In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to deliver much-needed assistance to small businesses and individuals dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.


“Congress took swift and decisive action in sending assistance to business owners and individuals to help them endure the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said U.S. congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. “We understand that businesses and individuals are hurting and in need of immediate assistance to weather these unprecedented times.”


A majority of the programs and funding authorized by the CARES Act have already been implemented and funded. Many programs require cooperation from states and private entities to ensure the assistance goes to where it is most needed.


The following provides more details of the small business and individual programs current available to Kansans:


Individual assistance for workers and families


The CARES Act created the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program to provide payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus. Additionally, every American receiving unemployment assistance will receive an additional $600 per week for up to four months.


The program makes a significant investment – about $250 billion – to expand unemployment to ensure everyone has access to financial assistance and provides more than $1 billion to states to help them administer this and other programs.


To date, funding and regulations for the PUA have been provided by the federal government to the states. It is now the responsibility of the State of Kansas to make unemployment benefits available to individuals. Registration for unemployment benefits can be done at getkansasbenefits.gov.


Keeping workers paid and employed


The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides funding through the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) program to help small businesses maintain payroll continuity. Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to apply for funds and can work with their local, federally insured lending institution to submit and applications.


Small business owners are eligible for loan forgiveness if they can maintain their payroll from Feb. 15 to June 30.


The PPP builds on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program that was previously authorized by Congress and provides up to $2 million per business in low-interest loans to overcome the temporary loss of revenue associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. Applications can be made through the SBA website at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/. Businesses can apply for both the EIDL and PPP programs.


“It is important we deliver swift and impactful assistance to ensure our businesses, employees and families remain intact when it is time to reopen our economy,” said Rep. Marshall. “Our families and communities are suffering now. We must be ready to help.”