Category Archives: COVID-19 Resources

DCEO Launches New Small Business Relief Program

DCEO recently launched its business interruption grants program (BIG) which will provide $60 million in support of small businesses that are seeing steep loses in revenue or business interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is available for a maximum of 3,500 businesses with limited capacity to operate due to public health related closures. These funds are set to be allocated in early July. This program will be fully funded up to $540 million in grants for small businesses with $270 million designated for childcare providers. This funding comes from appropriations set by the CARES Act.

The first round of grants will prioritize support for small businesses that have halted operations completely or have been severely restricted. In addition, priority will given be to businesses within areas that have been impacted disproportionately, or in low income areas with high rates of COVID-19.

To be eligible, businesses must demonstrate that they have experienced heavy economic hardship since March.

The application portal goes live June 26th, 2020 and will be accessible here.

Cook County Access to Capital Program Goes Live

As of June 8th, 2020, Cook County will begin receiving application for their Community Recovery Fund which will provide zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and up to $10,000 for independent contractors. Applicants must be based in suburban Cook County. Additional eligibility requirements are listed below:

Small Businesses are eligible if they are:

  • Employing 25 or fewer employees,
  • Earning less than $3 million in annual revenue,
  • Located in suburban Cook County, and
  • Revenues have decreased more than 25% as a result of COVID-19

Independent Contractors are eligible if they are:

  • Making at least half of your yearly income in 1099 contract work
  • Earning less than $100,000 annually
  • Residing in suburban Cook County
  • Currently, not-for-profits are not eligible for this program

Documents required:

  • Bank statements from October 2019 to date of application
  • Copy of most recently filed Federal tax return
  • Copy of most recent annual financial statements (only required if small business)
  • Valid photo ID of independent contractor or business owner

Click here to apply.

Congress Passes Legislation That Alters PPP

The Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (PPFA) on June 3rd, 2020. This legislation amends the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by the following:

  • The PPFA would change loan forgiveness criteria by requiring borrowers to use at least 60% of their PPP loan for payroll costs (salary, wages, benefits) and 40% for non-payroll related costs (rent, mortgage, utilities). The current PPP structure requires at least 75% of the loan be allocated towards payroll and 25% for non-payroll related costs.
  • The 8-week covered period for loan forgiveness and restoring FTE is extended to 24 weeks or Dec. 31st, 2020.
  • In calculating full FTE return, business can exclude from required FTE target (1) furloughed employees who asked to return work but declined (2) positions that could not be filled because lack of skilled candidates (3) unable to restore business to Feb. 15th, 2020 level.


**** The new criteria must be followed exactly in order to receive loan forgiveness as partial forgiveness is no longer available under the new law.****

SBAC Action Call: Contact Legislators to Pass Legislation That Encourages job Growth and Retraining to Support Small Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has damaged our economy and caused skyrocketing unemployment. Self-employed business owners, independent contractors, members of the gig economy, and employees in many industries have all been hit hard by the pandemic. This has put a tremendous burden on the small business community and those who have become unemployed.

The SBAC has worked with Senator Ram Villivalam in filing SB 3992 which will provide technology companies, manufacturers and medical facilities, with under 100 employees, a $5,000 tax credit when they train and hire an employee whose livelihood has been threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Businesses with between 100-500 employees will receive a $2,500 tax credit for such a hire.  All other businesses are eligible for a $1,500 tax credit.

The Illinois General Assembly has gone back to Springfield for a special session this week and getting SB 3992 passed will require urgency.

Please click here to access our action call to contact your legislators and make your voice heard.

PPP Update: The SBA Distributes Instructions for Applying for PPP Loan Forgiveness

The SBA recently issued loan forgiveness instructions and the application for  Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers. The instructions cover options borrowers can take for calculating their payroll costs through an alternative payroll period, expense eligibility during the 8-week pay period, exemptions from loan forgiveness, and additional key aspects of the PPP.

CLICK HERE to review the application and instruction.

In addition, there is still more than $100 billion left in PPP funding.

Unemployment Benefits for Gig Workers and Independent Contractors

Independent contractors and gig employees are eligible as of May 11, 2020 to apply for federal assistance through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Claimants that have applied and been denied regular unemployment benefits can now submit claims through the PUA portal. In order to be eligible for PUA benefits, workers need to apply for regular unemployment benefits and get denied before they can apply for PUA.

PPP Rule Update

The U.S Treasury Department issued new rules regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP.) As of May 8, 2020, any borrower that applied for a PPP loan and repays the loan in full by May 14, 2020 will be deemed by SBA to have done so in good faith. This allows borrowers that may have taken a PPP loan based on misunderstanding or misapplication to return the loan in full without facing penalty from the SBA.