At the Graphic Artists Guild, we’re facing our first-ever pandemic. We’re committed to providing our community with resources and support to help us all get through this difficult time, safely and sanely. Below we’ve compiled a list of resources and information so that you can keep abreast of the latest news from one page.
If we’ve missed a resource, please let us know. Send us a email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll add it to the list.
We’ve also posted some resources to help you put your self quarantining time to good use, and keep your creative juices flowing. Visit our Social Distancing Survival Hub.
The CARES Act, passed on March 27, 2020 to address the financial duress caused by the COVID-19 crisis, included a suite of programs designed to assist small and large businesses, as well as freelancers. Those include stimulus payments for individuals, an extension of unemployment benefits to freelancers, payroll protection loans, an expansion of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, self employment tax credit, and employee retention tax credit. Freelancers and independent contractors will be surprised to learn that many of these programs will benefit them as well as small businesses.
Stimulus payments are cheques that the government is issuing directly to tax payers. You don’t need to do anything. The stimulus cheque amounts will be deposited directly into your bank accounts on file with the IRS.
For more information, check the IRS’ FAQs page.
The CARES Act expands the unemployment insurance currently provided by states by providing an additional $600/week for up to four weeks, by including independent contractors and freelancers, and by restarting benefits that have lapsed. The enhanced unemployment benefits will be administered by each individual state. You can pull up your state’s unemployment offices by visiting CareerOneStop’s Unemployment Benefits Finder and selecting your state from their drop-down.
* Note that 1099 workers may not be able to qualify for unemployment benefits for COVID-19- related reasons. The CARES Act creates two categories for workers eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: 1099 workers, and those experiencing work stoppage for COVID-19-related reasons. States have broad authority to interpret the provisions of the bill. See the Authors Guild’s excellent analysis of the bill for more information.
Small businesses, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors can apply for loans of approximately 2.5x the average monthly payroll through the Small Business Payment Protection Program. The purpose of the loan is to prevent employees from being laid off by subsidizing eight weeks of payroll. The loans must be applied to payroll, rent, and utilities. If applied appropriately, the entire amount of the load may be forgiven.
To apply for the PPP loan, you’ll need to find a lender active through the SBA’s 7a lender program. If your own small business bank is part of this program, work through them. You’ll also need to fill out the lender’s PPP loan application. Many banks will require you to have some sort of relationship with them – for example, a business account or credit card – or will want assurance that you don’t have a business borrowing or credit relationship with another bank. The lender will require documentation showing that the loan is required to weather economic uncertainty and maintain payroll, including tax documents, mortgage payments, etc. In order to apply for debt forgiveness, you’ll also need to prove that you used the funds as required, so accurate record-keeping is a must.
If you’re an independent contractor, you’ll need to include your 1099-MISC forms. If you’re a sole proprietor, you’ll need to submit the appropriate schedules from your tax filing.
There is some confusion as to when sole proprietors and independent contractors should apply. Small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply starting April 3, and independent contractors and gig workers on April 10. However, there isn’t clear guidance on who is considered a sole proprietor versus an independent contractor. According to The Balance SMB, the distinction is made in how you are considered for tax purposes. A “sole proprietor” is a one-person business who is not registered with their state as a business entity, such as an LLC, corporation, or partnership. Sole proprietors file Schedule C forms with their personal taxes. Independent contractors work for someone else and receive a 1099-MISC to show their earnings. The difficulty, as any freelancer knows, is that you can be both a sole proprietor and an independent contractor. Many freelancers receive both 1099 income as a contracted worker, as well as income from services they provide to clients. Both the 1099 income and the other income streams are reported on their Schedule C.
Because there are serious concerns that the PPP loan program is underfunded, it’s crucial that individuals apply early, before the funding runs out. The opening date for applying as a sole proprietor is April 3, one week earlier than the opening date for applying as an independent contractor. A good rule of thumb to follow will be to look at your Schedule C. If you’ve only reported revenue streams from 1099 forms, you should apply as an independent contractor. But if you’ve reported multiple income streams (which may include 1099 income), you should be able to apply as a sole proprietor. Regardless of which route you’re going, search for a lender, and apply as soon as you can.
