fund (HFF), better known as the Home Saver Program, and the Childcare Crisis Assistance in Isolation Response Plan. The state also has a coronavirus hotline. The number is 877-978-6453.
Hardest Hit Fund (HHF)
The Mississippi Home Corporation (MHC) has reopened the HHF to provide short-term mortgage assistance to individuals who have lost employment or income due to the coronavirus pandemic. HHF is funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The state has used HHF funds to stabilize local housing markets and help Mississippians avoid losing their homes. Assistance is targeted toward unemployed or underemployed homeowners, as well as those with homes that are worth less than the value of their mortgage. You can apply for assistance here.
The Childcare Crisis Assistance in Isolation Response Plan (CCAIR)
The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), along with the governor and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), are providing childcare services for emergency and essential personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic. This service is available for personnel serving on the frontlines of this pandemic who are unable to isolate at home. After potential partners fulfill the background, health, and safety requirements, they will receive free of charge CCAIR training through the Early Childhood Academy. After completing the training, they will be assigned a CCAIR coach who will guide them through the process of becoming a CCAIR site. If you need financial assistance, you can apply for an emergency certificate here. You can find a CCAIR location here.
Mississippi Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
In May 2020, state lawmakers passed a bill providing $300 million in grants to small businesses, defined as those with 50 or fewer employees, adversely impacted by the novel coronavirus. The bill appropriates $60 million for businesses forced to temporarily close under orders from state and local governments. These businesses would directly receive immediate payments of $2,000 and would not have to apply for the money. The remaining $240 million is for businesses that have faced an interruption from the virus. Further, $40 million of these funds would go toward minority owned or disadvantaged firms. Grants would be administered by the Mississippi Development Authority and range from $1,500 to $25,000. As of May 15, the governor had yet to sign the bill, which his office had worked with lawmakers in crafting.
There are pre-existing state programs that small businesses can apply to for assistance. Through its foundation, Mississippi Power announced a $350,000 commitment to assist South Mississippi residents, local charities and small businesses during the pandemic. Fully $200,000 will be available for small businesses. Businesses with 50 employees or less are eligible for this new Project Share program distributed through Catholic Charities. To apply, call 1-855-847-0555.
You can apply here to a variety of Mississippi grants and tax incentives, including Community Development Block Grants, and the Job Protection Grant Program, which funds at-risk industries in the state.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
In March, congress passed a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, also known as the CARES Act. It includes major relief programs for individuals affected by the coronavirus and extends the tax deadline. The bill also established a stimulus check program. One-time payments are being sent directly to all Americans within certain income levels, even if their income or health has not been directly affected by coronavirus. Individuals can receive up to $1,200, while married couples can get up to $2,400 (as well as $500 per dependent). The amount you can receive depends on your adjusted gross income (AGI). Individuals who make $99,000 or more won’t receive anything. The cut-off limit for married couples is $198,000, and it’s $136,500 for heads of household. SmartAsset’s coronavirus stimulus check calculator can help you determine how much you may receive in your stimulus check.
You may also qualify for coronavirus sick leave and family leave benefits if you, a household member or a dependent are affected by COVID-19. The CARES Act also includes enhanced unemployment benefits for those who lose income due to coronavirus. he three key unemployment relief programs the CARES Act introduced are: Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). These unemployment benefits allow you to claim an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits (pushing the total to 39 for most states).
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
The CARES Act created relief programs for small businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus. One of these is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was created to help small businesses rebuild revenue. PPP allows eligible businesses with no more than 500 or fewer employees to borrow 2.5 times its average monthly payroll costs or up to $10 million (excluding salaries that are $100,000 or more). Small business owners can apply through a local PPP lender.
Small businesses can also apply for for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), which are Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. These loans offer eligible businesses an emergency cash advance of $10,000, with loans of up to $2 million for businesses and nonprofits. The application can be found here. Other types of coronavirus relief for businesses include the the SBA 7(a) loan program, the SBA Debt Relief Program, and the Express Loan Program.
The Bottom Line
Mississippians can receive coronavirus assistance through state programs as well as federal government programs, including the CARES Act. Look into the available programs for both you and your small business and see which are right for you before taking the next steps.
Tips for Managing Your Finances During the Pandemic
- A financial advisor can build you a financial plan that keeps you financially secure even in a tough economy. 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.
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