Joint Chamber Small Business Resource Call
Featured Question and Answers
Q1: Will there be application for Unemployment Benefits for Sole Proprietors soon?
A1: Sole proprietors will be covered under PUA, and you will need to apply now in order to confirm that you do not qualify for current unemployment benefits. Once the program is updated through ESD, then your application status will be automatically updated to give you the option of applying for PUA. They hope to have the program up and running next week.
Q2: How soon can we see implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program for Independent Contractors?
A2: In order to be determine to be eligible for PUA you have to be determined to not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Apply now to say you have been denied, as soon as system has been updated, it will automatically give you the option to go through PUA. They hope to have the program up and running next week.
Q3: I have heard several times from agents at the Unemployment office that the 680 hour minimum was being lifted for UI, but hasn’t been updated in the system yet. Is it not actually being lifted?
A3: It will be updated once the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program is updated in their system. They expect to have that done next week.
Q4: What if you already requested the employees have been placed on Standby? I currently have requests on my desk from Employment Security to verify that these employees are on Standby. Should I change their status?
A4: certainly reply to that information, ESD is waving the work search for those applications and they will refresh the system which will give them an additional 12 weeks after the May 4th date.
Q5: How does the stand-by rule impact the employee’s benefits? Also, if an employee is on the WA Sharedwork program do they qualify for the PUA – would it be prorated?
A5: It doesn’t impact their amount or weekly benefits. Sharedwork, completely different program, if someone is eligible for shared work they are eligible for unemployment benefits. Until they completely exhaust their shared work benefits they cannot move on to another unemployment benefit.
Q6: Greg Francis, ALSC Architects; when applying for UI, do CARES Act options get applied automatically or does the applicant have to specify it on the application?
A6: You won’t have to specify it on the application. in order to be determine to be eligible for PUA you have to be determined to not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Apply now to say you have been denied, as soon as system has been updated, it will automatically give you the option to go through PUA. They hope to have the program up and running next week.
Q7: We have no employees, my husband works on his own. I was told last week by a HR consulting service in Spokane to go ahead and get him in the unemployment system. So we applied for unemployment but were denied. Have we missed up our account? When can we apply for unemployment benefits for self employed?
A7: In order to be determine to be eligible for PUA you have to be determined to not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Apply now to say you have been denied, as soon as the system has been updated, it will automatically give you the option to go through PUA. They hope to have the program up and running next week.
Q8: Sole Proprietor: Where can we find PUA applications? Experiencing here 80% loss of revenue here… I have no employees, its just me
A8: in order to be determined eligible for PUA you have to be determined to not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Apply now to say you have been denied, as soon as system has been updated, it will automatically give you the option to go through PUA. They hope to have the program up and running next week.
Q9: If we have received requests to respond to a claim what is the best way to respond. Our fax, email and phone calls are not going through?
A9: ESD is dealing with an unprecedented volume of calls. Keep trying those methods and they will get back to you. They are currently in the process of hiring people to keep up with the demand.
Q10: PUA PEUC FPUC
A10: PUA – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. PEUC – Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. FPUC – Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
Q11: If we pay 1099 contractors monthly for their commissions, does our company qualify for the 10K advance or PPP, to help those contractors as their incomes have taken a huge hit?
A11: Commissions are included in wages paid to employees when you are applying for PPP. The 10K advance is a separate program through EIDL. As long as the company is eligible for EIDL then you will be eligible for the 10K.
Q12: 10 employees in head count or via FTE?
A12: 10 FTE Employees
Q13: How will the grants be prioritized? First come first serve? Or will other criteria be employed?
A13: It is not first come first served. There will be other criteria employed by both the local ADO (GSI) and the Department of Commerce.
Q14: What criteria will be used to decide who gets the WSBEG?
A14: See Alisha Benson’s Answer below.
From Alisha Benson : Hi all! Back at my computer and wanted to provide a little more information on the grant application for Commerce – here is the link- http://startup.choosewashingtonstate.com/covid-grants/. The scoring matrix is based off the actual application. The primary language: County/regional economic development organizations will prioritize applications based on the severity of the impact the business is facing due to COVID-19, including from being forced to close by the government-mandated closures, social distancing measures or illness. Scoring will be targeted to priority sectors most impacted including: tourism, hospitality, retail, restaurant, small manufacturing, health care, tech; # of employees impacted; likelihood of future job growth; likelihood of staying open; and geographic distribution.
