COVID BENEFITS

​Watch live talks from our Strategic Partners and Presenters giving vital info on some of the following topics on our presentation page, but read information below if you need further details.

* Corona Virus Stimulus * Unemployment Benefits for Entrepreneurs * Self Employed Assistance Program

Notice: PPP Resumes April 27, 2020

The SBA will resume accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30am EDT.

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

Frequently Asked Questions for Lenders and Borrowers

For affiliation rules applicable for the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.

The Interim Final Rule for Applicable Affiliation Rules for the Paycheck Protection Program as posted in the Federal Register.

Frequently Asked Questions for Faith-Based Organizations Participating in the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Who Can Apply

The following entities affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be eligible:

  • Any small business concern that meets SBA’s size standards (either the industry based sized standard or the alternative size standard)

  • Any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans organization, or Tribal business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act) with the greater of:

    • 500 employees, or

    • That meets the SBA industry size standard if more than 500

  • Any business with a NAICS Code that begins with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs less than 500 per location

  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons

Apply for the Paycheck Protection Program

Overview

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a federal program that was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The program provides support for Americans who are unable to work due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but do not qualify for traditional Unemployment Insurance (UI). 

Through the CARES Act, if you qualify for PUA, you will also be eligible to receive:

  • Up to 39 weeks of PUA benefits.

  • An additional $600/week until 7/31/2020.

The best way to apply is online. DOL has a streamlined application that allows you to apply for either traditional UI or PUA, depending on their eligibility. You do not have to complete a separate application for PUA. 

 

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Eligibility

Eligibility

You should apply if you are unable to work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and any of the following apply to you: 

  • Self-employed;

  • Independent contractor;

  • Work for an app-based company (i.e. “gig worker”);

  • Farmer;

  • Diagnosed with COVID-19 or have COVD-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis;

  • Living with a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;

  • Providing care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19;

  • Primary caregiver for a child unable to attend school or another facility due to COVID-19;

  • Unable to reach place of employment due to an imposed quarantine or were advised by a medical provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;

  • Scheduled to commence new employment but cannot reach the workplace as a direct result of COVID-19;

  • Became a major breadwinner because the head of the household died from COVID-19;

  • Quit a job as a direct result of COVID-19;

  • Place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19;

  • Have insufficient work history and affected by COVID-19; 

  • Otherwise not qualified for regular or extended UI benefits and affected by COVID-19

You will not be eligible for PUA if you can telework, or if you are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits (regardless of meeting a category listed above).

Check your eligibility for PUA:
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NOTE: If you have already applied for PUA: You can check the status of your claim online by logging into your NY.Gov account on the DOL website. If you see it is still pending, no action is required; we have added thousands of DOL representatives who are working seven days a week to process your claim as quickly as possible. If you see it has been denied, fill out the PUA application link that is in your account mailbox; if there is no link in your mailbox, fill out a new PUA application.

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Payment

Payment

If you qualify for PUA, your benefit rate will be based on your recent earnings. You will also receive an additional $600 per week until 7/31/2020.

Estimate your weekly benefit amount with our benefit calculator.

When you apply for PUA, you will be asked if you want to receive your benefits by direct deposit or debit card.

If you apply over the phone, you will automatically receive your benefits via debit card unless you had a previous claim and you received them by direct deposit.

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How To File

How To File

Sign in or create a NY.gov ID account and follow the instructions to file a claim. 

If you have never filed a claim for benefits in New York State, you must create a PIN. This is a four-digit number that you must keep confidential. This PIN will be used to access the system to certify for weekly benefits and update your account. 

Ready? Make sure you have with you:

  • Your Social Security number

  • Your driver license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if you have either one)

  • Your complete mailing address and zip code

  • A phone number where we can reach you from 8 am - 5 pm, Monday –Friday

  • Your Alien Registration card number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen and have a card)

  • Names and addresses of all your employers for the last 18 months, including those in other states

  • Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (FEIN is on your W-2 forms)

  • Your copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you were a federal employee

  • Your most recent separation form (DD 214), for military service

You can file a claim without all of these documents. However, missing information can delay your first payment.

If you cannot print web pages, have a pen and paper to copy information.

If you choose direct deposit of your weekly benefits, you will need your bank routing and checking account numbers.

 

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File

File

The best way to apply is online. DOL has a streamlined application that allows you to apply for either traditional UI or PUA, depending on your eligibility. You do not have to complete a separate application for PUA.

FILE

  • The application will determine which program — UI or PUA — you should be applying for and then prompt you to answer program-specific questions

  • DOL will process your application and contact you if any additional information is needed

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What's Next

What's Next

After you apply for pandemic unemployment assistance, this is what you can expect: 

  • After your claim is filed, we must review and process your application for benefits. This is why you may see your claim status as “pending.” Your first payment will generally be made 2-3 weeks from the time you file your claim.

