IF YOU APPLIED FOR OR HAVE RECEIVED YOUR PPP
The Windham Region Chamber has been working daily with the SBA, SBDC, WBDC and funders to understand the assistance programs available for those affected by the pandemic. This is a review of information and how the PPP works. Some of you are finally getting notices that you are approved, some are approved. Please keep this in mind…..
 
Most of you are hoping that the money you received as a LOAN will be forgiven and will be a GRANT, free money to help you thru this crisis. The goal and purpose of the PPP is not really to help you, the employer, the business owner, with the expenses that you are currently racking up while your business is shutdown or experiencing loss in business. The goal is to keep employees on your payroll (or bring them back on to your payroll) for an 8 week period during this crisis.  What does that mean?
 
1. there are 2 criteria to have the loan forgiven:
               1. You must bring back to work or maintain the same number of employees that you had on February 15. This is full time equivalents, so for example, you can bring back 1 full timer or 2 half timers
               2. You must use at least 75% of the money you got on payroll/employee expenses.
 
2. if you don’t meet the 2 criteria you will not be able to get all of the money forgiven. If you bring back less employees you will not be able to “match” the money you spent with the money you received on a 1:1 basis. You will get some of the loan forgiven but not all. We are not sure of the calculation on this so it is WISE to bring back all of your employees (full time equivalents). The SBA has a sliding scale.
 
3. When you receive you money from the bank, you have the next 8 weeks to spend the money on eligible expenses, which are primarily payroll/employee costs. You don’t get to determine the 8 week period. It starts when the money gets to your bank.
 
4. Yes, as small business owners and entrepreneurs we have all been trained to be efficient and use our resources wisely. So this whole concept goes against our grain. If you receive a PPP and your business is still closed because you are a non-essential business, you have to bring your employees back for this 8 week period and pay them their wages and benefits. 
 
5. The amount of money you got for the loan was 10 weeks of payroll/employee costs based on what you paid your staff in 2019 up until the crisis. You are given the 8 weeks of payroll you will need plus extra that you can spend on any of these: additional payroll (benefits, vacation, health insurance), interest on mortgage, rent, utilities, supplies, normal operating costs. You can NOT use it to expand your business or buy new computers, for example.
 
6. It is wise to prepare your employees, especially if they are laid off, that you will call them back to work when you get the money. They need to make arrangements at home, especially with children home from school. You may also need to negotiate temporary wages in order to get them to come back to work. 
 
7. Some of you are calling with this issue. Your employees do not want to return to work because they are collecting regular unemployment and will get an additional $600 on top of that, which may be more than they make while working for you. This is especially important for part time employees and minimum wage employees because they get $600 per week regardless of what they made or how many hours they worked. They get the payment because they are unemployed. You can offer them additional wages to return to work that may close the gap on what they are receiving for unemployment and what they would normally make. You can offer a week vacation.
 
8. Technically if your employees refuse to return to work you are required to report this to CT’s unemployment department. If they were laid off with a return to work they have not had to prove they are searching for work, but they do have to come back when you call, even if you call them back before the date you gave them when you laid them off. You report them by sending an email with their name, date of birth and social security number to:   dol.meritrating@ct.gov . As you may guess, this will not go over well with your employees so plan their return and negotiate before you get the money in your account. 
 
9. Really important recommendation. Open up a separate bank account and put your PPP funds in that account. It will make showing how you used the money easier at the end of your 8 weeks. We are not sure how the banks are going to require that you prove you spent the money according to the rules. So make sure you save your records.
 
IF YOU ARE FILING FOR UNEMPLOYMENT OR GOING TO FILE—READ THIS!!!
If you are working with anyone filing for unemployment, have filed yourself, have employees who have filed because they are laid off, then you need to understand the unemployment benefits regarding coronavirus.
 
First, regular unemployment in CT is an insurance that employers pay to help their employees if their company closes and they have to lay off people. That is the general concept. If you worked for an employer and got a W2 form, a regular paycheck with taxes taken out, then you can apply for UI through the State of CT here:   NORMAL CT UNEMPLOYMENT
 
Under the CARES Act, new federally funded unemployment benefits were created. They are:
1 . FPUC-federal pandemic unemployment compensation
               This is $600 per week for people already getting normal unemployment
               Coverage staring week ending April 4 thru week ending July 25
               The employer will not be charged for this
               There is no additional applications needed, it will be added automatically
                This will start April 25 with first payment on April 27
               Will be retro to March 29, beginning of program
               After starting your weekly payment of $600 you will receive a lump sum of the retro payments within 2 weeks.
2.  PUA-pandemic unemployment assistance
                Applications will be available April 30 (new portal on unemployment site)
Coverage for people who are not eligible for regular unemployment
               Self-employed, independent contractors, Gig performers, Peace Corp
Those who have exhausted regular unemployment, those lacking sufficient work history
               Up to 39 weeks, from February 2 to December 26, 2020
               Will also receive the FPUC $600 weekly for the weeks of April 4-July 25
3.  PEUC-pandemic emergency unemployment compensation
               This will be available in the future
               Will allow claimants to claim an additional 13 weeks of UI (not the $600)
               Unemployment due to coronavirus
 
ALL PAYMENTS (regular unemployment, FPUC, PUA, PEUC) are TAXABLE INCOME! This means that anyone collecting this money will pay taxes on this money. It is considered income so you must report it to any agency or program that you are enrolled in that is based on income. This can seriously affect benefits such as social security retirement and disability, SNAP, fuel assistance, Husky, the State’s health insurance exchange. This is an additional $2400 per month of income.
 