Q15: Just clarification on the applications for self-employed/otherwise not eligible persons. The ESD website indicates to not apply if you are not normally eligible until the website is updated for PUA. Does an individual need to have a denial on record before applying under PUA or can they/should they just wait until the 18th when the system is updated?
A15: You will need to apply now in order to confirm that you do not qualify for current unemployment benefits. Once the program is updated through ESD, then your application status will be automatically updated to give you the option of applying for PUA. They hope to have the program up and running next week.
Q16: We own 2 small businesses, construction related. Can each business apply for the WA Grant? Does each business apply separately? Not trying to be greedy. Both businesses are our sole source of income. But if this would produce a “red flag” to the ADO, we wouldn’t want to submit 2 apps. Please advise.
A16: Apply separately for both businesses.
Q17: Can the Grant be applied to small agricultural businesses?
Q18: Will the self employed have a 12 month look back to determine the loan amount just as businesses have been doing?
A18: The same rules will apply to both
Q19: When he says Funded, that does not mean the applicant actually has received the funds. How long until the money gets to the businesses bank account?
A19: SBA hopes to have the money in the businesses hands one week after the application is accepted.
Q20: Jack and Ezra do you anticipate a lot of volume from Self Employed and Contractors on April 10th when those applications are open?
A20: Yes, a high volume of applicants are expected, and money is running out. We are looking to Congress to replenish those funds. Those independent contractors should still apply to mark their spot in line when the money does come.
Q21: The initial funding amount of PPP was to be 360 billion. And I believe that amount was to be increased by an additional 250 billion. My understanding is that over 1.7 trillion was requested. Do you think the Fed will turn down loans or increase the stimulus?
A21: Congress’s goal is to add more money to the fund in order to keep it going. However, there has been a gridlock in Congress in adding the extra funds. This will have to be worked out in order for anything to move forward.
Q22: Farms are specifically excluded from the PPP application. Are there any programs coming forward that will help agricultural entities?
A22: Please see this exert from Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodger’s office pertaining to help for Agricultural businesses in the CARES Act. Q: What does this bill do to provide relief for rural communities and farmers?
The bill includes a number of small business provisions designed to help farmers stay in business and take care of their employees during this difficult time. These include provisions that allow farmers to work with their trusted farm credit institutions for the purposes of securing payroll tax loans, along with 1-year deferrals, 100% guarantees, and low rates.
The bill provides $14 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), the funding mechanism for all major USDA programs. It also appropriates an additional $9.5 billion to specifically respond to losses due to COVID-19.
Additional funding is provided for USDA agencies that are on the front lines of responding to COVID-19, including the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
The bill also includes $100 million to provide financing for rural broadband through the ReConnect program, and $25 million for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program to provide grants for equipment and connectivity improvements. It also includes $200 million for a new telehealth program at the Federal Communications Commission.
Q23: How do I sign up for each of these weekly webinars?
A23: A notice and a link to register will be sent out from each Chamber.
Q24: What is the process for getting unemployment for those that are self-employed?
A24: You apply right now for unemployment knowing that you will most likely get denied. When the new program is up and running, your application status will be updated. According to ESD you should still apply right now
Q25: To Banks: Have any of the EIDL Grants/Loans or PPP Loans been funded? What is the expected timeline for funding?
A25: Yes there are loans that have been funded, and they are trying their best to get the money out as quick as possible. The SBA is saying expect funds within a week.
Q26: How long is it taking to process the SBA loan for the Paycheck Protection Program
A26: The timeline has been extended to a week.
Q27: What assistance is being contemplated for local governments, regional governments, and non-profits?
A27: Help on that front is expected in the coming federal packages.
Q28: How do current loan options affect businesses with part time employees?
A28: Having part time employees does not exclude you for applying for either the EIDL or the PPP loans.
Q29: PPP loan forgiveness: if one of my employees quit, can I hire another to replace her and still get PPV loan forgiven?
A29: Yes, you need the same number of employees not necessarily the same ones if an employee quits for example.
Q30: Per Lenders intro-Will independent contractors be eligible for the PPP?
A30: Yes independent Contractors can apply starting today. Even if the program runs out of money, still apply so that you can get in the queue for when the program gets more money from congress.