The State of New York — especially New York City — is one of the epicenters for the COVID-19 epidemic in the U.S. More than 1,000 people have died of the virus in the Empire State, and infections are reaching such a rate that New York City has built a makeshift hospital in Central Park. Residents of the state continue to be advised to practice social distancing, and non-essential businesses are shut down. There are plenty of programs out there, though, that can help both individuals and businesses who have been negatively impacted by the crisis and need a bit of help to get through. If you are worried about protecting your finances through the crisis and the recession, consider working with a financial advisor.
New York Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
New York State has a number of relief programs in place that go beyond the federal measures outlined in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide for those in need amid the coronavirus recession. These initiatives help out New Yorkers as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a 90-day freeze for mortgage payments if the property owner is dealing with financial hardship as a result of the crisis, along with a 90-day freeze on foreclosures. If you can’t make your mortgage payment, you won’t be penalized for 90 days. Though many have also pushed for a rent freeze — which would especially help those in New York City, which has been hit hard by COVID-19 and has a large number of people renting their homes — this has not yet materialized.
Like most municipalities, New York City shut down schools in March to slow the spread of the pandemic. In a metropolis like New York City, that has wide-ranging implications, including the fact that for some children who live in low-income communities, school food may be the only nutritious and substantial meals they are able to get all day. To counteract this, grab-and-go meals — up to three a day — are being distributed in front of school buildings.
The federal CARES Act also has $5 billion earmarked for the New York State government. There hasn’t been any announcement yet as to what that will fund, but it must go directly to COVID-19 relief.
New York Coronavirus Relief for Businesses
The coronavirus pandemic has also severely impacted small businesses, especially restaurants, bars and other service establishments that have had to close or convert to takeaway due to the crisis. While the federal programs described above should help, there are also several programs in New York, especially for businesses in the five boroughs of New York City, that will help businesses stay afloat. First, there are two programs in New York City for businesses that have had a downturn because of the pandemic.
New York City Employee Retention Grant Program
The first is the New York City Employee Retention Grant Program. This is for businesses in the five boroughs with between one and four employees who can show that the pandemic has caused a loss of at least 25% in revenue. To qualify, the business must have been in operation for at a least six months. This program offers grants covering 40% of a company’s payroll, capped at $27,000. Apply here.
Applications to this program will stop on April 3. You’ll need financial documents showing your revenue for two months during 2020 and for the same two months during 2019 to prove COVID-19 has dropped your revenue by at least 25%. You’ll also need full financial documents for 2019.
New York City Small Business Continuity Loan Fund
The second New York City program is the New York City Small Business Continuity Loan Fund. This is for businesses in the city who have lost at least 25% of their revenue and have fewer than 100 employees. It offers zero interest loans for up to $75,000. Apply here.
You’ll need the same documents required for the above grant program — documents showing revenue for two months in 2020 and for the same two months in 2019 to show revenue loss, plus full statements for 2019.
Private Sector Small Business Relief in New York
Outside of official government programs, there are other places providing help to small businesses. If you run a non-profit, you may be eligible for a loan from the New York Community Trust. The James Beard Foundation is providing help to small independent restaurants impacted by the crisis. Non-profit organization Southern Smoke is helping both restaurants and their employees.
Federal Programs for Individuals
There are federal programs that can help both individuals and businesses. For individuals, the recently passed CARES Act includes a one-time direct payment of cash to individuals. The maximum payment is $1,200 for an individual and $2,400 for a married couple filing taxes jointly, plus an additional $500 for children. This program is means-tested, meaning that those who had higher income in the previous year get less. The cutoff for the maximum payment is $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples. The maximum income you can have had to get any check is $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for married couples. Use our coronavirus stimulus check calculator to see how much money you can expect to receive.
If you lose your job, there are provisions in the CARES Act that allow you to receive enhanced unemployment benefits. First, it allows unemployed workers who lost their job because of the pandemic to claim unemployment for up to 39 weeks — 13 weeks longer than in most states. The federal government is also providing an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits through the end of July 2020. Workers can also use paid sick leave for coronavirus.
Federal Programs for Businesses
The federal government also has coronavirus relief for small businesses available. The most prominent of these is the Paycheck Protection Program, which is designed to help businesses with less than 500 employees meet payroll during the pandemic. These loans are available for up to $10 million or 2.5 times your company’s monthly payroll (minus salaries of $100,000 or more), whichever is less. These loans are guaranteed at 100% by the SBA. The loans are also forgiveable, so long as full-time headcount and payroll stay the same as they averaged between February 15, 2018 and June 30, 2019 (changed to January 1, 2020 and February 15, 2020 if the business was founded this year. You can apply for this program through a local lender. The money originally set aside for this program was used up quickly, but another $310 million has been made available.
There are also federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans, available for up to $2 million. These loans, administered by the SBA, are available in any area where an economic disaster has been declared and carry an interest rate of 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for non-profits, with a term of up to 30 years. Apply here.
Automatic loan relief is being rolled out for those with existing SBA loans. The SBA will cover principal, interest and fees for six months. Check with your lender to see that you qualify.
An express bridge loan of up to $25,000 can keep you in business while you wait for an EIDL to come through. The money from the EIDL is then used to pay back the bridge loan. Apply with a local lender.
Finally, existing programs like 7(a) loan program, the express loan program, 504 loans, Community Advantage Loans and microloans are still available.
The Bottom Line
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted life all over the world, but New York is one of the places in the United States currently most affected by the crisis. Though life may be difficult for many New Yorkers are the moment, there are a variety of programs available in the state to help both small businesses and individuals who are struggling as a result of the crisis. Federal programs are helping small businesses get fully-guaranteed loans, forgivable in many cases, and most Americans can expect a stimulus check. New York City also has programs available, and independent organizations are helping out as well.
Tips For Financial Management During the COVID-19 Crisis
- Worried about protecting your finances? Find a financial advisor to help. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- If your income has changed as a result of the pandemic, the taxes you owe are likely to change too. Use SmartAsset’s income tax calculator to see what you may end up owing.
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