Montana provides a number of relief programs to combat the economic challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak. With more than 480 cases and fewer than 20 deaths, the state has implemented stay-at-home orders, unemployment benefits expansions and numerous other coronavirus assistance programs for individuals and small businesses. But the U.S. also provides coronavirus crisis government help for eligible applicants. In this guide, we take a closer look at the available state and federal programs for Montanans.
Countless Americans are meeting with financial advisors to protect their assets during economically turbulent times. Find a financial advisor today.
Montana Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
Governor Steve Bullock waived the one-week waiting period for those filing unemployment claims. This means you’ll be able to receive your benefits immediately. And with the passage of the coronavirus stimulus package, you can receive additional weeks in benefits, not to exceed 39 weeks.
You can find more information here.
Montana also offers tenants and homeowners some relief when it comes to rent and mortgage payments. The state prohibits landlords from terminating leases or refusing to renew or extend the terms of current leases, according to the Montana Department of Commerce. In addition, tenants won’t incur any late fees or penalties due to late or nonpayment of rent.
See more on housing provisions here.
Several food pantries and COVID-19 relief funds are providing food resources to individuals and families in need. Among these are the Big Sky Community Food Bank, the Human Resource Development Council of District IX Inc. (HRDC) and the Silent Warrior Foundation.
You can find local food resources here.
Montana Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
Montana MicroBusiness Finance Program
Administrated by the Montana Department of Commerce, the Montana MicroBusiness Finance Program offers businesses with fewer than 10 full-time employees loans up to $100,000. In order to qualify, the businesses must be Montana-based and have gross annual revenues of less than $1,000,000.
Learn more about the program here.
Small Business Advising
Montana’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) network offers small businesses counseling in areas such as business planning, disaster planning, financial analysis and more. You can find more information about the network here.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act offers an array of protections for Americans. Among these are the coronavirus stimulus checks. Under the CARES Act, individuals, married couples and heads of household qualify for direct cash payments if their adjusted gross income (AGI) falls within certain thresholds. For instance, individuals making $75,000 or less qualify for a maximum payment of $1,200, and heads of household can also earn up to $1,200. However, married couples earn a flat $2,400 (plus $500 per dependent) if their AGI is $150,000 or less. But each check amount phases out at $5 for every $100 made above the income threshold. This means that individuals will receive $0 if they make $99,000 or above. For couples and heads of household, the income cut-offs are $198,000 and $136,500.
Individuals who lost their job to coronavirus can also utilize enhanced coronavirus unemployment benefits. The government now offers an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits, along with a federal boost of $600 per week.
Other provisions include coronavirus relief for rent and mortgage payments, a tax deadline extension and coronavirus student loan relief programs. Individuals can also take paid coronavirus sick leave and family leave if needed.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
The federal government also offers numerous options of coronavirus relief for businesses. In fact, one of the most significant and heavily funded aid programs is the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP loan fund offers small businesses 2.5 times its average monthly payroll costs up to $10 million (excluding salaries of $100,000 or more). The program’s initial funding of $349 billion ran out, but it received an additional $310 billion on April 23, 2020. You can apply through a PPP loan lender.
The SBA Debt Relief Program is another option. The program offers eligible businesses six months of relief if they’re currently using SBA 7(a) loans, 504 loans or microloans. The program also pays for the principal, interest and fees of new SBA 7(a) loans, 504 loans and microloans issued before September 27, 2020. You can learn more about the program here.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) provided emergency cash advances of $10,000 with loans up to $2 million for states with disaster declarations in its first round of funding. The program recently reopened to certain coronavirus-impacted agribusinesses.
The Bottom Line
Montana individuals and small businesses can utilize benefits expansions and assistance programs both at the state and federal levels. This includes housing protections, unemployment benefits expansions, food resources, financial support for small businesses and more. But the eligibility requirements vary for different programs, so you’ll want to do your research before applying.
Tips for Managing Your Finances During the Coronavirus Crisis
- A financial advisor can offer holistic advice for your financial situation, especially in times of crisis. Whether you need help with navigating a recession, investment planning or retirement planning, these professionals can provide solutions specific to your needs. Our financial advisor matching tool pairs you with up to three local advisors for free!
- Budgeting can be an effective way to minimize spending and save more — if done correctly. Our budget calculator can help you get started.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Belyay, ©iStock.com/stellalevi, ©iStock.com/AlenaPaulus