  • In some cases, additional information must be obtained before payment can be made and your payment may take longer. 

  • Any claim you file will be backdated to the date you became unemployed. If you are eligible, you will be paid for all benefits due.

  • You must claim benefits for each week you are unemployed and seek benefits, EVEN DURING THE PERIOD YOU ARE WAITING TO BE APPROVED. Learn how to certify each week. 

  • You should respond to any questionnaires, messages, or phone calls from us as quickly as possible. Failure to do so will delay your claim or result in the denial or suspension of your benefits. PLEASE NOTE: Like many New Yorkers, DOL representatives are working from home, so your caller ID may show "PRIVATE CALLER.” Anyone calling from DOL will verify their identity by providing: (a) the date you filed your application; & (b) the type of claim. Once you have been verified, a representative may ask for your social security number.

Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP)

Have you ever dreamed of starting your own business? Do you receive Unemployment Insurance benefits? 

With the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you can collect the Unemployment Insurance benefits you need to pay your bills while you work on that dream! 

  • You can work full-time on your new business while collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits 

  • You don't have to look for jobs while you work on your business 

  • Money earned from your business is not deducted from your Unemployment Insurance benefits 

  • You stay on track for success with training and counseling 

  • You get opportunities to build a network of support to launch your business

You must receive a written acceptance into the SEAP before you can start your own business while collecting benefits. 

Who Can Apply

You can apply to Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) if you are: 

  • At least 18 years of age 

  • Eligible to receive at least 13 or more additional weeks of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits 

  • The recipient of an invitation letter from the New York State Department of Labor, or categorized as a dislocated worker (determined via a profile score)

  • New to the SEAP program (not approved for the SEAP in the past)

For SEAP approval, your proposed business must also meet five basic criteria. You must be: 

  • Locating your proposed business in New York State 

  • Willing to work full-time to launch your business 

  • Planning to be an active owner of your business and not a silent partner in a business partnership 

  • A first-time business owner and operator of the proposed type of business. You cannot have previously owned or operated a business of similar nature. 

  • Prepared with a clear business idea

SEAP Online Application Log in to your NY.gov account at www.labor.ny.gov/signin

  

Log in to account

Once logged in, scroll to the Employment Services section and select the Self-Employment Assistance Program link.

Things to consider

You must watch the SEAP orientation videos (below) before you apply to the SEAP. Before you do complete the video orientation, here are some things about the SEAP to consider: 

  • SEAP requires that you have enough time available to complete all necessary forms and training. Therefore, you must be eligible for at least 13 more weeks of Unemployment Insurance benefits to participate in the SEAP at the time that you are accepted into the program. 

  • You must decide exactly what type of business you want to start before you apply to the SEAP. The program does not allow time to explore business ideas -- only to develop an existing idea. 

  • The SEAP requires you to take at least 20 hours of entrepreneurial training. Contact local organizations such as SCORE, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or the Small Business Administration (SBA) to locate entrepreneurial workshops in your area. More information about these organizations will be provided during the SEAP orientation. 

  • You must find and meet with a business counselor of your choice at least twice and submit benchmark forms to the Department of Labor to show the progress of your start-up activities. You can contact local organizations such as SCORE and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to find a business counselor. These organizations provide free, one-on-one counseling to individuals interested in starting a business. You can also use a qualified expert in the type of business you intend to start. The Department of Labor does not provide business counselors. 

  • If you are accepted into the SEAP, you will only be eligible for up to a combined total of 26 weeks of Unemployment Insurance and SEAP benefits during your benefit year. 

  • Skills you already have should match those needed to operate the business type you choose. 

  • The SEAP does not provide start-up funds for your business. 

You are required to complete Parts 1 and 2 of the SEAP video orientation before you apply to the program. When you apply to the SEAP, you must certify that you viewed these videos in their entirety: 

  • Part 1: Learn about the SEAP, the program requirements, and SEAP eligibility.

  • Part 2: Listen to Geri Kavanah, a business counselor from the New York State Small Business Development Center, discuss the realities of opening a business.

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
Find more information here.

Purpose

This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The outbreak first started in China, but the virus continues to spread internationally and in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this interim guidance as additional information becomes available.

The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. (CDC has provided separate guidance for healthcare settings.) This guidance also provides planning considerations for community spread of COVID-19.

To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described below to determine risk of COVID-19 infection. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing. Updates are available on CDC’s web page.

Preparing Workplaces for a COVID-19 Outbreak

Businesses and employers can prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Employers should plan to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of disease transmission in the community and be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most American workers will likely experience low (caution) or medium exposure risk levels at their job or place of employment (see OSHA guidance for employers for more information about job risk classifications).

