UPDATED 6/29/20: Government Assistance for Freelancers & Small Businesses During COVID-19

The federal CARES Act grants emergency economic relief to all US workers, including provisions to directly support freelance workers. The new law expands and improves unemployment benefits; grants new funding for small business loans; and provides a one-time stimulus check, among others. Here’s how you can get some financial relief.
| By Lilly Joynes

UPDATE: JUNE 29, 2020

Having trouble with your UI and PUA claims?
You're not the only one. We asked around, and this is what we've learned:
  • If you made more than $1000 in all of 2019 under W-2, then you are ONLY eligible to get UI and will have all PUA claims denied.
  • If you have less than $1000 W-2 (but have some) you need to be denied UI before you can get PUA
  • UI and PUA are mutually exclusive and if eligible for W-2 at any level, then PUA is off the table.
  • Some folks are having luck having their individual claims pushed through by contacting their representatives directly. Find your local reps.

Source: MusicPortland. Sign up for a profile on their website to be added to their list!


From Business Oregon: The U.S. Small Business Administration reopened EIDL loans to all applicants yesterday. If it's a good fit for you, check it out here:
They will restart processing apps already received but not funded in the order they were received.


We got the chance to chat with Colin Sears of Business Oregon face-to-face (virtually) for an hour. Here’s what we learned about PPP, EIDL, and unemployment.



  • Congress authorized an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program. Small businesses and independent contractors should prepare to apply through an approved lender. Learn more about the PPP below.
  • Check the status of your federal stimulus check
If you are a self-employed worker seeking unemployment, know that the Oregon Employment Department is not ready to accept and process your application. They are waiting for further guidance from the US Department of Labor. Read more here.

Paycheck Protection Program

We just got the latest SBA report with PPP approvals through April 16. All funds are now depleted, but Congress is currently negotiating legislation that would provide additional funding for the program.

? Final count for Oregon: $3.8 billion / 1.1% of all funds distributed nationwide

? National funding for arts, entertainment, & recreation: $4.9 billion / 1.44%

SBA Loans (EIDL)
Full SBA EIDL loans are currently being capped at $15,000
SBA Emergency Grant
Originally announced as $10,000/applicant, the IRS has changed the loan advance to $1,000/employee (with a max of $10k)
Stimulus Payments
Tracking the status of your payment click here


The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grants emergency economic relief to all US workers, including provisions to directly support freelance workers. The new law expands and improves unemployment benefits; grants new funding for small business loans; and provides a one-time stimulus check, among others. Here's how you can get some financial relief.

**NOTE** These websites are receiving a huge amount of traffic right now, and you may have trouble getting through. Just keep trying! To avoid retyping your info, keep it in a word document that you can copy and paste from.


  1. Unemployment Insurance
  2. Small Business Loans
    • Paycheck Protection Program
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loans
  3. Employee Retention Credit
  4. Federal Stimulus Check
  5. Extended Tax-Filing Deadline
  6. FFCRA Act (Extra Paid Sick Leave)
  7. Student Loan Payments Deferred


It takes about 30 minutes to file an initial claim online. First, make sure you have everything you need:

    • your SSN (or Alien Registration Number for non–US citizens)
    • work history for past 18 months—including all temporary, part-time, and out-of-state work; have names, addresses, phone numbers, and income available for each
    • a good daytime phone number to reach you

How to Apply

  1. File an initial claim using the link below.
    1. Watch this 6-minute video for instructions on exactly how to answer each question.
    2. Write down your confirmation number after submitting—it won't be emailed to you!
  2. You can start to file weekly claim reports the Sunday after submitting, even if you haven't heard back yet. However, payments won't be processed until after you're approved.
  3. Look for a letter with your benefits amount, or check the status online.
  4. Your first payment will be a check; you can apply for direct deposit after.
  5. You'll be responsible for submitting weekly claim reports as long as you are collecting benefits.

▷ Questions? Email


The Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to companies with less than 500 employees, sole proprietors/ independent contractors, nonprofits, and a few others.

Your loan amount(s) will be determined by your credit score, not your ability to pay it back. There's no personal guarantee or collateral required. Loans can be used to cover payroll, debt, rent/mortgage, sick leave for employees and more. You can receive loans under both programs; some eligible expenses differ.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

The SBA recommends you set aside 2 hours for this application, but anecdotal evidence suggests it's about 30 minutes.

How to Apply

  1. Self-certify how you are eligible for an SBA disaster loan by checking the appropriate box (e.g. independent contractor). Confirm you do not meet any of the disqualifying factors.
  2. Enter business info including EIN, gross revenues for the past 12 months, cost of goods sold, date established, and some other basic details.
  3. Enter information about the business owner(s)
  4. Answer a few final questions—i.e. no we're not a criminal enterprise—then tell them where to send your money!
    • NOTE: You'll also be asked if you want to opt into receiving a $10,000 emergency advance right away. The advance is a fully forgivable grant, meaning it doesn't need to be repaid under any circumstances. If you didn't use the newer application linked below, or didn't select the grant the first time you applied, you'll need to apply again and check the box.

▷ Questions? Call 1-800-659-2955 or (TTY: 1-800-877-8339), or email

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

UPDATED 4/20: List of Oregon banks accepting new applications.

The CARES Act established the new $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program. You can apply your loan to expenses from February 15, 2020, to June 30, 2020. Payments are deferred for 6 months; the 0.5% fixed interest rate applies during that time. If used appropriately, it's possible to have the whole loan forgiven at the end of the 8-week period.

How to Apply

You will be allowed to apply through existing SBA-lenders based on your business entity status: starting Friday, April 3 for small businesses and sole proprietorships; starting Friday, April 10 for independent contractors and self-employed individuals.

  1. Fill out the Payroll Protection Program application here.
  2. Submit the application with the required payroll documentation to an approved lender by June 30, 2020.

Employee Retention Credit

If you're not participating in the Paycheck Protection Program you can receive a 50% payroll credit for up to $10,000 per employee. This is available to any size business that is fully or partially closed due to COVID-19.


Federal Stimulus Check

Who is eligible?

Individuals making up to $75,000, married couples up to $150,000, and head-of-holds up to $112,500 (prorated if higher). You must also have a US Social Security Number.

How much will I get?

Individual get $1,200, $2,400 for couples, and $500 per child.

How do I get it?

A check—or direct deposit if that's how you get your return—will automatically be made if you filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019.

Extended Tax-Filing Deadline

Individuals and businesses now have until July 15, 2020 to file federal income taxes. This includes self-employment tax. State income taxes are still due on April 15.

FFCRA Act (Extra Paid Sick Leave)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Act provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave if you must miss work because you are sick or quarantined for coronavirus (paid at your full rate), or to serve as caretaker for someone with COVID-19 related health issues (paid at two-thirds your regular rate). Companies are reimbursed for providing this paid sick leave and child caregiving leave.

Student Loan Payments Deferred

Student loan payments are on hold through September 30, 2020. This applies to all "federally-owned loans," which includes Stafford–Subsidized and Unsubsidized; Perkins; and Graduate and Parent PLUS loans. It includes both principal and interest.

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