The disease that the novel coronavirus causes, COVID-19, has hit businesses and individuals across the country. Despite its distance from the worst-hit areas, New Mexico has not been spared. By mid-May 2020, the state, which has a population of 2.1 million, had 5,364 confirmed cases and recorded 331 deaths. New Mexico has also been hit economically. Between March 12 and April 15 more than 10% of the state’s workforce filed jobless claims. The good news is that there are relief programs available from both the federal and state governments to support individuals and small businesses.
New Mexico Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
New Mexico has both new and existing programs available to individuals. Some programs, such as unemployment benefits, have been expanded to include more people affected by coronavirus.
New Mexicans may be eligible for unemployment compensation if they have had their hours reduced or eliminated as a result of COVID-19 or are self-isolated or directed to be isolated, or if they have an isolated family member. The state has an informational website that details what the requirements are for unemployment benefits.
If you would like to start looking for a new job or register as a job seeker, the state has a dedicated job postings page that is kept up to date. You must register in the Workforce Connection System within 14 days of your initial unemployment claim to receive unemployment insurance benefits.
Housing and Utilities
The New Mexico Supreme Court issued an order placing a temporary moratorium on evictions for the inability to pay rent during the COVID-19 public health emergency. While COVID-19 has caused the federal government to halt any evictions, New Mexico has also added time to pay fines and fees and are allowing existing eviction proceedings to be held via teleconference. The state also has created a hotline to help people understand what their options are. This hotline is 1-833-551-0518.
Many utility companies, including electric, gas, and water authorities, have publicly committed to suspending shut-offs due to non-payment for a period during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Payment plans and reduced rates for low-income individuals may also be available.
If one or more of your utility services has been shut off and you require assistance to contact your provider, you may call the state’s COVID-19 general hotline at 1-833-551-0518.
In addition to home-based utilities, all major internet and telecommunications companies in New Mexico have signed onto the Federal Communication Commission’s Keep America Connected Pledge. This means that they will not terminate any residential or small business’s service due to the inability to pay their bills. They will also waive any late fees incurred during the epidemic.
If you are an essential employee and need someone to care for your school-aged children, you may visit newmexicokids.org. The website provides a list of resources available to essential workers that can’t stay home with their children.
If you are a childcare provider struggling to find supplies or food deliveries, the website will also be able to help you find local retailers and help you find available supplies.
If your family needs food, you can:
Additionally, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides financial assistance to eligible New Mexicans with low income and limited resources to purchase food products. SNAP benefits are simple to use to purchase qualifying food products at participating grocery stores.
New Mexico Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
Business Loan Guarantee Programs
New Mexico has had business loan guarantee programs, but they have adjusted them to make capital available to business owners whose operations are severely impacted by COVID-19.
The Economic Development Department (EDD) has created a program to assist businesses seeking emergency loans or lines of credit to deal with negative economic impacts from COVID-19. EDD can guarantee a portion of a loan or line of credit up to 80% of the principal or $50,000. Loan proceeds are flexible and can be used for but not limited to the following working capital, inventory, and payroll. You can apply online here.
Local Economic Development Act (LEDA)
This signature program from the EDD provides grants to help economic development-based businesses pay for land, buildings, and infrastructure to relocate or expand. The governor has authorized the EDD to make no-interest loans from LEDA to assist COVID-19 impacted businesses as well. The loans can also be used for lease abatement or mortgage assistance.
Companies applying for the loans must be a qualified manufacturing business with over 50% of its revenue coming from outside of New Mexico or a retail business in a community under 15,000. All loans will be required to provide security equal to the amount of the loan. Businesses interested in LEDA should contact their regional development representative.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
The most popular form of federal funding for individuals is the coronavirus stimulus package, also known as the CARES Act. Among other things, this package provides up to $1,200 per month to any person who earned less than $75,000. Recipients must have filed their taxes in the last two years. Individuals with children and people who filed their taxes jointly may be eligible to receive a larger stimulus. You can find out how much you can expect to receive at this link.
Individuals also have access to paid coronavirus sick leave and family leave benefits. The government offers these for those who either have a coronavirus medical diagnosis or for those caring for a dependent or household member impacted by the virus or a virus-related shutdown.
If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will provide payment forbearance to borrowers impacted by coronavirus. Your mortgage payments may be suspended for up to 12 months due to hardship caused by the coronavirus.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
Perhaps the best-known federal program for small business relief is the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Congress initially appropriated $349 billion for the PPP and then added another $320 billion in late April. The program offers loans – which can be forgiven if certain conditions are met – of up to $10 million for eligible businesses with fewer than 500 employees, and it allows recipients to borrow 2.5 times the business’s average monthly payroll costs (excluding salaries of over $100,000). Use this calculator to see how much your business can get from the PPP.
In late April Congress replenished the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program with $50 billion for loans of up to $2 million each, as well as $10 billion for $10,000 forgivable loan advances, which are available to small businesses even if they don’t have an EIDL loan. Just remember that you can’t claim you used the EIDL and PPP funds for the same expenses.
Outside of the SBA, the Main Street Lending Program is also available for small businesses. This Federal Reserve program aims 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 has allowed businesses to postpone their payroll taxes through the end of 2022. Further, they can earn an Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) to help them keep their employees on payroll during the economic downturn.
The Bottom Line
New Mexico has implemented several relief programs designed to benefit employees, employers, and families. At the state level, coronavirus-impacted individuals can take advantage of discounted or deferred housing costs, food programs, and unemployment benefits. Small businesses have federal and local assistance available to help them keep their businesses running and employees paid. If COVID-19 has presented financial challenges for you, be sure to explore what state and federal programs may be able to help you.
Tips for Business Owners During the Coronavirus Crisis
- Financial advisors frequently help business owners with their finances. 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.
- For a comprehensive list of the programs available to small businesses, check out our guide to coronavirus relief for small businesses. If you’d like to see how much you may receive in your stimulus check, our stimulus check calculator can help. Companies like Amazon, Apple, and more are offering relief to businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19. See the full list of companies here.
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