Businesses are strongly encouraged to coordinate with state and local health officials so timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses. Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies. CDC has guidance for mitigation strategies according to the level of community transmission or impact of COVID-19.

All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in their workplace. This may include activities in one or more of the following areas:

  1. reduce transmission among employees,

  2. maintain healthy business operations, and

  3. maintain a healthy work environment.

Reduce Transmission Among Employees

Actively encourage sick employees to stay home: 

  • Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home.

  • Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.

  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions.

Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work:

  • See OSHA COVID-19 webpage for more information on how to protect workers from potential exposures and guidance for employers, including steps to take for jobs according to exposure risk.

  • Be aware that some employees may be at higher risk for serious illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Consider minimizing face-to-face contact between these employees or assign work tasks that allow them to maintain a distance of six feet from other workers, customers and visitors, or to telework if possible.

Separate sick employees:

  • Employees who appear to have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home.

  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employer should instruct fellow employees about how to proceed based on the CDC Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure.

 

Educate employees about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Employees can take steps to protect themselves at work and at home. Older people and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for complications.

  • Follow the policies and procedures of your employer related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting, and work meetings and travel.

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.

  • Inform your supervisor if you have a sick family member at home with COVID-19. Learn what to do if someone in your house is sick.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Learn more about coughing and sneezing etiquette on the CDC website.

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Dirty surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.

  • Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.

  • Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

Maintain Healthy Business Operations

Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact at the workplace.

Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices.

  • Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.

  • Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member or take care of children due to school and childcare closures. Additional flexibilities might include giving advances on future sick leave and allowing employees to donate sick leave to each other.

  • Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees may want to draft non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies.

  • Employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.

  • Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor’s and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s websites).

  • Connect employees to employee assistance program (EAP) resources (if available) and community resources as needed. Employees may need additional social, behavioral, and other services, for example, to cope with the death of a loved one.

Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products.

  • Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize existing customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).

  • Identify alternate supply chains for critical goods and services. Some good and services may be in higher demand or unavailable.

  • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.

  • Talk with business partners about your response plans. Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.

Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from childcare programs and K-12 schools.

  • Plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace.

  • Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.

  • Prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies.

  • Cross-train employees to perform essential functions so the workplace can operate even if key employees are absent.

 

Consider establishing policies and practices for social distancing. Social distancing should be implemented if recommended by state and local health authorities. Social distancing means avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible (e.g., breakrooms and cafeterias). Strategies that business could use include:

  • Implementing flexible worksites (e.g., telework)

  • Implementing flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts)

  • Increasing physical space between employees at the worksite

  • Increasing physical space between employees and customers (e.g., drive through, partitions)

  • Implementing flexible meeting and travel options (e.g., postpone non-essential meetings or events)

  • Downsizing operations

  • Delivering services remotely (e.g. phone, video, or web)

  • Delivering products through curbside pick-up or delivery

Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plan based on local conditions.

Maintain a healthy work environment

Consider improving the engineering controls using the building ventilation system. This may include some or all of the following activities:

  • Increase ventilation rates.

  • Increase the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.

 

Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene for employees, customers, and worksite visitors: 

  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.

  • Provide soap and water in the workplace. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. If hands are visibly dirty, soap and water should be chosen over hand sanitizer. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained.

  • Place hand sanitizers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.

  • Place posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.

  • Discourage handshaking – encourage the use of other noncontact methods of greeting.

  • Direct employees to visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.

 

Perform routine environmental cleaning and disinfection:

  • Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs.

    • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

    • For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available here. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

  • Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.

  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, other work tools and equipment) can be wiped down by employees before each use. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.

 

Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the facility:

  • If a sick employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations.

Advise employees before traveling to take additional preparations:

  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from countries with travel advisories, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.

  • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.

  • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.

  • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow company policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.

Take care when attending meetings and gatherings:

  • Carefully consider whether travel is necessary.

  • Consider using videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible for work-related meetings and gatherings.

  • Consider canceling, adjusting, or postponing large work-related meetings or gatherings that can only occur in-person.

  • When videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.

Resources for more information:

CDC Guidance

  • COVID-19 Website

  • What You Need to Know About COVID-19

  • What to Do If You Are Sick With COVID-19

  • Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Exposure in Travel-associated or Community Settings

  • Health Alert Network

  • Travelers’ Health Website

  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Small Business International Travel Resource Travel Planner

  • Coronavirus Disease 2019 Recommendations for Ships

  • Coronavirus Disease 2019 Recommendations for Airlines and Airline crew

  • Persons at Higher Risk of Severe Illness

Other Federal Agencies and Partners

Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
Find more information here.

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