Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been understandable concern and uncertainty. Those on the frontlines-health care professionals, emergency responders, retail workers, public transit workers, and many others-have worked day and night to help ensure our safety and well-being, and to try to provide a degree of normalcy in our daily lives. While these times are challenging, we will get through this together.
I've set up this page to provide useful resources and information to help you, your family, your neighbors, and the small businesses that sustain communities all across Pennsylvania. This page will be updated regularly. While my offices are all currently operating remotely, we stand ready to help as best we can. if you have a constituent casework question regarding the CARES Act or any of the legislation passed to combat COVID-19, please email Covid19Response@toomey.senate.gov. All other comments should be submitted through our traditional web portal here.
ADVICE ON STAYING HEALTHY AND SAFE
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): CDC information is available here.
- PA Department of Health (DOH): DOH information is available here.
- A map of testing locations across PA is available here.
- #Masks4All: CDC and PA DOH guidance encourages individuals who must leave their homes to wear a cloth mask. Please note: N95 and surgical masks should be saved for frontline health care workers. A useful video on how to make your own mask is available here.
ASSISTANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES
- Cash Payments: The federal government will begin making one-time cash payments to eligible individuals and families the week of April 13, 2020. The payments will be up to $1,200 per individual, up to $2,400 per married couple, and $500 per minor child. More information, including eligibility requirements, is available from the IRS here and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee here.
- If you don't normally file a tax return, use the "Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here" tool, which is available here, to provide simple information so you can get your payment. A detailed explanation of who should use this tool is available here.
- If you normally file a tax return, use the "Get My Payment" tool, which is available here, to check on the status of your payment and add or update your bank account information to speed up your receipt of your payment.
- Unemployment Compensation: Workers who have been laid off, furloughed, or had their hours reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers, may be eligible to receive unemployment compensation through the PA Office of Unemployment Compensation. Congress has given the states increased funding and authority to provide expanded unemployment compensation to such workers, including an extra $600 in compensation per week from April 4 through July 25, 2020. More information is available from the PA Office of Unemployment Compensation here and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee here.
- Unemployment compensation claims can be filed with the PA Office of Unemployment Compensation here, unless you are a self-employed worker, independent contractor, or gig worker.
- Self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers should instead file their claims, which are for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), with the PA Office of Unemployment Compensation here. According to Governor Wolf's office, eligible PUA claimants will receive backdated payments to January 27, 2020, or the first week they were unable to work due to COVID-19, whichever of the two dates is later.
- Paid Sick and Emergency Family Leave: Workers who are unable to work for certain reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to receive some paid sick leave and/or paid emergency family leave if they work for a business with less than 500 employees or the government. More information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor here and here.
- Federal Income Taxes: The IRS has extended the deadline to file and pay federal income taxes to July 15, 2020. More information is available from the IRS here.
- Temporary Relief for Federal Student Loan Borrowers: The U.S. Secretary of Education is required to defer student loan payments, principal, and interest for 6 months, through September 30, 2020, without penalty to the borrower for all federally owned student loans. This provides relief for over 95 percent of student loan borrowers. More information is available from the Department of Education here.
ASSISTANCE FOR BUSINESSES
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Information and Assistance: The SBA has an Eastern PA District Office in King of Prussia and a Western PA District Office in Pittsburgh. The Eastern PA District Office's website is available here and it can be contacted by phone at (610) 382-3062 and by email at email@example.com. The Western PA District Office's website is available here and it and it can be contacted by phone at (412) 395-6560 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Eastern PA District Office is hosting daily webinars at 12pm each day Monday through Friday, which you can participate in here. In addition, the PA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is hosting webinars, which you can participate in here.
- SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans: On April 16, the SBA stopped accepting new applications for PPP loans because the PPP is out of funds. Congress provided the SBA with $349 billion to allow private lenders to make PPP loans to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Toomey supports providing the SBA with additional funding so that more small businesses can obtain PPP loans. Small businesses (including independent contractors and self-employed individuals), nonprofit organizations, and certain veterans organizations that have 500 employees or less or that meet the SBA's employee-based size standards are eligible for PPP loans. In addition, small businesses in the restaurant and hotel industries with more than one location are eligible if their individual locations each employ 500 employees or less. PPP loans can be forgiven if businesses retain or rehire workers and use the loans for payroll costs, rent, mortgage interest, and/or utilities. You can find lenders making PPP loans here or by contacting lenders in your area. More information is available from the SBA here, the U.S. Treasury Department here, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here.
