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Get the Download on Government Relief

5 insights to help you demystify federal benefits during COVID-19

Maggie Borden

April 08, 2020


Chefs plating photo Eric Vitale
Photo: Eric Vitale

ICYMI, this spring we're hosting daily webinars as part of our Industry Support learning series. The first week touched on insurance plans in the time of coronavirus, sobriety resources, crisis communication through social media, and more. Read on for tips on getting the most from government relief programs from David Candor and James Joseph of the Law Office of Arnold Porter, from COVID-specific resources to established benefits like unemployment and SNAP.

1. There are multiple situations that make you eligible for unemployment:

  • You're a worker who was laid off because a restaurant closed.
  • You're a worker who has COVID-19, has to care for someone else who does, or has to care for a child.
  • You're a worker who has had their hours reduced.

2. But there are also a few caveats that may disqualify you:

  • Green card and visa holders must be authorized to legally work in the state in which you're applying for unemployment.
  • The CARES Act does not apply to non-resident aliens.
  • If an individual is a single member LLC, they can apply for unemployment, but they will be treated as an individual for tax purposes and therefore are not eligible for the business loans/grants under the CARES Act.

3. What are the benefits of the CARES Act?

  • The act covers employers, independent contractors, and the self-employed.
  • It extended insurance benefits from 26 to 39 weeks.
  • It provides access for employees to retirement plan funds, allowing them to take out an early withdrawal of up to $100,000 from an IRA or 401K.
  • Businesses can take out up to $100,000 in loans within the next six months.

4. Methods for applying for benefits vary by state—most encourage online filing, although you can apply by phone or hard copy, as well. Systems are overwhelmed right now, so keep a record of your attempts at contact in case you have trouble getting through immediately.

5. Changes to cash flow could also make you eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Eligibility depends on your current monthly finances, not your employment status or historical income. The benefit amount is based on household size and income, and applicants could receive up to $646/month.

Watch the full webinar for even more insights and suggestions.

Check out what's on-deck for our webinar series.

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