Courtesy of the Economic Development Corporation of San Benito County:
NEW RESOURCE: CA Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program
California just launched a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Sign up for the PUA program today HERE, if you are hurting economically because your business or services are reduced due to the pandemic. Under the PUA you may be able to receive:
- Up to 39 weeks of benefits starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 26, 2020, depending on when the pandemic directly affected you.
- If you exhaust or run out of your regular state-provided unemployment insurance benefits (maximum 26 weeks) you may be eligible for a new 13-week federal extension. File a PUA claim and you may be converted to the federal extension, once it is available.
- You can register for the PUA program online HERE,
- You can call EDD, which has expanded its call-in hours here:
- English 1-800-300-5616
- Spanish 1-800-326-8937
- TTY 1-800-815-9387
- or even by fax, if you access the UI application HERE
Many people have had difficulties in communicating with the EDD. This is not surprising, since the department is responding to a massive increase in demand. Thankfully, EDD just launched a new call center operation to assist customers. You can contact the EDD at 1-833-978-2511 seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., if you need technical help with accessing UI OnlineSM, help with receiving an EDD Customer Account Number, and other general unemployment insurance questions. This new help line will not be able to directly process your claim or provide payment information. And using the UI Online application is still the fastest way to file a claim. If you need help specifically with a claim or payment information, call the EDD at 1-800-300-5616.
In an effort to help provide additional financial help now, the EDD automatically pays an additional $600 on top of your current weekly benefit amount with the extra money coming from the federal government, as part of the federal CARES Act. The good news is that this $600 bump comes without having to fill out more forms, and you do not need to do anything to receive this extra funding. The EDD will automatically add the full $600 to each week of current benefits that are paid every two weeks, as long you are eligible for at least $1 in a regular payment each week. This benefit is significant and comes at a vital time. For someone receiving the most recent average Unemployment Insurance payment of $340 a week, a usual biweekly payment would equal $680. With the extra payment, that biweekly payment would increase to $1,880.
And if you have been receiving benefits, separate retroactive payments will be automatically issued soon to people with active claims (not for any week prior to the week ending April 4, 2020), and the $600 extra payments can continue to those who remain impacted and otherwise eligible for benefits through the week ending July 31, 2020.
Eidl and PPP Update
We want to update you on the latest information regarding the SBA EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) and PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans. As we’ve said during this time, things are changing daily and unfortunately there continues to be ambiguity revolving around both loans.
Due to the first phase of the COVID-19 funding being depleted, portals and the ability to apply for both loans was closed for a week. Both reopened on Monday, April 27th and the SBA will accept applications until funds are again exhausted.
Many businesses here in San Benito County have not received, nor had any communication, as to their loan status. Some businesses have been able to call (800) 659-2955, press #2, and get a customer service rep. If you call, rather than try and speak with them, ask for a Tier 2 Supervisor, someone who can provide a status report on where you are in the EIDL process. Previously, when calling this number there was no information forthcoming. Now asking for Tier 2 Supervisor is the best way to get you information. Make sure you have your loan number available. Also, ask about your “cash advance” as well. It was intended to be in your bank account three weeks after filing the application as some clients are now experiencing.
The SBA has changed the application three times since inception of the CARES Act, so if you did NOT complete the application asking if you’d like the “cash advance” of up to $10,000, you need to complete the new application. If you did respond to the “cash advance” question, you’re in the EIDL queue. The appropriate application loan number starts with a 3.
Some folks submitted the EIDL loan application and never received a number confirming that they applied. We understand that you can get an answer as to where you are in the queue by emailing corey.williams@SBA.gov. Corey is the regional director for the SBA out of their Fresno office. He has indicated he will respond to all email requests for progress on EIDL Loans.
If you need to resubmit, go to either of these links. They take you to different locations, but they both get you there.
Clients who were a part of the first phase are beginning to receive their PPP loans. Second phase applicants are free to apply. There has been some frustration with lack of communication, banks only working with their customers, being lost in the queue, etc. It’s very difficult to speak personally with a bank representative at any bank at this time to obtain information. Many of the “bigger” banks have been unresponsive while community banks are trying very hard to accommodate as many locals as possible. Community banks are being challenged by the overwhelming response to the loan, but remain committed to servicing as many customers as possible.
Smaller lenders are now an integral part of the PPP loan program. The new appropriation sets aside $30 Billion just for community lenders with less than $1 Million in Assets.
Two online entities that have shown quick PPP turnaround recently are Square Capital and Bank Vista. You can visit their websites for additional information. If it has been three weeks and you haven’t heard anything about your application you may want to consider using these options.
Additionally, the following guidance from the Treasury was released recently, as well as other current informational links. Please review to see what specifically addresses your situation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
(April 24 @ 10:00 PM EDT) SBA/Treasury Releases Additional PPP Guidance – How to Calculate Maximum Loan Amounts – by Business Type
(April 24 @ 4:50 PM EDT) SBA releases Procedural Notice on Participation Sales of PPP Loans
(April 24 @ 4:50 PM EDT) SBA/Treasury publishes 4 new FAQ
Housing stipends; principal residence in US; Ag producer, farmer, rancher eligibility (April 24 @ 4:00 PM EDT) SBA will resume accepting PPP loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30 AM EDT. Read SBA’s Press Release