We know that many in our community will be hit hard by the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. In an effort to simplify locating emergency assistance and aid, we have put together this comprehensive list of resources and assistance programs to help small businesses, employers, our workforce, and the vulnerable members of our community.
Resources for Families and Individuals
Arizona Area Agency on Aging - will help Seniors who are unable to access groceries, please call 602-264-4357 or click to visit https://www.aaaphx.org/program-services/24-hour-senior-help-line/
Brown Bag Program for Seniors - the Town of Gila Bend provides free food distribution for residents in need each Thursday. Please call their Senior Services Coordinator, Erika Amezcua at 928-683-2244 for details about this program.
Southwest Gas - For customers experiencing financial hardship, we are here to help with flexible payment options. Call to speak a Customer Service Rep at 877-860-6020
or visit https://www.swgas.com/en/contact-us
Arizona Unemployment Insurance Benefits -
Unemployment insurance benefits may be available to individuals who are involuntarily unemployed as a result of COVID-19. The amount of the benefit will vary based upon the amount of money that the individual has previously earned, but will be between $187 and $240 per week.
You can learn more at www.AZUI.gov(link is external) or by watching this video(link is external). To file for unemployment insurance benefits, visit www.azui.gov(link is external), and click on the button titled “Apply for UI Benefits".
Families First Coronavirus Response Act - Employee Paid Leave Rights
Requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020. Read more at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave
Resources for Businesses
Arizona State Executive Order 21: Prohibiting Small Business Eviction
Although many commercial landlords have already taken action to delay or defer rents, without action, public and private entities that provide essential functions such as healthcare, food, and medicine are at risk of being locked out and their operations interrupted; and without action, the economic impact of COVID-19 will have a greater impact for a longer period of time.
Unless a court determines otherwise, a commercial eviction action including lockout, notice to vacate, or, any other attempt to inhibit the operations of a business shall be temporarily suspended.
Commercial landlords shall consider deferring or adjusting rent payments for commercial tenants that are unable to pay rent due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commercial landlords are encouraged to work with tenants to waive late fees, penalties and interest associated with late rent payments and develop rent repayment plans for those tenants unable to pay rent due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commercial tenants need to notify their landlords if they are experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19. If the commercial tenant is receiving financial assistance from public programs designed to assist businesses suffering financial hardships, must apply a portion of that assistance to any past or due rents. Read the Executive Order 21 here.
AZ Dept of Economic Security (AZDES) Shared Work Program - Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the UI Shared Work Program.
This program gives employers an alternative to layoffs and allows the retention of trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with UI benefits. Visit Arizona Shared Work Program to learn more.
The Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program is an alternative for employers faced with a reduction in force. It allows an employer to divide the available work or hours of work among a specified group of affected employees in lieu of a layoff, and it allows the employees to receive a portion of their Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits while working reduced hours. The Shared Work Program is not available to an employee unless the employer for whom the individual is currently working reduced hours completes an application which then must be approved by the Department of Economic Security.
An approved Shared Work Plan is valid for one year and an employee may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of Shared Work benefits.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act - Employer Paid Leave Requirements
Requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020. Read more at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave
Help for Small Businesses through Small Business Administration - Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program:
Provides up to $2 million in loans to support small businesses that suffer economic injury from disasters. It is administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). On March 16, Governor Ducey requested the SBA issue a disaster declaration for Arizona’s small businesses affected by COVID-19. After the Governor’s Declaration Request is approved business owners should apply online in the Disaster Loan Application Portal at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. The electronic loan application will be screened by the Disaster Processing Center when it is received.
Below are the requirements so business owners can prepare.
1) Loan application (SBA Form 5), completed and signed (this is electronic/online in the portal)
2) Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506-T), completed and signed by each applicant, each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, each general partner or managing member; and, for any owner who has more than 50 percent ownership in an affiliate business. Affiliates include, but are not limited to, business partners, subsidiaries, and/or other businesses with common ownership or management.
3) Complete copies, including all schedules, of the most recently filed Federal income tax returns for the applicant business; an explanation if not available.
4) Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413) completed, signed, and dated by the applicant, each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, and each general partner or managing member.
5) Schedule of Liabilities listing all fixed debts (SBA Form 2202 may be used)
All of these forms are available in the Disaster Loan Application Portal.
PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) for Small Businesses With Under 20 Employees NEW!
In order to reach the smallest businesses, SBA will offer PPP loans to businesses with fewer than 20 employees and sole proprietors only from Wednesday, February 24 through Wednesday, March 9th, 2021. President Biden has also announced additional program changes to make access to PPP loans more equitable.
If you have a small business and have applied for a loan in the past and only been offered a smaller amount of money, this week only, they are allowing small businesses to apply to receive a higher amount of money.
The only items you need are as follows:
1. Copy of their 2019 Taxes
2. Tax EIN number or Social
3. NAICS Number https://www.naics.com/search/
4. Copy of the front and back of their driver's license.
5. Number of employees, if 1, just type 1.
6. Choose what you want to do with your money: rent, mortgage, payroll, utilities, etcetera.
7. Email address and phone number
8. Legal name of their business
9. DBA Doing Business as Name if different from the legal name.
10. The amount of money they want to borrow
EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR MANUFACTURING BUSINESSES
If your manufacturing business has been impacted by the pandemic, you are strongly encouraged to apply before the program closes this Spring! Funding is provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and will be used to subsidize services that directly support manufacturers' ability to sustain operations and respond to the coronavirus. To apply go to www.research.net/r/CARESActGrantApplication
UI FRAUD TOOLKIT FOR EMPLOYERS NEW!
DES has also developed and deployed a UI Fraud Toolkit for employers to assist employers. Employers may have received notices that claims have been filed by current employees or individuals who have never worked for them, which indicates that the claims are fraudulent. To support them, as well as their employees, we created this new kit. There has not been a breach of information stored by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), however, criminals are obtaining individuals’ personal information using phishing scams, previous corporate data breaches, and other tactics and using this stolen information to file for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits.