CARES Act Information
We hope you continue to keep yourselves and your families safe during this unprecedented global health crisis. As a member-owned cooperative, our commitment is to our members. Small businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and individuals make up more than our membership – they make up our communities.
Many small businesses have been forced to close their doors or limit service to best protect our communities. Many individuals have been left without steady income. We want to make sure our members have the information they need to weather this storm and to know Ozarks Electric and OzarksGo are here to provide you with the best service we can.
The federal government passed a bi-partisan agreement called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act of 2020 (“CARES Act”). The CARES Act is intended to help families and companies affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. If you or your business has been affected, please see the information below, as you may qualify for relief.
Paycheck Protection Program
If you are a small business owner with 500 employees or less, you could be eligible for the new lending program, called the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides for expanded eligibility for SBA 7(a) loans, and provides generous loan forgiveness. Your business must have been operational on February 15, 2020 and had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes, or a paid independent contractor.
The program provides small business owners funds based on the payroll totals (times 2.5) from the previous year (February 15 - June 30, 2019. However, it does not include employees or independent contractors that were paid over $100,000.
- Up to $10 million, based on up to 2.5 x payroll totals from previous year (February 15 – June 30, 2019 or if not operational in 2019 January 1, 2020 – February 29, 2020).
- Covered period of the loan is February 15, 2020 – June 30, 2020
- Must maintain payroll during this emergency – You will not be penalized for laying off workers at the beginning of the covered period so long as they are rehired
- Can use loan funds to meet payroll costs/benefits, operating costs, paid leave, debt obligations
- Eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount spent during the 8-week period after the origination date on payroll and operating costs.
- Interest rate is capped at 4%
- No collateral or personal guarantee is required
We encourage you to apply for the Payroll Protection Program through a certified or preferred 7(a) lender.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program
The SBA’s disaster loans are the primary form of federal assistance for the repair and rebuilding of non-farm, private sector disaster losses. The disaster loan program is the only form of SBA assistance not limited to small businesses. If you are an independent contractor or sole proprietor that does not have high fixed payroll costs, or over 500 employees, you may want to consider the EIDL Program.
- Under current 7(a) rules, loans are determined by actual economic injury and can be worth up to $2 million.
- The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits.
- The loans have long-term options, for up to 30 years, however, the term will be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on a borrower’s ability to pay.
- Waives requirement of a personal guarantee on advances and loans below $200,000
- Waives requirement that an entity has one year in business prior to the disaster
- Waives requirement that an applicant be unable to find credit elsewhere
- Allows SBA to approve EIDL requests based solely on an applicant’s credit score, or use “alternative appropriate methods” for determining an applicant’s ability to pay
- Must use funds to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, employee sick leave or other bills that cannot be paid due to the disaster’s impact
Emergency Disaster Grant
The CARES Act also creates an Emergency Grant to let an eligible business who has applied for an EIDL loan under this COVID-19 response to request an advance on that loan up to $10,000, which SBA must distribute in three days.
- Applicants are NOT required to repay advance payments, even if subsequently denied for an EIDL.
- If the business DOES receive the actual EIDL, then the $10K advance will be deducted from the total loan amount to be repaid (if you ask to borrow $100,000 and receive an advance, you will only have to potentially repay $90,000)
Apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service can be contacted at (800) 659-2955 (TTY: (800) 877-8339) or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
After the application process is complete, it typically takes SBA up to three weeks to make a decision and, in cases where the loan is approved, an initial disbursement of $25,000 is typically made from the execution of the closing documents – with subsequent disbursements made under a previously agreed schedule.
Considering the likely large number of applications that will be submitted and despite the number of additional lenders that will be brought on board, expect processing delays for the actual EIDL. This should NOT significantly affect the emergency advance.
**A borrower cannot receive a payroll protection program loan AND an economic injury disaster loan (EIDL) through the SBA for the same purpose. You may apply for both and choose if you approved for both loans. If you take out an EIDL between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020, you can refinance that loan into a PPP loan. You would add the outstanding loan amount to the “payroll” sum. If you are awarded the EIDL grant of up to $10,000 would be subtracted from the amount forgiven under the PPP.**
The CARES Act also gives one-time direct payments to Americans – $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year and $2,400 to a married couple making up to $150,000, with $500 payments per child. If an individual makes $75,000-$99,000 or a married couple who filed jointly made $150,000-$198,000 the payment amount will decline gradually.
The amount of the payment will be based on income reported in 2018 taxes or your 2019 taxes if you have already filed them. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin estimates that the money will be dispersed in one payment within three weeks from the signing of the bill. President Trump signed the bill on Friday, March 27, 2020.
You do not have to apply to receive this payment. If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has your bank account information, it will transfer the money directly to you via direct deposit. To get money to the individuals who do not file tax returns, the IRS may have to request information from the Social Security Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs.
If you are working less than full time, or have completely separated from your last job, you may file your Arkansas Unemployment Insurance claim from your own home computer at EZARC or by calling the hotline number, 1-844-908-2178.
The CARES Act also provides approximately $250 billion to state unemployment programs and covers an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits on top of what states provide. It also offers an additional 13 weeks of benefits. There is no separate application required to receive these additional funds.
In order to apply for benefits, visit the “claimants” section of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission’s website. Full details about the application process, eligibility, and other information are available here. All physical offices are currently closed.
Home Energy Payment Assistance Agencies
Below is a list of federal and state assistance agencies that assist low-income households with their energy costs. The CARES Act includes $900 million to help lower income households heat and cool their homes through the existing Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). These are flexible funds to alleviate poverty, so there will be great variation from community to community for how these funds are used. The disbursement requirements for those funds have not been established, however, we will continue to monitor and evaluate potential economic assistance opportunities that arise for our members through the various programs and agencies. and communicate program details if and when they become available.
|Agency||Address||City||Phone Number||Area Served||Hours of Operation|
|Economic Opportunity Agency||614 Emma Ave.||Springdale||479-872-7479||Washington County||M-F, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.|
|Salvation Army||315 Holcomb||Springdale||479-751-7353||Springdale||M-F, 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m.|
|Salvation Army||219 E 15th St.||Fayetteville||479-251-0857||Fayetteville||M-F, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.|
|Salvation Army||2073 N Center St.||Elkins||479-296-6060||Elkins||"M-F, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.|
|Office of Human Concern||506 E Spruce St.||Rogers||479-636-7301||NWA Area||M-F, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.|
|Cooperative Emergency Outreach||1649 E Huntsville Rd.||Fayetteville||479-444-7500||Fayetteville||M-F, 1 p.m.- 3 p.m.|
|Second Mile Ministry||319 Lafayette Dr.||Fayetteville||479-521-4787||NWA Area||M-W-F, 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.|
|Life Ministry||307 E Buchanan Dr.||Prairie Grove||479-846-5433||Farmington, Prairie Grove, Lincoln, West Fork||T - Th, 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.|
|Agency||Address||City||Phone Number||Area Served||Hours of Operation|
|Department of Human Services||RR 1 Box 42||Stilwell||918-797-2900||Northeast Oklahoma||"M-F, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.|
|Cookson Hills||60416 Hwy 10||Kansas||918-456-0571||Northeast Oklahoma||M-F, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.|
|United Keetoowah Band||RR 5 Box 5220||Stilwell||918-772-4300||Northeast Oklahoma||M-F, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.|
|Cherokee Nation||17675 S Muskogee Ave||Tahlequah||918-453-5000||Northeast Oklahoma||M-F, 8a.m. - 5 p.m.|
|Community Action||856 E Melton Dr||Jay||918-253-4683||Northeast Oklahoma||M-F, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.|