Coronavirus Stimulus Package FAQ: Small business support, more COVID-19-related updatesMarch 31, 2020
Last week, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, and it was signed into law by President Trump on Friday.
To help Connecticut residents understand the details of the bill and how it can potentially provide assistance during the COVID-19 crisis, Senator Chris Murphy's office has compiled a list of frequently asked questions. Addressed below are questions relating to support for small businesses.
For further information on the state's response to the coronavirus, visit ct.gov/coronavirus
Small Business Support
For a detailed small business owner’s guide please click here.
What relief is included for small businesses?
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The law includes nearly $350 billion to create a Paycheck Protection Program that will provide small businesses, nonprofits, and other entities with zero-fee loans of up to $10 million based on average monthly payroll costs. Up to eight weeks of average payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments can be forgiven if the business retains its employees and their salary levels. Principal and interest payments can be deferred for up to a year, and all SBA borrower fees are waived. This temporary emergency assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Treasury can be used in coordination with other COVID-financing assistance established in the law or any other existing SBA loan program.
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans: The law also includes $17 billion to further ease the burden on small businesses that use SBA loan products. Under the law, the SBA will cover all loan payments for existing SBA borrowers, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. The loan amount is based on average total monthly payments for payroll for the 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019, or at the election of the eligible recipient, March 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2019.
- Emergency Economic Injury Grants: The law includes $10 billion in funding for a provision to provide an advance of $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that apply for an SBA economic injury disaster loan (EIDL) within three days of applying for the loan. EIDLs are loans of up to $2 million that carry interest rates up to 3.75% for companies and up to 2.75% for nonprofits, as well as principal and interest deferment for up to 4 years. The loans may be used to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses.
- The EIDL grant does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EIDL, and may be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.
- Refundable tax credits: IRS will be posting information soon on these credits on its website (www.irs.gov), including information on how to obtain advance payment of these credits.
- Payroll taxes: The law defers payroll through the end of 2020. Deferred taxes will not become due until end of 2021 and end of 2022, with 50% of the liability being paid at each date.
- Employee retention tax credit: available for struggling businesses that are not eligible or choose not to participate in the new SBA Paycheck Protection Program.
Is my small business eligible for relief?
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): This relief is available for small businesses, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, 501(c)(19) veterans organizations, or Tribal businesses with not more than 500 employees who were in operation on February 15, 2020. It is also available to sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals.
- Small Business Administration Loans: This relief will be available to existing SBA loan borrowers and new borrowers who take out an SBA loan within six months after the president signs the law. Each program has different requirements, go here for more details.
- Emergency Economic Injury Grants: The grant is available to small businesses, private nonprofits, sole proprietors and independent contractors, tribal businesses, as well as cooperatives and employee-owned businesses. Eligible grant recipients must have been in operation on January 31, 2020.
- Refundable tax credits: The law makes the credits available for private-sector employers that are required to offer coronavirus related paid leave to employees.
- Payroll taxes: Any business that does not have a loan forgiven under the new SBA Paycheck Protection Program is eligible for the payroll tax deferral.
- Employee retention tax credit: The law provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid by employers to furloughed or reduced-hour employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
If I receive a stimulus check from the federal government, will it impact my ability to file for bankruptcy?
- No. Under this law, stimulus checks from the federal government cannot be used to determine whether you are eligible for filing bankruptcy.
- If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will not have to turn your stimulus check over to your creditors. This new relief will be available for one-year.
What assistance is there for nonprofits?
- Nonprofits are eligible for payroll taxes deferment (see above).
- Nonprofits are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (see above).
- The law also allows any mid-sized nonprofit (between 500 and 10,000 employees) to get access to quick, low cost, government guaranteed credit through their local lender or financial institution. The Treasury Department and Federal Reserve will have a degree of flexibility in designing the new program, but the expectation is for loan terms to last for no more than five years and to cover up to 100% of payroll over the previous 180 days, or 50% of revenues for the past year, for eligible organizations. Borrowers will also commit to rehiring their workforce back to pre-existing levels upon the end of the COVID-19 health emergency.
