Nationally, many Americans will begin seeing stimulus payments in their bank accounts as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which will be a welcome cushion for many who are facing temporary unemployment due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s March Jobs Report, employment in Missouri decreased by 20,900 jobs over the month. The unemployment rate grew one percentage point in March, from 3.5 percent in February 2020 to 4.5 percent in March.
Unemployment benefits have been extended to self-employed, gig workers, and independent contractors whose businesses have been impacted by the coronavirus. Additionally, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program provides an additional $600 payment per week to those eligible for at least one dollar in regular unemployment benefits during that week.
The CARES act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, also includes several programs to aid small businesses who have been impacted greatly by stay at home orders. Businesses have experienced mixed success in applying for and receiving funds through the various programs offered.
Lorne Meinershagen, CPA, Managing Member of Meinershagen & Co. in Grain Valley, has seen some business clients successfully apply for assistance, including the Payroll Protection Program, a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
“We have had several clients get approved for the PPP loan, and we have had a few receive funding within the last two days. (But) not a lot have received funding at this point,” Meinershagen said.
“The more immediate relief (for employers) is to place employees on unemployment which has a higher level of payout until late July, and the payouts do not impact the employers experience rating at this point.”
“We have had clients apply for the SBA EIDL loans, but to date we are not aware of anyone receiving a call back from the SBA regarding the loan, or funding on the special $10,000 grant attached to this program. Within the last day I received an email from the SBA indicating the $10,000 grant is now going to be $1,000 per employee you had on payroll as of January 31st,” Meinershagen said.
Locally, the City of Grain Valley will not shut off water service due to nonpayment for at least three months or June 30th, whichever comes first.
The City has also extended the deadline for homeowners and businesses to submit proof of backflow prevention device inspections, as required by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, to June 1, 2020. Residents or homeowners with questions may call Public Works at 816-847-0091.
Grain Valley Schools has canceled classes through the remainder of the school year following Governor Parson’s order. The district continues to offer weekday meals to students who need them. Parents interested in meal assistance can reach out to a school counselor or administrator.
The Grain Valley Assistance Council, (GVAC) an affiliate of the Community Services League, stands ready to assist those in need of emergency assistance. The organization ‘s food pantry is open on Wednesdays from 9:00am—Noon and 1:00pm—4:00pm. Requirements for receiving services have been waived during this time. Clients are asked not to get out of their cars. For more information on the Grain Valley Assistance Council, visit www.grainvalleyassistancecouncil.org.