How to apply for State and Federal Financial Assistance – COVID-19

By Don McCann, MA, LMT, LMHC, CSETT

Here is information on how to apply for unemployment or a small business loan. The first will be unemployment. Florida residents need to go to Floridajobs.org or call toll free 1-800-204-2418. For non-Florida residents contact your State Government. The state of Florida is swamped with applications, and it may take repeated attempts to get online or reach them by phone. I recommend that for the online application you set your alarm and go online between 3-5 a.m. so you can get through and make your application online. If trying to get through by phone no one will be there to answer until normal business hours and it’s going to take repeated calls to work your way through the system to talk with someone. The following is public information from the State of Florida and the Tampa Bay Times:

To fill out an application you are going to need the following:

  • Your Social Security #

  • Names, addresses, phone numbers of places of employment in the past 18 months

  • Dates worked and total wages from each employer

  • Gross earnings before taxes during that period

  • Identification – driver’s license, voter registration number, or any type of document that can be used to identify your identity

  • Employer details from your recent pay stub, or Federal Employer ID # (FEIN) found on a W-2 or 1099 tax form

  • Reasons for separations from employer

There are now more flexible guidelines for unemployment, some that apply to you,

  • you leave a job due to risk of exposure

  • the Governor issues an Executive Order #20-72 requesting you close your door as you are classified as a non-essential medical office

  • your place of employment temporarily closes due to COVID-19

There should be no reason that you are not able to apply and receive unemployment benefits from the State of Florida. The good news is based on your previous salary you may have an additional government subsidy of up to $600 a week on top of what the state would normally pay for up to 16 weeks. This dates back to the time that your business closed or your employer let you go. Good luck. We are dealing with an overwhelmed system but with persistence and patience you should be successful in receiving government assistance.

Joel Rayburn, a SET Therapist, has been very helpful in researching out how to apply for a Small Business Loan. I am passing on his information to you. Thank you so much, Joel!

If you are not going to apply for unemployment, then you could apply to the SBA (Small Business Association). You are eligible even if you are an individual contractor and self-employed which covers most massage therapists. If you worked for someone who offered massage as a service they are eligible to apply. If they have let you go they could re-hire you and pay you your salary for up to 8 weeks under a paycheck protection program where they could borrow the money for your salary as part of their loan and have the money paid to you in salary that can be forgiven by filing for forgiveness. This would cover payroll for 8 weeks that falls within Feb 15, 2020 to June 30, 2020. The same applies for self-employed or sole proprietors. You may use money from the loan to pay 8 weeks’ salary that falls within February 15, 2020 to June 30, 2020. The Cares Act provides an opportunity to get up to a $10,000 advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan that can be forgiven if it’s applied to payroll, rent, or utilities.

To apply for an SBA loan and up to a $10,000 advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan go to www.SBA.gov/disastserassistance as soon as possible to fill out a new streamlined application. You can also file for additional assistance and see what you qualify for. The $10,000 advance would then be included in the additional amount for which you qualified.

When applying on the SBA website application don’t forget to indicate that you also want to be considered for the Emergency $10,000 advance while you wait to be contacted about the loan that you qualify for. The part of the loan that might not be forgiven is 3.75% interest up to 30 years depending on your circumstances. Section 1106 of the Care’s Act titled loan forgiveness provides that the government will forgive the mount of the loan under the Act that a recipient can document was used to pay payroll cost, mortgage interest, rent utilities in each case up to 8 weeks following issuance of the loan.

Applicants may apply for a Disaster Loan online and should expect to provide the following paperwork: 

  • Completed SBA loan application (SBA Form 5

 https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/Disaster%20Business%20Loan%20Application.pdf

  • Complete copies of the most recent Federal Income Tax Return.  My understanding is that 2018 will be fine if you have not filed 2019 yet.

We will stay on top of this and let you know of any additions or changes to financial assistance.

Next installment (#6) will be what you can do if you have been exposed to COVID-19

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article including recommended dosages, specific supplements or suggested products is for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. Please contact your healthcare provider before following any of these recommendations.

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