Forbes has a comprehensive article, How To Calculate Payroll Costs For Your Paycheck Protection Program Loan.
The US Chambers of Congress has an excellent recap of the PPP. The Small Business Administration also has information on their website. PPA has also posted a video of how to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program; register with PPA to view the webinar.
The EIDL program predates the COVID-19 crisis, but the CARES Act relaxed requirements for the program and increased its funding. It also expanded the program to cover sole proprietorships and independent contractors. The program extends loans to these and other small businesses which experience temporary losses incurred from COVID-19-related public emergencies. Any business under 500 employees (including sole proprietorships and independent contractors) in existence before January 31, 2020, is eligible.
PPA has an excellent guide on how to apply for an EIDL loan for download. You can apply for an EIDL loan directly on the SBA website.
If the COVID-19 emergency means that you are unable to get to your job, you may be able to receive a credit on your income taxes, to be claimed on your income tax return and reduce your estimated tax payments. The COVID-19-related causes include:
If you’ve been subjected to a quarantine or self-quarantine, the credit equals 100% of your sick leave equivalent amount. The sick leave equivalent amount is the lesser of either your average daily self employment income, or $511/day for up to 10 days ($5,110 total).
If you’re caring for someone under quarantine or self-quarantine, or for a child whose school or daycare has closed, the credit equals 67% of your sick leave equivalent amount. The sick leave equivalent amount then is $200/day for up to 10 days ($2,000).
You can also claim a coronavirus emergency family leave credit for up to 50 days. In this instance, the credit amount would equal the number of qualified family leave days multiplied by the lesser of either $200, or your average daily self employed income. The maximum total family leave credit would be $10,000.
Employers whose operations were fully or partially suspended due to COVID-19-related public emergency orders, or who experience a loss of over 50% in gross receipts as compared to the same quarter in 2019 are eligible to apply for the employee retention tax credit. The credit would be for 50% refundable payroll tax of up to $10,000 for each eligible employee.
For more information, visit the IRS’ FAQs page.
The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest. The filing deadline remains April 15, 2020, and most Americans are advised to file their tax returns, since they will be getting a refund. For more information, visit the IRS’s announcement.
The IRS has temporarily closed all Taxpayer Assistance Centers and discontinued face-to-face service throughout the country until further notice. The IRS is continuing to process tax returns, issue refunds and help taxpayers to the greatest extent possible.
Forbes has compiled statements and plans from banks which are intending to offer relief to customers affected by COVID-19. The article is updated continuously. Bookmark the article here.
Your payments will automatically stop from March 13, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020. To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose. Learn more.
The Treasury Department reports that people are receiving calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or requesting an advance fee, tax, or charge, including the purchase of gift cards. Do not respond to these calls. Instead, contact the FBI at www.ic3.gov so that the scammers can be tracked and stopped.
C’NET has posted an article on some widely-circulated coronavirus scams, including fake Facebook groups, and how to identify them. Read the article here.
We’re adding to this list constantly, to check back. This list includes nationwide grants and assistance. See below in state-by-state sections for grants and financial aid specific to your location.
Freelancers Relief Fund is operated by Working Today, a nonprofit subsidiary of Freelancers Union, and provides assistance of up to $1,000 per household to qualifying freelancers nationwide to cover lost income and essential expenses. Applicants will be asked to submit a detailed funding request outlining their needs. Funding amounts will be determined by magnitude of income loss as a result of COVID-19. Applicants should be as detailed as possible, and provide as much documentation as possible, to support their funding requests. Learn more.
Healthwell Foundation COVID-19 Fund: Maximum award level of $250 to help cover costs related to delivered food, medication, diagnostics, transportation and telehealth as a result of COVID-19 risk or incidence. Applicants must earn 500% of the Federal Poverty Level (adjusted for household size and high cost of living areas). Telephone applications only. Learn more.
American Documentary Artists COVID-19 Artist Emergency Fund: rapid response grants up to $500 to assist artists with basic needs including food, immediate health needs and insurance premiums. Learn more.
