Wait extended for expanded unemployment benefits, loans
Those waiting to file an unemployment claim under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, will have a little longer to wait.

State unemployment systems weren't designed to handle the types of claims now allowed under the Coronavirus Assistance, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES Act), which expands unemployment to cover those who are self-employed, do contract work or are otherwise ineligible for traditional benefits. The state has several tasks: set new unemployment policies within the CARES Act guidelines (there is some flexibility for states to make their own determinations on coverage and payment protocols), update the online application system and train employees on the new system.

There's been no indication from state officials when they expect the application to be available.

Program status updates:

Makes many previously ineligible residents eligible for unemployment such as self-employed and gig workers or those who have exhausted their benefits.

Pending state guidance

$ IN THE BANK: Could be as soon as within two weeks of filing

Increases unemployment benefits by $600 per week. Applies to period from March 29 to July 31. Payments will be backdated to March 29 3 for new claims.

Pending state guidance

$ IN THE BANK: Could be as soon as within two weeks of filing

PPP provides forgivable loans for 2.5 times a business's average monthly payroll. If employer maintains its workforce at levels similar to the same period last year, money spent on eight weeks of payroll and other allowed expenses are forgiven.

Applications available now through local lenders . LENDER LIST

$ IN THE BANK: There is no indication of when businesses will receive a check.

Sole-proprietors and non-profit organizations will be eligible for loans for 2.5 times average monthly payroll. If employer maintains its workforce, amounts spent on eight weeks of payroll and some other allowed expenses are forgiven.

Applications available April 10 through local lenders. LENDER LIST

$ IN THE BANK: There is no indication of when businesses will receive a check.

A loan/grant combination for an amount determined by the SBA. Emergency grants are calculated by multiplying $1,000 by number of employees up to $10,000. Any loan amount the SBA determines a business is eligible for will be for a 30-year term, 3.75% interest rate.

Applications available now online HERE .

$ IN THE BANK : Disbursement of emergency funds (grant portion) is expected to begin this week. Remainder in 3-5 weeks.

$1,200 for each individual (income under $75,000) decreasing for incomes up to $99,000. Allocation includes $500 for each child 16 and under. Stimulus checks will not affect 2020 tax refunds and WILL NOT need to be paid back.

No application.

$ IN THE BANK: First wave on track to be paid week of April 13 for those with direct deposit. Paper checks should follow starting April 24, rolled out starting with the lowest-income receiving their checks first.
Employee Retention Tax Credit, an alternative to PPP loan
NOTE: Make sure to weigh your options. Payment Protection Program recipients ARE NOT eligible for employee retention tax credits.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act created an employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed or experiencing significant revenue losses as result of COVID-19.
Businesses and non-profits that have had their operations:
  • Fully or partially suspended as a result of orders from a governmental order due to COVID-19.
  • Decrease gross receipts by more than 50% in a quarter compared to the same quarter in 2019.

Funds are allocated as a 50% tax credit for the first $10,000 of compensation, including benefits, for each eligible employee.

The credit applies to wages paid after March 12 and before Jan. 1, 2021. Employers will be refunded if the amount of the credit is more than certain federal employment taxes the employer owes.

Money now: Employers can fund qualified wages by accessing federal employment taxes, including withheld taxes, that are required to be deposited with the IRS or by requesting an advance of credit from the IRS.

Self-employed individuals are not eligible for this credit.
Which is better for me? Tax credit or the Payroll Protection Program

PPP: Loans may be a better option for businesses who have immediate payroll or cash flow needs and could maintain services despite COVID restrictions. The Program's goal is to get employees back on payroll, with the expectation that businesses will be able to support those salaries after eight weeks of government funding.
The simplified example uses a business with seven employees, paid at $18 an hour and open June 1 through the end of the year.

Average monthly payroll x 250% = Loan amount
(Sample business eligible for $54,600 in potentially forgivable loans)

Employee Retention Tax Credit: The credit may benefit businesses that are currently able to fund salaries, but would like to access funds that are unrestricted. This program is ideal for businesses who are unable to get a PPP loan or want a less paperwork intensive process. Under the PPP program, a business gets a grant for payroll and rent that must be spent on payroll and rent. The tax credit, while less, gives a business dollars that can be spent in any way.
To calculate, take an employee's average monthly wage (AMW) multiplied by the number of months paid between March 12 and Dec. 31. If the total is less than $10,000, divide by 50%. If it is more, the flat tax credit equals $5,000. Do this for each employee. The resulting combined sum equals the tax credit.

AMW x months = X
X = < $10,000 / 50% OR X > $10,000 = $5,000
(Sample business eligible for $35,000 in tax credits)

State extends stay at home, pushes for insurance changes
Insurance carriers asked to expand employee eligibility
Massive layoffs threaten to drastically reduce the number Colorado residents with employer-provided health-care coverage. In an effort to reduce the number of furloughed employees who lose their health insurance, the state has asked insurance carriers to provide flexibility in employee eligibility requirements hoping that businesses will be able to maintain employee coverage despite layoffs or reductions in hours. The guidance also asks for a grace period for premium payments.

Colorado expands orders aimed at preventing COVID-19 spread
Colorado's Stay at Home order has been extended to April 26 and the federal order sets April 30 as the end of non-essential business closures and social distancing measures. The situation is fluid, so those dates could be extended if the spread of coronavirus does not slow as expected.
An added recommendation from Gov. Jared Polis is that all residents stay at home as much as possible and that people wear face masks when they do leave home.

More than 46,000 unemployment claims filed between March 29 & April 4
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) announced there were 46,065 initial unemployment claims filed the week ending April 4. Over the past three weeks 127,393 initial claims have been filed. The initial claims numbers are those weekly claims that are reported to the U.S. Department of Labor every week for the week prior and do not reflect all applications filed for unemployment.
Upcoming options for free, online training
Colorado Workforce Centers available for support
Eagle and Lake County

Summit County

Colorado Department
of Labor & Employment
Mark Hoblitzell
Regional Business Services Coordinator
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