(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/30/20) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today issued a community advisory on the most recent federally adopted COVID-19 relief law, which includes direct payments, supplemental unemployment insurance, student loan forbearance, renewal and revision of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and more.
On December 27, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, the annual federal government funding bill that includes a new round of direct COVID-19 relief payments and related programs.
“While the federal government’s COVID-19 relief bill is far from perfect – providing less indirect payments than the first round of relief earlier this year – it’s important for the American Muslim community to know what resources are available to them during these trying times and to make use of them,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw.
[NOTE: CAIR advises Muslim business owners and nonprofit organizations to consult with their trusted Islamic religious scholars in regard to the permissibility of accepting those small business loans which may require interest payments.]
Direct COVID-19 Relief Payments
The new law provides a second round of direct stimulus payments to certain qualifying individuals and families. People with an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000, will receive a one-time payment of $600.
Eligible individuals filing a joint return who earn up to $150,000, will receive a one-time payment of $1,200. Heads of households earning up to $112,500 will also receive a $600 payment.
For every $100 a person earns over the income threshold, payments will be reduced by $5. Therefore, a person who earns $80,000, would receive a payment of $350.
A single person earning over $87,000 will not qualify for the stimulus program, nor will individuals be filing a joint return earning over $174,000
However, there will be additional payments of $600 for every claimed child dependent age 17 and under, and these payments are not tied to income.
CAIR notes, the second round of stimulus payments will this time be distributed to “mixed-status” immigrant families or families where a U.S. citizen is married to immigrants without a Green Card.
Extra $300 Weekly in Unemployment Insurance
The new law will push eligibility for jobless benefits to March 14, an additional 11 weeks, which is a relief for the 12 million Americans who saw their last unemployment benefit check issued at the end of December.
The law provides for an extra $300 weekly in supplemental unemployment payments in addition to underlying unemployment payments. Previously, the federal program had provided $600 in weekly supplemental payments.
CAIR notes that the rollout of these additional payments will not be evenly distributed across all 50 states due to the speed at which each state is able to adopt the new program.
Student Loan Forbearance
The new law will also extend the current deferment of federal student loan payments until April 1, 2021. Borrows will not be required to make payments on both principal and interest.
Paycheck Protection Program
Title III of the act, called the “Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits and Venues Act,” also updates and revises PPP program.
Administered by the Small Business Administration, the second round of PPP is designed to assist millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. This program is available for small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, including houses of worship, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, if they meet program size standards.
Popularly being referred to as “PPP second draw,” the program has been modified so that only companies with 300 or less employees are eligible to apply for upward of a $2 million loan from SBA participating lenders – covering a payroll period between eight to 24 weeks. PPP loans are capped at 2 million dollars.
CAIR notes that the law puts aside $15 billion for PPP loans (initial and second draw) issued by community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository intuitions (MDIs).
All PPP loan borrowers submitting their application must be able to certify that “[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant,” including a 25 percent drop in revenues from the 4th quarter of 2019 to the same period this year.
The loan is not only available to first time qualified PPP borrowers but those that previously received the PPP loan.
While the Small Business Administration’s PPP website has not been updated to reflect the second round of available loans, CAIR expects the website to be updated soon and in the meantime recommends potential applicants to check with their lending institution to see if it is participating in the program and whether they qualify for the loan.
With regards to PPP loan forgiveness, if you maintain your workforce, SBA may forgive a portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover payroll and mortgage, rent, and utility payments, and other certain costs. The 60:40 ratio for cost allocation between payroll and nonpayroll costs will continue to apply to receive full loan forgiveness. Check with your lender and the SBA for more details.
For more information or to see if you qualify, go to: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
Business owners and nonprofits, with some exceptions, are eligible to apply to the SBA for another round of Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance of up to $10,000. The EIDL program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.
Congress has renewed the program providing $20 billion in new funding. Under the new law, business and nonprofits that previously applied for the loan but were denied or received less than $10,000 under the first round of the program are encouraged to reapply.
The new legislations also does away with the “double-dipping” rule that deducts any EIDL loan advances from any loan forgiveness revied under the separate PPP program.
For more information or to see if you qualify, go to: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/