Employers

To help you protect your employees’ health and the health of your business, CareFirst will post information on assistance programs. Updates to the resources below are made weekly, including the addition of new ones—so be sure to check back often.

Business Assistance

Federal and state business assistance programs can provide low-interest loans, grants and tax relief if certain conditions are met. The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law on March 11, 2021, expands and extends deadlines of certain programs. For Maryland county-specific grant programs, please see Maryland’s COVID-19 business support website here.

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NOTE: Advance funds have been fully allocated and are no longer available.

Program Information

Issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) provides working capital loans and loan advances for payroll and operating expenses for businesses impacted by COVID-19.

This program is available to both agricultural businesses and all other small businesses.

Funding Details

The first payment date for EIDLs made in 2020 has been delayed from 12 to 24 months from the date of the note. The first payment date for EIDLs made in 2021 has been delayed from 12 months to 18 months from the date of the note.

Can be combined with a Paycheck Protection Loan as long as they don’t cover the same expenses.

On September 8, 2021 new COVID EIDL policy changes took effect:

  • The maximum loan cap increased from $500,000 to $2 million
  • Use of funds was expanded to include payment and pre-payment of business non-federal debt incurred at any time (past or future) and payment of federal debt
  • Extended the deferment period to 24 months from origination for all loans
  • Modified affiliation requirements and paths to meet program size standards 
  • From September 8, 2021, to October 8, 2021, the above policy changes will be applicable to applications for <$500K while applications for >$500K will not be approved and therefore receive the policy changes until October 8, 2021

Eligibility

Any business with 500 or fewer employees is eligible to apply.

Agricultural businesses under 500 employees are also eligible. Includes those engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries.

Timeline

Subject to funding availability

Application Process

Apply here.

Additional Information

EIDL advance website

Program Information

Encourages employers who are not able to provide services due to COVID-19 to keep employees on their payroll by providing payroll tax credits per employee.

NOTE: The American Rescue Plan, signed into law on March 11, 2021, extended the program from July 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. The law will also expand eligibility to certain startups and increase the amount of the credit. See here for more information.

The IRS is providing a safe harbor permitting employers to exclude certain amounts from gross receipts in determining eligibility for retention credits. This includes:

  • Loan forgiveness from a Paycheck Protection Program loan 
  • Shuttered Venue Operator Grants 
  • Restaurant Revitalization Grants

Funding Details

The tax credit covers 70% of the qualified wages each employee is paid. The maximum amount of wages taken into account is $10,000, so employers will receive a maximum of $14,000 per employee.

Eligibility

Any business that either:

  • Fully or partially suspends operations in 2020 due to COVID-19, or
  • Experiences a significant decline in gross receipts during the calendar quarter (i.e., 50% less compared to same quarter in 2019).

Government employees are not eligible for this credit.

Self-employed individuals are not eligible for this credit for their self-employment earnings.

Businesses may take both the Employee Tax Credit and participate in the Paycheck Protection Program

Timeline

Applies to wages paid between March 12, 2020 and December 31, 2021.

Application Process

  1. Report total qualified leave wages for each quarter on the federal employment tax return, typically form 941.
  2. Employers may retain federal employment taxes to provide qualified leave wages to their employees. If the taxes set aside are not sufficient, request a credit advance by completing Form 7200.
  3. If requesting an advance, fax a completed Form 7200 to the IRS at 855-248-0552.

Additional Information

IRS Employment Retention Credit announcement

Infographic on new tax credits

IRS Employment Retention Credit FAQs

Program Information

Per President Trump’s Executive Order in early August, the Department of Treasury is allowing employers to defer an employee’s portion of the Social Security payroll tax.

NOTE: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020, extends the repayment deadline to December 31, 2021.

Eligibility

Applies to individuals with taxable wages that are less than $4000 during a bi-weekly pay period.

Timeline

Applies to wages between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

Deferred payroll taxes are due December 31, 2021.

Additional Information

Treasury Guidance

Program Information

Governor Hogan announced $50 million in grants to be distributed across each county and Baltimore City based on the number of restaurant establishments located in each of the 24 jurisdictionsOn January 28, Governor Hogan announced that an additional $30 million has been allocated to the program.

Restaurants interested in this new grant program must apply through their local jurisdiction, which are launching their own relief programs.

On January 28, Governor Hogan announced a new $50 million grant opportunity is available for hotels and hospitality businesses. Similar to restaurant relief, hotels will need to apply through their local jurisdictions.

Funding Details

RestaurantsWhile specific funding requirements vary by county, funding generally can be used for rent, payroll, job training and equipment purchases to expand outdoor dining

Hospitality: While specific funding requirements vary by county, relief can generally be used for payroll expenses, rent and utilities.

Eligibility

Any food retail or non-food retail establishment with an active Sidewalk Café Permit, Temporary Sidewalk Café Permit or Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Summer Garden or Sidewalk Café Endorsement.

Timeline

Varies by county.

Application Process

See here for a list of counties and their associated restaurant and hospitality relief programs.

Additional Information

Governor Hogan’s restaurant announcement

Governor Hogan’s hospitality announcement

Program Information

Issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues.

Funding Details

Funds may be used for payroll, rent, utility payments, certain mortgage payments, certain debt payments, worker protection, payments to independent contractors, businesses expenses, state and local taxes, operating leases in effect as of February 15, 2020, insurance payments, and other expenses related to a production.

The program is now closed to new applicants, but supplemental funding is available to recipients in the first, second and third rounds who suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter (as of April 1, 2021) at 50% of the original award amount.

Eligibility

Eligible entities include:
  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
  • Motion picture theater operators
  • Talent representatives
  • Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements

The entity must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020.

Entities that have received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020 will have their grant reduced by that amount.

Timeline

The program opened on April 8, 2021. Timing and priority will be given to entities based on need:

  • First Priority: Occurs during first 14 days of grant awards and includes entities that suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Second Priority: Occurs during the next 14 days and includes entities that suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Third Priority: Occurs during the 28 days after first and second priority awards are made and includes entities that suffered a 25% or greater earned revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.
  • Supplemental Funding: Available after all priority periods have passed. Includes recipients of first, second and third priority round awards who suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter (as of April 1, 2021, or later).

Application Process

See here for portal.

Additional Information

SVOG website

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