These resources, from SBA loans to industry-specific grants, are available to freelancers, self-employed workers or independent contractors who are struggling financially.
By: Matthew D'Angelo, Contributor to USChamber.com
COVID-19 is having an impact on all areas of the economy. From large businesses to smaller restaurants, everyone is having to adjust to a new normal in business activity. Freelance workers and other 1099 employees are no different. With several foundations, corporate relief funds and other financial programs emerging from a variety of industries, it’s not clear how freelance workers are being supported during this time.
Here is a list of seven resources for freelance workers struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic, including a list of industry-specific grants and funds worth applying for as a freelancer, self-employed worker or independent contractor.
Expanded unemployment benefitsDue to COVID-19, independent contractors can qualify for unemployment payments from the government. In the past, this service was not available to freelancers and 1099 workers. By following the steps specific to your state, you can qualify for relief and potentially a $600 weekly increase during this time. While this may be a long process to apply, it can help greatly once you’re approved. Be sure to stay up to date with your application and have an understanding of how your state’s unemployment relief is changing due to the virus.
The Small Business AdministrationThe SBA has announced extensive programs to help struggling small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. While freelancers and other 1099 workers work on a contract basis, if you’ve established a business entity in your name, you may be able to qualify for a loan. In New York City alone, for example, loans with no interest are being offered to all businesses with less than 100 employees. Look into disaster relief loans and other financial assistance available in your state.
SBA debt reliefIf you already have a loan through the SBA 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and microloan programs, you can qualify for payment relief for up to six months. Again, while this isn’t a program specifically designed for freelance workers, it can benefit those that have created business entities and are in debt with SBA.
Depending on the industry you work within, there may be a grant or relief fund you can apply for.
Paycheck Protection ProgramWhile initially only available for small businesses with 500 or more employees, the PPP program is being extended to independent contractors and other self-employed individuals. As of April 10, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for a loan up to $100,000. Your actual loan will likely vary based on your specific situation. You can read more about the program here.
Industry-specific grants and relief fundsDepending on the industry you work within, there may be a grant or relief fund you can apply for. Below is a list of options you want to consider based on your industry. The industries include comedy, writing, contemporary arts and other creative freelance industries.
FreshBooksFreshBooks collects resources for small businesses and freelancers alike. It provides a comprehensive list specifically for freelancers that includes things like job opportunities, job board websites and other work options. This can be a good resource for freelance writers who’ve lost contracts due to coronavirus.