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.

NOTE: As of January 1, 2022, the EIDL is no longer accepting new applications but will continue to accept requests for increases, reconsideration, and appeals.

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

IRS Employment Retention Credit FAQs

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