Employers will not be charged with any of the federally funded payments under the CARES Act but you are charged for any regular unemployment claims, like you normally would. 
               
If someone has applied for regular unemployment and does not want the extra PUA $600 they can go to this DOL webpage and cancel it. If an employee applied and then their company called them back to work, they have to cancel the PUA and return to work. These can be done here:   CANCEL CLAIM
 
For other questions and answers you should go to the DOL website here:   UNEMPLOYMENT QUESTIONS
 
Able to work? There has been confusion on this point. You must be physically and mentally able to work full time and be ready to return to work in order to qualify for ANY of these unemployment benefits. So “if you are unable to work because a family member is ill, you are most likely ineligible for UI until you are able to work.” All cases like these are determined on a case-by-case basis. You may apply and a determination will be made concerning your eligibility. 
 
What the Governor waived was the requirement to be ACTIVELY SEARCHING FOR WORK if you were laid off because of the pandemic. You must still be ABLE to work full time.
 
You are not eligible for unemployment if you are receiving paid sick leave, paid FMLA or some types of severance pay. 
 
If you work full-time and your employer has reduced your pay, but not your hours, you can file for benefits. However, an individual is only eligible to receive unemployment benefits if the individual is totally or partially unemployed. If you are working full-time, unfortunately, you will not be eligible to receive benefits, even if the employer has reduced your pay. If you left your employment due to a substantial reduction in pay, that could be found to be non-disqualifying as the employer unilaterally and adversely changed your conditions of employment. In either case a decision would be determined after a fact finding process.
 
For other possible scenarios go here:   SPECIFIC SCENARIOS

ARE FUNDS/GRANTS/LOANS CONSIDERED TAXABLE INCOME?
The best advice is to ask this question before you accept any money from any source. You should consult with your accountant or at least call one for advice. We have been asking this question to multiple agencies and professionals. Here is the best information we have, but again, consult your personal accountant because they understand your situation the best.
 
In general…….
Loans are not considered personal income tax or revenue. But if they turn into ‘forgiveable” then they may be considered revenue. Therefore, the EIDL advance that you don’t pay back and any portion of your PPP that is forgivable, may be taxable income.
 
Grants can be either. Again, rule of thumb is that if you receive a grant because of an emergency, as relief, and it is available to everyone in the distressed class, then it is probably not considered taxable income. If you receive a grant for a project or program where you are creating something or doing something for the money, it is probably considered taxable income. Again, we stress that this is a general guideline. You need to consult your accountant. 
 
So, if you are a struggling actor that gets a grant to “help struggling actors out of work because of the covid” then you may don’t have to pay income tax on it.  But if the grant was to “act out the hardships farmers are experiencing because of the covid”, you probably have to pay income tax on it. Also, consider that for the week that you are working on the film, you are employed and you cannot collect unemployment for that period.
 
The point of this illustration is make everyone think of all aspects of funds you may apply for. Some of you are collecting unemployment, some have strict income restrictions for programs you are eligible for. Make sure you check with all of them to be sure you are making the best decisions for you personally and for your business. 

FRONTLINE WORKERS CHILD CARE SUBSIDY
CTCARES for Frontline Workers Child Care Subsidy Program
If you’re struggling to find and pay for child care during COVID-19 — and you’re a frontline worker, like a health care, child care, or grocery worker — this short-term program can help. It offers payments directly to child care providers, so your child gets the care they need and you’re able to work. The Office of Early Childhood (OEC) has a $10 million fund to help frontline workers pay for licensed child care at a child care center, family child care home, or group child care home. And if you need care outside of the provider settings mentioned above, we can still help. We’ll pay the same funding to an adult to care for your child while you’re working. Note that this adult needs to be age 20 or older and can’t be the child’s parent.
This is a short-term program — we’re accepting applications from Monday, April 27 through Friday, May 22, 2020.
The funding depends on the number of children you have who need care and the number of hours the frontline worker in your family needs to work.
If you work  21 or more hours each week :
  • For one child, $200 each week for up to 6 weeks
  • For 2 or more children, up to a maximum of $500 per family each week for up to 6 weeks
If you work  8 to 20 hours each week :
  • For one child, $100 each week for up to 6 weeks
  • For 2 or more children, up to a maximum of $250 per family each week for up to 6 weeks
OEC will pay the subsidy directly to the child care provider. You should expect to pay a co-pay as well, since child care costs are often higher than the subsidy. Note that there are some requirements. You can’t receive this funding if you’re already in the Care 4 Kids program. There’s also a family income limit of up to 85% of state median income to qualify. For example, if you’re in a family of 4, your income would need to be less than $99,000 a year to qualify. You can get more information about income limits when you apply.

SAFETY NET FUNDS FOR PEOPLE IN NEED
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