More good news for small businesses – your sales and occupancy tax payments can be deferred to May to provide you some administrative relief during this time. For more information, and to determine if you qualify please click the image below.
For those concerned Anthem was not reimbursing for occupational, physical or speech therapy conducted via tele-health at the in-office rate.
Anthem has now addressed that issue, and agreed to the higher reimbursement rate during this time:
Please see the information from Anthem below:
Telehealth Updates for Anthem Connecticut Providers Due to
Published: Mar 31, 2020 - Administrative
Temporary suspension of Anthem Telehealth Certification requirement
Anthem is temporarily suspending its contractual telehealth certification requirements. Providers that are eligible pursuant to Connecticut regulatory requirements may also be eligible for telehealth services reimbursement effective March 19, 2020.
Anthem is working diligently to update its systems as quickly as possible. In the interim, you may receive a claim denial indicating that a provider is not certified by Anthem for telehealth services. Please be assured that Anthem will reprocess those telehealth claims once the system changes are complete with no action required on the part of the provider.
Information from Anthem regarding temporary professional telehealth (audio and video) reimbursement rates
Beginning with dates of service on or after March 19, 2020, Anthem will temporarily reimburse covered audio/video telehealth services received from in-network professional providers at the current in-office reimbursement rates. This reimbursement change will remain in effect for the next 90 days unless otherwise extended at some future date.
Anthem is also working diligently to implement this change on its systems as quickly as possible. In the interim, you may see claims continue to process at the standard telehealth reimbursement rates. Please be assured that Anthem will reprocess those telehealth claims once the reimbursement changes are complete with no action required on the part of the provider.
Expansion of telehealth (audio and video) codes for physical, occupational, and speech therapists
What codes would be appropriate to consider for telehealth (audio and video) for physical, occupational, and speech therapies?
For 90 days effective March 17, 2020, Anthem will waive member cost shares for telehealth
visits for the following physical, occupational and speech therapies for visits coded with Place of Service (POS) “02” and modifier 95 or GT:
- Physical therapy (PT) evaluation codes 97161, 97162, 97163 and 97164
- Occupational (OT) therapy evaluation codes 97165, 97166, 97167 and 97168
- PT/OT treatment codes 97110, 97112, 97530 and 97535
- Speech therapy (ST) evaluation codes 92521, 92522, 92523 and 92524
- ST treatment codes 92507, 92526, 92606 and 92609
PT/OT codes that require equipment and/or direct physical hands-on interaction and therefore are not appropriate via telehealth include: 97010-97028, 97032-97039, 97113-97124, 97139-97150, 97533 and 97537-97546.
In the midst of all the coronavirus daily updates and information, I would like to take a moment to bring special attention and remind you to complete the 2020 Census.
Most of you should have already received an invitation in your mailbox to complete the questionnaire. Areas that are less likely to respond online will receive a paper form along with the invitation to respond online or over the phone.
Please check your mailbox and, if you can, I strongly encourage you to take a few minutes and complete the form online. *Each household has been given a unique 12-digit number to access the questionnaire online or by phone. The number is used to register and answer basic questions about the size and type of residence along with the name, age, gender and ethnicity of everyone living in the home.
*Even if you do not have your 12-digit number, you can still respond online or by phone. Online you would click the “If you do not have a Census ID” link on the login page.
Bilingual invitations have been sent to neighborhoods where at least one-fifth of residents speak Spanish. The letters in English and Spanish can be viewed by clicking here. In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau is providing the Internet Self-Response Instrument and Census Questionnaire Assistance in 12 non-English languages; enumerator instrument, bilingual paper questionnaire, bilingual mailing, and field enumeration materials in Spanish; and language guides, language glossaries, and language identification card in 59 non-English languages.
Nearly $11 billion in federal funding for Connecticut will be determined by the data collected by the census so it’s important that we get it right.
Remember, the census data is protected by Title 13 and any personal information given to the U.S. Census Bureau cannot be shared with any federal, state, or local entity.
Please visit CT.gov/Census for more information.