New Jersey was one of the first states hit by coronavirus and, after New York, has been the worst hit by the pandemic. The good news is that the Garden State has expanded unemployment resources and made other programs to help its citizens and businesses more generous. We’ll walk through those state programs, as well as some federal programs like the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program.
New Jersey Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
As of April 20, New Jersey has had 88,806 cases and 4,377 deaths. Between March 15 and ending April 11 the state had new unemployment claims from more than 718,000 people. The state Labor Department said that nearly 430,000 New Jersey workers are receiving unemployment benefits.
Fortunately, there is relief available to those struggling economically due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Because of the federal CARES Act, New Jersey’s unemployment insurance system has expanded benefits to independent contractors, self-employed individuals, gig workers, and those looking for part-time work. Unemployment insurance will give an additional 13 weeks of benefits for up to 39 weeks. It will also cover workers who are sick, quarantined, or exposed to COVID-19, and those who need to care for family members due to COVID-19.
Additionally, people who do not have enough work history, do not have unemployment benefits, or have lost hours but not completely lost employment are now eligible for unemployment benefits. New Jerseyans can apply for unemployment here.
Housing and Mortgage Relief
Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order that any lessee, tenant, homeowner, or otherwise may not be evicted or removed from a property until the crisis is over. Additionally, major banks have committed to not initiate foreclosure sales or eviction proceedings for at least 60 days.
Financial institutions are offering a 90-day grace period for applicable individuals to postpone their mortgage payments. Additionally, financial institutions will provide mortgage forbearance and financial protections, such as no negative credit impacts resulting from relief. Additionally, any customers who have taken assistance will not receive any fees or charges from their financial institutions. New Jersey residents can learn more about housing and mortgage assistance here.
If you do not have health insurance or lose coverage, you may join NJ FamilyCare. This is New Jersey’s publicly funded health insurance program. Undocumented individuals can also receive healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available here.
If you need food assistance, NJ SNAP has expanded its reach to include more people. New Jersey WIC is allowing remote access to individuals and including more food items. You can learn more here.
A complete list of domestic violence hotlines, mental health assistance, developmental and disability assistance, and other assistance programs can be found here.
New Jersey Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
Just as New Jersey has several programs to supplement federal assistance to individuals, they also have aid programs for small businesses. To determine your eligibility for all New Jersey small business support options, use the NJ COVID-19 Business Support Eligibility Wizard.
Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant and Loan Programs
The grant and loan programs each provide funds to small businesses in New Jersey. The grant provides up to $5,000 to small businesses in retail, arts, entertainment, accommodation, food service, and other services. This money is intended to stabilize its operations and reduce the need for layoffs.
The loan offers up to $100,000 to businesses with less than $5 million in revenues. Loans will have 10-year terms and have 0% interest for the first five years. The unpaid remainder of the loans will have a 3% interest for the remaining five years.
NJ Entrepreneur Support Program
The $5 million NJEDA program will encourage continued capital flows to new companies. Most of these companies will be in the innovation economy and help to support small businesses through the market decline. More information can be found here.
Small Business Emergency Assistance Guarantee Program
This program has $10 million to allocate towards 50 percent guarantees on working capital loans and waive fees on loans made through institutions participating in the NJEDA’s existing Premier Lender or Premier CDFI Programs. This will help to alleviate the costs associated with having a loan including repayment, fees, and other charges. You can find more information here.
Emergency Technical Assistance Program
$150,000 in funds have been allocated to this program. The Emergency Technical Assistance Program is designed to give technical assistance to New Jersey-based companies that are applying for state and US SBA programs. This will allow small businesses the support they need when applying for these programs without incurring extra charges.
You can find information for the Emergency Technical Assistance Program and assistance applying for other programs at this link.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
There are several programs that the U.S. government has created to help people financially navigate the economic crisis. The most prominent is the coronavirus stimulus package known as the CARES Act. The centerpiece of that legislation is the economic impact payments, which help individuals who made less than $100,000 in 2018 or 2019 and have filed their taxes with a check of up to $1,200 per month. Married couples and people with children can receive more. You can use this calculator to figure out exactly how much you will receive from the stimulus package.
Additionally, 39 states have expanded or enhanced their unemployment benefits. Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) provides up to an extra $600 per week to regular unemployment insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) recipients. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) allows individuals to receive an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits after they have exhausted their state benefits. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor outlines new expansions and flexibility to their unemployment guidelines on their website.
The CARES Act also supports student loan relief, tax-free student loan repayment benefits, tax deadline extensions, and more. More information regarding rent and mortgage relief is available here. You can view all of the individual federal relief programs here.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
There are a few federal Coronavirus relief programs for small businesses as well. The largest is the Paycheck Protection Program Loans. Small businesses can apply for these SBA loans up to two and a half times their monthly average payroll costs up to $10 million. This is meant to help employers with less than 500 employees to keep their employees on the payroll.
In addition to the Paycheck Protection Program, the Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program is available to businesses that qualify. To qualify for this loan, small businesses that were in operation when the virus was declared an emergency and meet all other SBA 7(a) loan requirements.
The Main Street Lending Program is different from the other programs in that it is not connected to the SBA. Instead, it is run by the Federal Reserve. This program is designed to help banks give money to businesses in need of money during COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 10,000 employees are encouraged to apply. If your small business has also received money from the PPP, you are still eligible to apply for the Main Street Lending Program loans.
Finally, the CARES Act lets businesses postpone their payroll taxes through the end of 2022. They can earn an Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) to help them keep their employees on payroll during the economic downturn. Additionally, existing programs like the 7(a) loan program, the express loan program, 504 loans, Community Advantage Loans, and microloans are all still available.
The Bottom Line
New Jersey has been at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus. Taxpayers and small businesses have several resources available to them, and the state has allocated funding to help people find the right programs. By navigating to the links shared above, you will be able to find the programs that are best for you.
Tips for Managing Your Finances in a Pandemic
- Many financial advisors specialize in working with business owners. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs does not 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.
- It is crucial to stay up to date with both SBA and state provisions so that you can take advantage of these programs if your business loses revenue due to COVID-19. Several companies are also supporting coronavirus-impacted people, and banks are also taking steps to help their customers. For a comprehensive list of the programs available to small businesses, check out our guide to coronavirus relief for small businesses.
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