COVID-19 Financial Assistance: What Businesses and Individuals Need to Know

There’s little doubt that the novel coronavirus pandemic will continue to impact the American economy for many months, if not years, to come. As businesses and schools remain closed and residents are urged to stay home as much as possible, it’s understandable that many people are stressed about how they’ll earn a living.

The reality here is that you aren’t alone in this. While bankruptcy lawyers know all too well that poor financial decisions can result in filing these kinds of claims, irresponsible spending isn’t the only reason you might find yourself in a dire situation. Personal bankruptcies, which make up 97% of Chapter 7 filings and 99% of Chapter 13 filings, can occur for all kinds of reasons. Many Americans are just a couple of paychecks away from homelessness, so you might be concerned about what will happen to your home or your family. And if you run your own business, you’re probably spending some sleepless nights worrying about laying off your employees or how you’ll keep your business afloat.

While we don’t yet know how long we’ll have to shelter in place or what the final financial ramifications will be surrounding COVID-19, we can share a few tips that will help you find the assistance you need and make the most of a scary situation.

Research Financial Assistance and Debt Relief Programs

If you’re a small business owner, there may be a number of financial options available to you. For instance, those who are located in Arizona may be able to apply for loans funded by the Small Business Administration. This particular program can provide up to $2 million for eligible businesses that apply. Other states or even individual cities may offer different types of funding for small businesses or other individuals impacted by COVID-19.

The federal government is also providing financial assistance for business owners. The SBA highlights paycheck protection, debt relief, loan advance, and express bridge loan programs as possible options for business owners who are hurting as a result of the pandemic. These programs will offer loan forgiveness and urgent funding access for businesses. The SBA also offers business counseling, which can allow you to explore your options before placing any calls to lenders or bankruptcy attorneys.

Although the paycheck protection program had its funding initially run out, a new round of funding was just approved. It’s a good idea to talk with your business’s financial institution so you’ll be ready to apply once the SBA portal reopens the week of April 27.

Rethink Taxes and Stimulus Checks

The IRS delayed federal tax filing requirements until July 15, which can provide some relief for both business owners and individuals. But if you’re eligible for a tax refund, you’ll need to file your taxes in order to obtain it. You won’t, however, have to pay for your 2019 taxes until the summer.

Your filed tax return can also impact your ability to receive your stimulus check. While it may not sound like much, a payment of up to $1,200 should be sent out to most American taxpayers. If you’ve already been having issues with creditors prior to the pandemic, you may actually want to wait for the paper check to arrive. Requesting a paper check and cashing it at another bank may be the best way to ensure this money isn’t handed over to creditors.

Talk to Debt Elimination Lawyers

It’s a good idea to talk to debt elimination and bankruptcy lawyers to explore what financial options you have. You might not know that 401(k) penalties for early withdrawal of funds have been waived or that your student loan interest has been suspended. These small sources of relief can allow you to hold off on having your bankruptcy lawyer file a claim.

A debt elimination lawyer may be able to help before you get to the point of needing a bankruptcy lawyer. If you’re fighting collection agencies and don’t know where to turn, your debt elimination attorney can ensure your rights are protected and that every avenue of debt repayment is explored. No matter what, you won’t have to navigate this alone. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact me today.

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