Anonymous Was a Woman Emergency Relief Grant: This program will distribute $250,000 in grants, up to $2,500 apiece, to women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40 who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The program is open to women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40 in the United States and territories, and aims to address the unique challenges faced by artists in middle age or older, particularly at this critical time. A link to the application form will be made available on Monday, April 6 at 10:00 AM EDT. Application period closes Wednesday, April 8th. Learn more and apply.
Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund: For those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) pursuing careers as artists or arts administrators whose income has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Apply here.
CERF+ Artists Safety Net COVID Relief: CERF+ serves artists who work in craft disciplines by providing a safety net to support strong and sustainable careers. Their COVID-19 relief aid is being provided to those who require intensive medical care. Learn more.
Red Backpack Fund: 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate the immediate needs and support the long-term recovery of those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more.
Business for All: Apply for grants up to $50,000 to support business growth, including $10,000 emergency COVID-19 Business for All Grants to help small businesses in crisis. Join leaders such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Kristen Bell, Lisa Price, and Zaw Thet to empower every American with an entrepreneurial spirit. Learn more.
As we discover local resources, we’ll be adding them state by state: health information, legal resources, housing and finances, and employment. Check back often. If you know of a resource missing from this list, let us know. Email email@example.com.
Special Enrollment for health insurance open until April 30: more info
Napa Valley Emergency Financial Assistance (EFA) program: available for workers who live in Napa County, whose household income is at or below 120% of Area Median Income, and who do not qualify for government-sponsored unemployment or paid family leave benefits. Learn more.
Humboldt Health Foundation Angel Fund: provides small grants to meet immediate medical or health related needs of individuals who are residents of Humboldt County. Learn more.
San Francisco Arts & Artists Relief Fund: provides grants of up to $2,000 to individual artists. Applicants must be a resident of San Francisco and not currently be eligible for or receiving unemployment. Learn more.
Southern CA – COVID-19 Emergency Health Grant For Artists: Women’s Center for Creative Work is offering $1,000 grants to low-income artists who work in any genre or medium, who identify as a woman, as trans or nonbinary, and/or as a person of color, andwho live in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino Counties. Learn more.
UNTITLED, ART Emergency Fund: offering grants of $250 to artists living and working in San Francisco for at least two years, or have graduated with a visual arts degree from the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more.
Bay Area – Safety Fund Net: Grants of up to $500/month to help support artists in the Bay Area during the COVID-19 crisis. Artists – performing artists, musicians, visual artists, event producers, and other types of creators – who typically make their living offline at events & retail establishments that have been cancelled or closed due to coronavirus. Learn more.
Special Enrollment for health insurance open until April 3: more info
Colorado Artist Relief Fund: Grants of up to $1,000 to individual artists who live in Colorado who are experiencing immediate unforeseen emergency needs due to COVID-19, and whose incomes are being adversely affected due to cancellation of events, classes, performances, and other creative work. Learn more.
Wherewithal Recovery Grants: $1,000 grants to professional visual artists, as well as moving-image/performance/sound artists with a history of presenting or performing in visual arts contexts (galleries, museums, etc.). The grants intended to help offset lost income from cancelled exhibitions, performances, or lectures, and from canceled or furloughed employment, that are the direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications open April 7, 2020. Learn more.
Oolite Arts Relief Fund: Grants of up to $500 to cover lost income due to the novel Coronavirus for Miami area visual artists. Learn more.
The State of Georgia has a new COVID-19 hotline. If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, please contact your primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Please do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility.
Hotline: (844) 442-2681
The Atlanta Artist Lost Gig Fund: Providing financial assistance to Atlanta area artists who have unmet essential needs due to lost revenue from cancelled upcoming events and gigs. This fund is open to arts workers of ANY discipline including visual artists. Apply here.
For general questions about COVID-19, call the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email DHP.SICK@illinois.gov.
Arts for Illinois Relief Fund (AIRF): a statewide effort that provides financial relief to artists and arts organizations with urgent need due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. $1,500 unrestricted, one-time grants will be issued to as many eligible artists as possible, given the total funding available. The application portal will close on Wednesday, April 8 at 5:00pm CST. Learn more.
For general questions about COVID-19, call the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email DHP.SICK@illinois.gov.
