The state of North Carolina is reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the state’s economy. The state has reported thousands of confirmed cases and over 100 deaths. With no clear end in sight for the pandemic, North Carolina has rolled out state-level coronavirus relief programs aimed at helping both individual residents and small businesses around the state. These programs certainly won’t cover everything, but they go hand-in-hand with the various federal relief programs. During these uncertain times, it can also help to speak with a financial advisor about your financial situation.
North Carolina Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
North Carolina has implemented a handful of relief programs designed to help individuals get through the coronavirus pandemic. Some programs are new, while others are expanded versions of existing programs.
As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, North Carolina has relaxed several of the requirements for those seeking unemployement benefits. Currently, you’ll need to file for unemployment regularly, but you can list COVID-19 as a reason for unemployment. Your former employer has 10 days to respond to the state, after which you’ll be able to receive weekly unemployment checks of up to $350 for 12 weeks. You must go through weekly re-certifications to continue receiving funds.
Child Care Financial Assistance (Executive Order 121)
North Carolinians earning less than 300% of the poverty line annually may be entitled to financial support for child care during the coronavirus pandemic. Eligible individuals must be essential workers who feel they have no other child care options available to them. They also must complete the COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care. You can find the link to apply here.
Food Assistance Services
Individuals and households that receive food assistance are eligible for expanded benefits during the COVID-19 crisis. All families are receiving the maximum amount of assistance for March and April 2020, no matter what their normal amount is. Certification periods have also been extended, with six-month certification periods being extended for six months and 12-month certifications being extended for another 12 months. Work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) are also being suspended for the duration of the crisis.
North Carolina Coronavirus Relief for Businesses
North Carolina also has implemented relief programs designed to help businesses throughout the state stay afloat. Federal programs are available in addition to these state programs.
Rapid Recovery Lending Program
Many businesses who have applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) or the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through the federal government may not see their funds distributed in a timely manner. In this case, these business can apply for state loans to help sustain themselves until their federal assistance comes through. You can apply for this program here.
Business Edge Program
The Business Edge program exists even in non-crisis times to help businesses remain healthy and profitable. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Business Edge is providing remote services to businesses that have been hit hard by the current economic downturn. The program currently specializes in helping businesses manage day-to-day expenses and create strategies to avoid layoffs.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the federal government has developed several programs designed to help individuals who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most important among these are the coronavirus stimulus checks, or Economic Impact Payments. These are designed to provide most Americans with a direct stimulus payment via direct deposit or mail. Most Americans have already received their stimulus checks to their bank accounts, and the mailing of physical checks is underway.
Individuals can receive up to a $1,200 stimulus check if their adjusted gross income (AGI) was $75,000 or less in 2018 or 2019. Married couples are each eligible for that amount too, meaning payments to them can be as high as $2,400. Families will also receive $500 per child under the age of 17. On an individual basis, anyone who makes over $99,000 annually won’t receive anything. That’s because the size of your check will decline by $5 for every $100 you make over the $75,000 threshold.
The CARES Act also provides individuals with paid sick leave benefits that they may not have otherwise had access to. It also includes expanded coronavirus-related unemployment benefits, rent and mortgage relief, student loan payment relief and an extension to the federal income tax deadline. Here’s a breakdown:
- Paid sick leave: Employees of companies with less than 500 workers can get up to two weeks of paid leave if they have COVID-19 or if they need to take care of someone in their household who has it.
- Expanded unemployment: Anyone who loses their job to coronavirus gets an extra 13 weeks of benefits, as well as an additional $600 in weekly benefits.
- Rent and mortgage relief: Those with a federally backed mortgage can request up to 180 days of payment forbearance if they lost their job to coronavirus.
- Student loan relief: All payments for federal student loans are suspended until Sep. 30, 2020. Also, no interest will accrue during that time.
- Federal income tax deadline extension: The deadline for filing your 2019 federal income taxes has been pushed back from April 15 to July 15.
If you’re struggling financially, you can also reach out to institutions you work with, such as your bank and loan lenders. Many companies are helping their customers through these tough times by suspending interest payments and waiving fees.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
The CARES Act includes a number of provisions that small businesses can take advantage of as well. For starters, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) can help businesses cover payroll costs so they can avoid layoffs for as long as possible. These loans can range up to $10 million in size. The loan amount is calculated as 2.5 times what a business spends in monthly payroll costs, not including salaries in excess of $100,000 per employee.
Small businesses may also take advantage of the aforementioned EIDLs to help weather the economic storm caused by the coronavirus outbreak. EIDLs offer eligible businesses up to $2 million in repayable loans, as well as a quickly available cash grant of $10,000 upon applying. The latter is designed to provide companies with fast liquidity while they wait for their EIDL application to be processed. These loans are administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Other options for businesses include the SBA’s Debt Relief Program, Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program and Microloan program.
The number of coronavirus cases in North Carolina is continuing to rise. As individuals, families and businesses continue to distance from one another, the state and federal governments have provided some measures to help them deal with the financial consequences. While there’s no fix-all during these times, each program is likely to help to a certain degree. Since overall circumstances and relief programs change every day, use this article and other resources provided by the state government to stay up to date.
Money Management Tips During the Coronavirus Crisis
- Connect with a financial advisor to get some help managing your money and investments during these difficult and uncertain times. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with suitable advisors in your area in just five minutes. If you’re ready to talk to a financial advisor, get started now.
- If you’re having some financial troubles, the best thing you can do is create a monthly and weekly budget. To get started, stop by SmartAsset’s free budget calculator.
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