As a response to the economic challenges presented by COVID-19, Rhode island is providing widespread coronavirus support to individuals and small businesses impacted by the pandemic. In fact, the state’s efforts have led to unemployment benefits expansions, utilities expansions, financial grants and more. And if you’re a coronavirus-impacted employee or small business owner, you can also take advantage of coronavirus crisis government help. Below, we take a closer look at the available relief programs at the state and federal level.
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Rhode Island Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
If you lost your job due to COVID-19, Rhode Island now waives the one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance (UI) claims. This means you’ll be able to receive your unemployment benefits immediately. You can apply for benefits here.
Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI)
Similar to unemployment benefits, Rhode Island also waives the seven day waiting period for those filing coronavirus-related TDI or temporary caregivers insurance (TCI) claims. And quarantined individuals no longer need a medical certification to receive benefits, according to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT). Instead, you can temporarily qualify under self-certification that you were under quarantine because of COVID-19.
Learn more about eligibility requirements and program details here.
The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission ordered all electric, gas, water and wastewater utilities to cease service terminations for nonpayment and other collections activities during the COVID-19 emergency. The moratorium’s initial deadline for residents was April 14, 2020, but the Public Utilities Commission extended it to May 8, 2020.
Catholic Social Services of Rhode Island is distributing Stop and Shop gift cards to individuals temporarily unemployed due to coronavirus. The gift cards range from $25 to $50. Learn more here.
Individuals and families can also utilize the Rhode Island Community Food Bank for a complete list of local pantries. You can find a food assistance organization through its food assistance list.
Rhode Island Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
Rhode Island WorkShare Program
The WorkShare Program allows employers to avoid lay-offs by splitting hours among employees. Employees with reduced hours will be eligible for unemployment compensation, and they’ll be able to collect up to 50% of their weekly benefit rate.
COVID-19 Response Fund
Formed by Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island, the COVID-19 Response Fund offered grants to nonprofits leading coronavirus response efforts in Rhode Island communities. Grants between $10,000 and $75,000 are awarded to support nonprofit organizations offering direct assistance to coronavirus-impacted Rhode Islanders, and to provide operating support for nonprofits meeting community needs, according to the Rhode Island Foundation’s website.
Applications for the fund are currently unavailable, but it may receive additional funding. Learn more here.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Individuals
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act targets many areas of relief for individuals and businesses financially impacted by coronavirus. One of the most significant provisions within the coronavirus stimulus package is the stimulus checks. The government provides these checks to individuals, married couples and heads of household within certain adjusted gross income (AGI) levels. For instance, individuals making $75,000 or less receive a maximum rebate of $1,200, while couples making $150,000 or less earn a flat $2,400 (plus $500 per dependent). Heads of household get a maximum of $1,200 if their AGI is $112,500 or less. But each check amount is subject to phaseouts of $5 for every $100 made above the income threshold. This means that individuals won’t receive anything if they make $99,000 or higher. The income cut-offs for couples and heads of household are $198,000 and $136,500.
The CARES Act provides also several other forms of relief, including unemployment benefits, paid coronavirus sick leave and family leave, coronavirus relief for rent and mortgage payments, coronavirus student loan relief programs and a tax deadline extension.
Federal Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses
The coronavirus stimulus package provides multiple options for coronavirus relief for small businesses. Among them is the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program, which initially received $349 billion in funding, ran out of funding, but it received an additional $310 billion more in funding on April 23, 2020. The PPP program offered small businesses 2.5 times its average monthly payroll costs, up to $10 million (excluding salaries of $100,000 or more). The new bill was signed into law recently, so get on this program if you are interested.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Program was also temporarily suspended, but the program provided emergency cash advances of $10,000 and loans up to $2 million for small businesses in states with emergency declarations. The program has received additional funding.
One option for businesses seeking relief right now is the SBA Debt Relief Program. This fund provides six months of relief to those with current SBA 7(a) loans, 504 loans and microloans. The program also offers six months of relief to those with new loans issued before September 27, 2020. Learn more here.
The Bottom Line
Rhode Island offers an array of relief programs for individuals and small businesses adversely affected by COVID-19. Though the state doesn’t provide many relief programs for small businesses, coronavirus-impacted individuals can utilize various state benefits as they recover. And individuals and small businesses may also be eligible for coronavirus relief programs at the federal level. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to the eligibility requirements and program details so that you can get the help you need.
Tips for Managing Finances During the Coronavirus Crisis
- A financial advisor can help you protect your money during the COVID-19 crisis. If you’re not sure where to begin, our free financial advisor matching tool connects you with up to three advisors in your area. You’ll just need to complete a short questionnaire about your financial situation, and the tool matches you with results instantly.
- The CARES Act formed three key enhanced coronavirus unemployment assistance programs for those temporarily unemployed due to coronavirus. These include the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Programs.
- Not sure how much you’ll qualify to receive for your stimulus check? Our coronavirus stimulus check calculator can help.
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