Our lives have been turned upside down.
We have never seen such a time. Not just our nation, but our world, looks much different than it did just one month ago.
Do not lose heart or grow weary. We are fortunate to be citizens of the greatest nation on earth, The United States of America. Our economy was the greatest it’s ever been and Americans are rising to the challenges before us. We will be back. We will not be defeated by this invisible enemy. We are all in this together and together we will overcome this virus and be as strong as we were.
Here are some great links with valuable information to keep you informed:
Maryland’s state COVID-19 tracking website is, perhaps, the best in the nation. It is updated twice a day and gives you this information and much more.
Johns Hopkins has the leading website to track the virus globally, and is updated frequently throughout the day. Click here or the image below to view.
You will notice that China’s numbers must be false and underreported. It is an undisputed fact that the COVID-19 virus started in Wuhan, China in November or December of 2019. Wuhan is a city of 11 million people. China is a nation of almost 1.4 billion people. The United States has a population of 327 million. We could not possibly have more cases than China. Bloomberg News and other mainstream media sources are now reporting China’s falsification of their COVID-19 health information.
More sites for everyone:
To report safety concerns about hospitals and other healthcare facilities, contact the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality
If you are one of the many people who have been laid off or lost a job, contact the Maryland Department of Labor Unemployment Questions
Updated Process for Filing A Regular Claim
To provide our claimants with an efficient and hassle-free filing process, we are encouraging our claimants to file according to a new system. To file an initial regular unemployment claim online or through our call centers, please file your claim according to your last name as detailed below:
If your last name starts with A – F, file your claim on Monday.
If your last name starts with G – N, file your claim on Tuesday.
If your last name starts with O – Z, file your claim on Wednesday.
Claim filing is open to all last names by phone on Thursday and Friday and online Thursday through Sunday.
Filing later in the week will not delay your payments or affect the date of your claim.
We strongly encourage you to utilize our online NetClaims application to file your claim. This online application is available 24/7, but we are strongly encouraging Marylanders to file during non-peak hours, like early in the morning and late in the evening (8:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.), for faster processing speeds.
Additionally, the Federal Government passed the CARES Act last week. Following is information on the unemployment benefits in CARES:
Unemployment Benefit Improvements (Sects. 2102, 2104, 2107)
This section creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020 to provide payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.
The bill provides an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months.
The bill also provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment benefits are no longer available.
Recovery Rebates for Individuals (Sect. 2201)
Similar to rebates enacted in 2001 and 2008, the Treasury Secretary has authority to establish a regulatory scheme to make advance payments of these rebates “as rapidly as possible:”
- Maximum grant of $1,200 ($2,400 joint) per taxpayer, limited to net income tax liability plus grant of $500 per child;
- No phase-in or other limitation for low-income taxpayers (such limitation from the original version of the policy has been removed);
- Cash grant tax rebate is treated as a fully refundable tax credit, therefore available to taxpayers with net negative income tax liability;
- Phases out by 5% of the excess of AGI over $75,000 ($150,000 joint), fully phased out at $99,000 ($198,000 joint) and Secretary may apply 2018 amounts to determine the phase-out;
- Rebate denied to nonresident aliens, dependents, and estates or trusts;
- Rebate is available for residents of U.S. territories and possessions.
Unfortunately, like many states, Maryland’s IT system is currently NOT set-up to process these new CARES Act programs immediately. Our team is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Labor to create new IT systems, modify our current technical systems, train staff, and conduct tests before administering the new programs created by the CARES Act. This will take time, but please note that you WILL receive these new benefits back to the earliest date of your eligibility.
Please visit our website to sign up to receive updates when this expanded benefit will be available.
Small Business Information
So many of my family and friends are small business owners. The state and federal government are working hard to help you make it through this unprecedented time.
Department of Commerce: For the most up-to-date information pertaining to the business community and COVID-19, visit this website.
If you have specific questions pertaining to the business community and COVID-19, email email@example.com. Please do not send multiple emails about the same thing.
Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund Programs for Businesses:
Maryland has authorized $130 million in loan and grant funding for small businesses and manufacturers that have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This emergency assistance provides interim relief and proceeds that can be used to pay cash operating expenses including payroll, suppliers, rent, fixed debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs. For more information, click here.
Our UI Division also has a Work Sharing Program that is designed to help employers retain employees by reducing hours and supplementing those wages with UI benefits. You can access information on this program with the link below.
FEDERAL CARES ACT:
The federal CARES Act greatly expands the SBA Loan program for businesses. The loans essentially become grants for those businesses that retain their staff. Please see details regarding this program on our main Coronavirus webpage, link below.
THIS IS A FIRST COME FIRST SERVE PROGRAM. When they run out of money it may not be replenished.
One of the best resources I’ve seen on CARES and other programs is from the NFIB, National Federation of Independent Business. This organization is outstanding.
For COVID-19 related small business webinars on the Cares Act, information about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), and much more, go to their webpage.
It includes a side-by-side graphic detailing the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). There are also links to the applications.
Important to note is that small business owners are eligible for a grant up to $10,000 through the SBA’s EIDL program NOW. This money will be disbursed within 3 days of applying. Applicants for the PPP loan may begin to apply on Friday, April 3.
U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance:
Maryland has been designated as a Coronavirus disaster zone by the U.S. Small Business Association (USSBA), which opens federal disaster loan assistance to Maryland small businesses. To apply and find more information, click here.
Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund:
This COVID-19 Emergency Relief $75M Loan Fund offers working capital to assist Maryland for-profit small businesses with disrupted operations due to COVID-19. Loan assistance is intended to provide interim relief complementing actions with its bank, business interruption insurance, and financial partners:
Loans of up to $50,000 (not to exceed three months of cash operating expenses) open to Maryland businesses impacted by COVID-19 with fewer than 50 employees.
0% interest for the first 12 months, and 2% interest for the remaining 36 months.
Deferral of any payments for the first 12 months, and straight amortization beginning in the 13th month through the 36th month.
The business or nonprofit must demonstrate financial stress or disrupted operations.
To find more information and apply, click here.
Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund:
Maryland is also offering working capital to assist Maryland small businesses and nonprofits with disrupted operations due to COVID-19.
Grants up to $10,000 not to exceed 3 months of cash operating expenses for Maryland businesses and nonprofits with 50 or fewer employees.
Business or nonprofit is expected to seek longer term funding through its bank, SBA, or other source.
To find more information and apply, click here.
Finally, I hope you will join me in staying home and staying safe. Practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. Pray for the family and friends of those suffering with the virus.
If you have any other questions about COVID-19, the FAQs are available here.
Stay home and contact your health care provider if you are sick, and remember to diligently wash your hands. Please be sure to follow me on my social media using the links below for the most up-to-date information.