FINANCIAL AID

The government is trying to give you pandemic aid money – here’s what’s out there

Updated 7:00 AM; Today 7:00 AM

America Gets Tax Rebate Checks
Various grants and loans are available for people as COVID-19 aid, including for unemployed workers, struggling businesses, teachers, direct-care workers and others. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)Spencer Platt/Getty Images

By Taylor DesOrmeau | tdesorme@mlive.com

Here’s a look at some of the largest programs out there, who’s eligible and how much money is available.

Paycheck Protection Program

Who’s eligible: Smaller businesses

How much money: Up to $10 million per business ($285 billion total)https://9a382dd65f683cb4488dada3d2202994.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Where’s it from: Federal government’s COVID-19 aid package

PPP loans offer the largest chunk of funds for businesses. This is the second round of the program, but most businesses that saw money in the first round last summer are eligible again.

The loans are forgivable, meaning the businesses don’t have to pay the money back if they meet certain criteria – like spending at least 60% of the funds on payroll costs.

Businesses must have 500 or fewer employees to receive funds, although those that received loans in the first round must have 300 or fewer employees to be eligible this time.

Borrowers are eligible to receive loans up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll with a max of $10 million for first-time borrowers and $2 million for returning businesses.https://9a382dd65f683cb4488dada3d2202994.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Applications for PPP loans have already opened for some, and will open for all by Jan. 19. The application period ends March 31.

For more details on the program and how to connect with a lender, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website.

Michigan businesses took advantage of $16 billion worth of loans in the first PPP round. About 127,000 businesses in the state were awarded funds, averaging $126,000 per business. Some earned the maximum of $10 million while other received as little as $20.

Search the database below to see which Michigan businesses received at least $150,000 of PPP funding in the first round.https://c0eib122.caspio.com/dp/74321000d4c16abc2baf480b8934

Can’t see the database? Click here.

Employee Assistance Grants

Who’s eligible: People laid off due to this winter’s COVID-19 health orders

How much money: Up to $1,650 per person ($45 million total)https://9a382dd65f683cb4488dada3d2202994.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Where’s it from: Michigan’s COVID-19 aid package

Workers who were laid off because of Michigan’s second COVID-19 partial shutdown – which started Nov. 18 – are eligible for state grants up to $1,650.

Applications for the program went live Friday, Jan. 15 and close at 5 p.m. on Jan. 25. Grants are not awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. There’s enough money in the $45 million program to award more than 25,000 grants.https://9a382dd65f683cb4488dada3d2202994.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Click here for more details on how to apply.

Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

Who’s eligible: Anybody receiving at least $1 in unemployment benefits

How much money: $300 per week in addition to normal unemployment pay ($120 billion total, but that includes money to extend pandemic unemployment programs)

Where’s it from: Federal government’s COVID-19 aid package

Some Michiganders have already started receiving the extra $300 per week in unemployment and others are expected to see the cash soon.

Anybody getting unemployment pay will automatically get an extra $300 per week – similar to the $600-per-week program from the start of the pandemic. Claimants don’t have to do anything to get the money.

Michigan is still working on restarting the system to pay people owed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. Once those systems are restored, people getting PUA and PEUC unemployment will start getting regular benefits plus the extra $300 retroactively.

The $300 benefit started the week of Dec. 27 and ends March 14.

COVID-19 direct-care worker hazard pay

Who’s eligible: Direct-care workers, like nurses and respiratory therapists

How much money: An extra $2 per hour ($100 million total)

Where’s it from: Michigan’s COVID-19 aid package

This hazard pay for direct-care workers is an extension of a program that started in April 2020.

Including this latest $100 million approved for the program, Michigan has dedicated $420 million to direct-care worker hazard pay since last spring.https://9a382dd65f683cb4488dada3d2202994.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

State officials don’t have records on how many people have received the hazard pay, but said the program has paid for more than 13 million hours of hazard pay for two of the three groups eligible for the money.

Details on hours paid out aren’t tracked for the third group, per a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson.

There’s not a public way to sign up for the hazard pay. If eligible employees aren’t already getting the hazard pay, they should contact their employer, per state officials. If that’s unsuccessful, employees should file a complaint with the Michigan Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Wage and Hour Division.

Federal stimulus

Who’s eligible: People making less than $87,000 per year

How much money: Up to $600 per person – for now ($166 billion total)

Where’s it from: Federal government’s COVID-19 aid package

The second round of stimulus checks started dropping in peoples’ bank accounts in late December.

To check the status of your potential payment, go to the IRS “Get My Payment” page and type in your information.

People making less than $75,000 are eligible for $600 payments, while those making up to $87,000 are eligible for partial payments.

This might not be the last round of federal stimulus money – as President-Elect Joe Biden announced Thursday he plans to push for another $1,400 in stimulus checks for eligible Americans.

Small Business Survival Grant Program

Who’s eligible: Small businesses impacted by Michigan’s latest COVID-19 ordershttps://9a382dd65f683cb4488dada3d2202994.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

How much money: Up to $20,000 ($55 million total)

Where’s it from: Michigan’s COVID-19 aid package

Small businesses are also getting help via state money, as a new $55 million program opens for applications at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

These grants are also not awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline to apply is noon on Friday, Jan. 22.

Businesses that had to shut down at some point during the pandemic due to Michigan’s COVID-19 orders are eligible for up to $20,000, while all other businesses impacted by the pandemic can get up to $15,000. Local economic development organizations throughout Michigan are responsible for granting applications.

To be eligible, businesses must have no more than 100 employees, demonstrate a loss of income and need for working capital as a result of the orders and be in an industry impacted by the health orders.https://9a382dd65f683cb4488dada3d2202994.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

For details on how to apply, click here.

Teacher COVID-19 grants

Who’s eligible: Full-time K-12 teachers at public and nonprofit nonpublic schools, plus public school support staff

How much money: $500 for teachers, $250 for support staff ($2.5 million total)

Where’s it from: Michigan’s COVID-19 aid package

The teacher hazard pay was announced in the fall, but was included in the COVID-19 aid package funding passed by the Legislature in December.

Teachers were required to fill out a form for their district by Dec. 4 and districts had to submit lists of eligible teachers to the state by Dec. 16. Checks will be mailed on or about Feb. 25, per the state.

Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program

Who’s eligible: Live music and entertainment venueshttps://9a382dd65f683cb4488dada3d2202994.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

How much money: Up to $40,000 per business ($3.5 million total)

Where’s it from: Michigan’s COVID-19 aid package

Venues that make their money off of live entertainment and/or live music are eligible for grants as well – although they’re not eligible for the Small Business Survival Grant Program.

The application period goes from 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, to noon on Jan. 28.

For details on how to apply, click here.

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