She did not directly mention the Paycheck Protection Program — the largest lending program by far in the agency’s nearly 70-year history — but she acknowledged the turmoil many companies are experiencing.
The economic relief package will issue payments of $600 and distribute a federal unemployment benefit of $300 for at least 10 weeks. Find more about the measure and what’s in it for you. For details on how to get assistance, check out our Hub for Help.
- Will I receive another stimulus payment? Individual adults with adjusted gross income on their 2019 tax returns of up to $75,000 a year will receive a $600 payment, and a couple (or someone whose spouse died in 2020) earning up to $150,000 a year will get twice that amount. There is also a $600 payment for each child for families who meet those income requirements. People who file taxes using the head of household status and make up to $112,500 also get $600, plus the additional amount for children. People with incomes just above these levels will receive a partial payment that declines by $5 for every $100 in income.
- When might my payment arrive? The Treasury Department said on Dec. 29 that it had started making direct deposit payments, and would begin to mail checks the next day. But it will be a while before all eligible people receive their money.
- Does the agreement affect unemployment insurance? Lawmakers agreed to extend the amount of time that people can collect unemployment benefits and restart an extra federal benefit that is provided on top of the usual state benefit. But instead of $600 a week, it would be $300. That will last through March 14.
- I am behind on my rent or expect to be soon. Will I receive any relief? The agreement will provide $25 billion to be distributed through state and local governments to help renters who have fallen behind. To receive assistance, households will have to meet several conditions: Household income (for 2020) cannot exceed more than 80 percent of the area median income; at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability; and individuals must qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship — directly or indirectly — because of the pandemic. The agreement said assistance will be prioritized for families with lower incomes and that have been unemployed for three months or more.
“So many small businesses across the country have been devastated by the pandemic and economic crisis,” Ms. Guzman said. “A disproportionate impact has fallen, as it often does, on our businesses owned by people of color.”
Most of the program’s financiers, including some of the country’s largest banks, said they plan to resume lending. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Cross River Bank and Wells Fargo, which collectively made more than one million loans, said they intend to start taking applications as soon as the S.B.A. gives them the green light.
Bankers said their borrowers are clamoring to apply for a second loan.
“We think we are likely in for a very tough winter until the vaccine is more widely available, and we expect there will be a pretty heavy demand,” said John Asbury, the chief executive of Atlantic Union Bank, in Richmond, Va., which made more than 11,000 loans through the program’s first iteration.
The relief loans, which are backed by the government but issued by banks, are designed to be forgiven so long as borrowers use most of the money to pay their workers. The rare offer of essentially free money has been a lifeline for business owners grappling with the pandemic’s forced shutdowns and other economic shocks.
Holly Schaffner, the owner of Mrs. Turbo’s Cookies, a bakery in Ohio, received two P.P.P. loans totaling $48,000 for her two stores. Before the pandemic, she had 20 employees; in March, as the crisis took hold and she was briefly forced to close, her staff plunged to six. Her sales dropped as much as 70 percent in some months last year.
The relief loans allowed her to rehire several people she had laid off. “If it hadn’t been for that money, I’m not sure I would have had the revenue to be able to make a payroll,” she said. “It was incredibly helpful.”