A key piece of the federal government’s stimulus efforts to help small businesses and their employees has run out of money, shutting out thousands of potential borrowers who were seeking aid amidst the coronavirus-driven economic plunge. The U.S. Small Business Administration said Thursday that the Paycheck Protection Program wouldn’t be accepting any more applications for the $349 billion program. The agency reported approving more than 1.6 million Paycheck Protection Program loan applications totaling more than $339 billion from more than 4,900 lending institutions. While that money has been approved, most borrowers are still waiting for those loans to be funded and for money to show up in their accounts. The program, established by the CARES Act, is implemented by the Small Business Administration with support from the Department of the Treasury. This program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs. Story from WINKNews.com.
Many call those first responders and health care workers on the front lines heroes. Now, they could get a bonus of up to $25,000 for their work. The proposed “Hero Fund” plan, making its way to Congress, would be for healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store workers, bus drivers, postal workers and airport workers—all groups of people who are getting the coronavirus and sometimes dying because of their everyday duties. These essential employees could get up to $25,000 in hazard pay, if the plan is approved. Story reported by WINK News
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent out the first wave of economic stimulus checks to Americans on Saturday, the agency said. Deposits will continue this week, starting with people who have filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019 and authorized direct deposit. Others—including people who haven’t filed returns or authorized direct deposits—will probably have to wait weeks or months before seeing their money. The distributions are part of the $2.2 trillion economic relief package passed by Congress in March. Under the economic relief package because of the coronavirus pandemic, individuals are due up to $1,200 and couples will receive up to $2,400—plus $500 per child. Payments start phasing out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000. Story reported by WINK News
Lee County businesses seeking information about recovery assistance can access a newly launched Business Assistance Portal at leegov.com/covid-19/business
or by calling the Business Assistance Hotline at (239) 533-2273 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The Business Assistance Portal is an online tool meant to provide information to businesses and not-for-profit organizations. The portal and hotline are designed to help people understand how the different programs align to help various aspects of a business’ situation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to address specific business-related questions, such as how to apply for a Florida Small Business Bridge Loan or a Small Business Administration loan. The portal has help on obtaining information on the federal stimulus package, which is commonly called the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. Help also is available on how to direct employees to unemployment benefits.