WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Antonio Delgado (D-19) held a telephone town hall on March 27 shortly after the House passed and President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act.
Before opening the meeting to questions, Delgado went through a list of what is in the legislation. Almost every adult will get a check from the federal government. Single men or women earning less than $75,000 per year will get a check for $1,200. The amount will be lower for people earning more and people earning more than $99,000 won’t get a check. Couples earning up to $150,000 will get a check for $2,400 and $500 for each child under age 18.
Delgado said that the CARES Act will also provide support for rural hospitals, “many of which were struggling before the crises set in.”
For unemployed people, the federal government is going to give $600 per week to individuals on top of what the states pay out in unemployment benefits. The expanded unemployment program covers those who are self-employed, those working in the so-called gig economy and part-time employees.
Delgado said there are 27,000 small businesses in the district, and that includes self-employed individuals. He said part of the CARES Act is the Small Business Repayment Relief Act, which is legislation that will automatically trigger six months of payments including principal interest payments and fees by the Small Business Administration (SBA) on all new and current SBA loans.
“Also there are Emergency Economic Injury Grants for independent contractors, self-employed, private non-profits, small businesses and medium-sized businesses up to 500 employees. Grants of up to $10,000 will be provided to individuals within three days of verifying the businesses eligibility,” he said.
Another part of the act is the paycheck protection program.
“There’s a new SBA loan program to cover up to 2.5 months of payroll during the crisis. Businesses up to 500 employees, self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofits are eligible for no-fee loans of up to $10 million with repayment deferred for six months if the small business retains the same number of employees as when they receive the loan. Up to 100% of the loan may be forgiven,” Delgado said.
The legislation also contains support for small and mid-sized farms. The bill includes $9.5 billion to assist ag product producers impacted by the coronavirus, including specialty crop producers, producers who support local food systems, such as farmers markets, schools and restaurants. It’s also available to livestock producers, including dairy.
During the question and answer session, Michele Catan, of the New York State Small Business Development Center in Oneonta, said there are 22 such centers located throughout the state, and they will all assist in helping small businesses in applying for the SBA benefits.