4-3-2020 Coronavirus Update
This coronavirus update is lengthy, but it includes critical information for the Third District. Did you miss my last update? If so, click HERE.
Paycheck Protection Program
Small businesses and sole proprietorships can now apply for the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply starting April 10, 2020. I’ve been in constant communication with community bankers and credit unions across the district this week. From what I have seen and heard so far, the roll-out is rocky. Please remember – this is a MASSIVE new program that was signed into law on March 27, 2020 and created in a week. Normally programs like these take months to create, plan, implement, and execute on, so the fact that PPP is now available is nothing short of a miracle. In an ideal world, we would want to wait for a program roll-out until it’s perfect – but time is of the essence. Businesses need this support NOW. That’s why the Trump Administration moved forward with the roll-out instead of waiting any longer.
About the program from the U.S. Treasury Department: The PPP provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors— are eligible. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries.
On the Treasury’s website, you will find an overview of the program, information for lenders and borrowers, the borrower application, the lender electronic data form, and the interim final rule for the program. Visit the website HERE for this information.
I stand ready to assist anyone interested in this program. I would also encourage everyone to remain patient during these unprecedented times as the program rolls out at record pace to help Main Street America.
Economic Impact Payments and Social Security
The Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) chose to be more flexible in how they interpreted the law and the economic impact payments for Social Security recipients. Read more from the Treasury/IRS:
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts.
“Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.
The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.
Need to know more? Click HERE.
Filing for Unemployment
Under the CARES Act, unemployment insurance benefits and eligibility are expanded offering workers an additional $600 a week for four months, on top of what state unemployment programs pay, and will give Americans four months-worth of their income if they are furloughed or lose their job due to the coronavirus. The bill creates an employee retention tax credit to incentivize businesses to keep workers on payroll during the crisis.
Do you need to file for unemployment? Apply with the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) HERE. Have questions? Employers can call the employer only line at 803-737-2532 and individuals can call the TelClaim line at 1-866-831-1724.
My team is ready to help constituents who are currently abroad during the coronavirus outbreak. The State Department is making efforts to bring home Americans through commercial flights, chartered flights, and military transport. Any constituent abroad who needs assistance should contact my office at 864-224-7401, their local U.S. Embassy, and register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, available HERE or by calling 1-888-407-4747.
Trump Administration Update
President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force continue to lead a whole-of-America response utilizing the public and private sectors to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Just this week, the CDC issued guidelines on social distancing that are extended to April 30, 2020 to help flatten the curve. It’s critical of every American to take the guidelines seriously so we can move past this virus as fast as possible. Together we can defeat this invisible enemy.
South Carolina Update
Governor Henry McMaster issued new directives this week for the closure of non-essential businesses in South Carolina for the duration of the state of emergency. Please see the full executive order and list of the closures HERE.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) created a heat map to show the spread of the coronavirus in the Palmetto State. You can view it HERE and see their latest updates on the virus HERE.
Unfortunately, bad actors take advantage of times of crisis to spread their harmful and deceitful scams online and over the phone. Please be vigilant during this time to protect yourself from these fraudulent schemes. See tips from the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office on how to protect yourself HERE.
I will continue to keep you updated. Please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news and updates around the clock. As always, you can view national updates on the virus on the CDC website HERE.
Praying you stay healthy during this unprecedented time. Please let me know how I can serve you and your family.