- You can find PPP lenders by using the SBA's PPP lender directory here or by contacting lenders in your area.
- Businesses that have questions about already submitted PPP loan applications, should contact the lenders they applied through.
- The SBA's PPP webpage with information and forms is here.
- The U.S. Treasury Department's PPP webpage with forms is here.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's guide to PPP loans is here.
- Lenders who need assistance accessing SBA's E-Tran system to process loan guarantee requests can call SBA's Lender Customer Service Line at (833) 572-0502.
- The SBA's Frequently Asked Questions regarding PPP loans and EIDL Loans for faith-based nonprofit organizations is here.
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): On April 16, the SBA stopped accepting new applications for COVID-19 related EIDL loans and loan advances due to a lack of fundingSeparate from the SBA's PPP loans, certain small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for EIDL loans and loan advances from the SBA. Small businesses (including independent contractors and self-employed individuals), certain nonprofit organizations, and certain veterans organizations that have 500 employees or less or that meet the SBA's employee-based size standards are eligible for EIDL loans and loan advances. EIDL loan advances provide up to $10,000 and do not have to be repaid. You can apply for an EIDL loan and loan advance here. More information is available from the SBA here.
- You can check the status of you EIDL application by contacting the SBA Disaster Assistance Service Center at (800) 659-2955.
- SBA Express Bridge Loans: The SBA's Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses that currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. More information is available from the SBA here.
- SBA Debt Relief for Existing SBA Loans: The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of existing SBA 7(a) loans, 504 loans, and microloans for a period of six months. More information is available from the SBA here.
- Federal Reserve's Main Street Lending Program: In the CARES Act, Congress appropriated over $450 billion to help fund Federal Reserve programs to stabilize the economy, including lending programs to provide relief to businesses. On April 9, the Federal Reserve announced that it is launching a Main Street Lending Program to support lending to eligible small-and-medium sized businesses. This program will complement the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). To be eligible for a Main Street loan, a business may have up to 10,000 employees or up to $2.5 billion in 2019 annual revenues. The business must be created or organized in the U.S. or under the laws of the U.S. with significant operations in and a majority of its employees based in the U.S. Principal and interest payments on Main Street loans, which will have a maturity of 4 years, will be deferred for one year. The lenders eligible to make Main Street loans are U.S. insured depository institutions, U.S. bank holding companies, and U.S. savings and loan holding companies. Lenders may originate new Main Street loans or use Main Street loans to increase the size of existing loans to businesses. Businesses that have taken out PPP loans may also take out Main Street loans. More information about the Main Street Lending Program is available from the Federal Reserve here, here, and here.
- Refundable Federal Tax Credit for Employee Retention: Congress has created a refundable federal tax credit to encourage eligible employers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to keep employees on their payroll. Unlike the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), an employer does not have to have 500 employees or less to be eligible for this tax credit. However, an employer cannot obtain a PPP loan and use this tax credit. It can do one or the other. This credit is a fully refundable tax credit for an eligible employer equal to 50% of the first $10,000 of qualified wages that an employer pays an eligible employee. This credit applies to qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020 and before January 1, 2021. For employers with greater than 100 full-time employees, eligible employees are employees being paid but not providing services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees, all employees are eligible regardless of whether they are providing services. More information is available from the IRS here and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee here.
- Deferral of Federal Payroll Tax Liability: Congress has allowed employers and self-employed individuals to defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security taxes on wages they pay to employees between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Employers generally are responsible for paying a 6.2 percent Social Security tax on employee wages. The employer is required to pay the deferred employment tax over the following two years, with half of the amount required to be paid by the end of 2021 and the other half by the end of 2022. Unlike the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), an employer does not have to have 500 employees or less to be eligible for this deferral of federal payroll tax liability. However, an employer that receives a PPP loan and has that loan forgiven cannot take advantage of this deferral.
- PA's Shared-Work Program: PA's shared-work program is a voluntary program that helps businesses and their employees during business downturns by providing an alternative to layoffs. The program provides a weekly unemployment compensation payment to employees whose hours are reduced. More information is available from the PA Office of Unemployment Compensation here.
- A handout regarding the CARES Act is available here.
- The full bill text is available here.
- A section by section breakdown is available here.
- A summary of the appropriations bill is available here.