Small Business Continuity Loan: Loans of up to $25,000 for businesses meeting the following criteria: 10 employees or less; located in Jefferson County; experiencing loss related to the COVID crisis; in good standing with Louisville Metro Revenue Commissioner; must apply for financial coaching and assistance within 90 days of loan close date. Learn more.
Louisiana citizens can dial 211, 24/7 to reach a live 211 specialist to discuss available help and information for COVID-19. Citizens can also text the keyword “LACOVID” to 898-211 to have instant access to the most current information available.
New Orleans Business Alliance Response to COVID-19: $500 – $1,000, dependent on a determination of need, for workers deriving 60%+ of their income from gig work. Must be a resident of New Orleans Parish. Learn more.
Maryland Coronaviurs (COVID-19) Information for Business: The Dept. of Commerce is no longer accepting grant and loan applications, but this page includes information on business closures, taxes, employee information, etc. Read more.
Congressman David Trone Webinar on Business Resource: Watch the webinar.
Cambridge COVID-19 Emergency Fund: Grants of between $200 and $1,000 for individuals who are residents of or employed in Cambridge, MA. Must provide Proof of residency / employment in Cambridge and letter of validation from a local nonprofit, civic or faith-based leader, teacher, venue host, or employer. Learn more.
Boston Artist Relief Fund: Grants of $500 and $1,000 to individual artists who live in Boston whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by COVID-19. Learn more.
Mass Cultural Council COVID-19 Relief Fund: Grants of $1,000 will be available to Massachusetts individual artists and independent teaching artists/humanists/scientists who have lost income derived from their work as a direct result of COVID-19 related cancellations and closures. Applications open April 8-22. Learn more.
24 hour Hotline: 877-435-8411
Futures Fund: Emergency relief for artists in St. Louis, MO. Grants of $1,000 to cover lost wages from events cancellations, lost teaching gigs, cancelled commissions, etc. Learn more.
Have general COVID-19 questions? Call: 2-1-1 or (24/7) 1-800-962-1253; text: NJCOVID to 898-211; text: your zip code to 898-211 for live text assistance.
Newark Creative Catalyst Fund: Newark-based individual artists working in any artistic discipline can apply for fellowships from $1,000 – $10,000. Grants are to support the creative practice of artists who have shown exceptional creative ability and commitment to social impact through their work. Read more.
Coronavirus Hotline: 1-855-600-3453
For non-health related COVID-19 questions: 1-833-551-0518
Culture Connects Coalition Artist Relief Fund: Santa Fe artists can apply for grants of $500-$1,000 to cover financial losses due to cancelled events (performance arts, readings, panels and teaching opportunities, exhibitions, art fair/market, etc.). Learn more.
Fulcrum Fund: Emergency relief grants are for self-identified visual or multi-disciplinary artists within an 80-mile radius of Albuquerque (including Santa Fe, Española, Grants and Socorro) who have lost income from cancellations and closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.
Questions? Call the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline: 1-888-364-3065
Special Enrollment for health insurance open until April 15: more info
Coronavirus Financial Impact Loan Program (New York City, Westchester, Long Island): Interest-free loans of $2,000-$5,000 to residents of New York City’s five boroughs, Westchester, or Long Island who are facing financial challenges caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. These loans are intended to address lost wages due to being unable to go to work, child care costs due to school closures, small business losses, and related medical costs. Learn more.
NYC Employee Retention Grant Program to help small businesses retain employees while experiencing decreased revenue due to COVID-19. This program is available to New York City businesses with one to four employees that can demonstrate at least a 25% decrease in revenue as a result of COVID-19. Eligible businesses will receive a grant covering up to 40% of their payroll for two months. Create an account to apply.
NYC Department of Small Business Services: If you have one to four employees and can demonstrate a 25% decrease in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you will receive a grant covering up to 40% of your employees’ salaries for two months. This is great news to alleviate your concerns about the economic impact on the well-being of your staff. Check here for the required documents to access funds.
NEIGHBOR-TO-NEIGHBOR (N2N) Grants for residents of Berkshire/Taconic area: one-time assistance for local residents who are in economic distress. Learn more.
Elmira Corning and the Fingerlakes Community Service Micro-grants: Up to $250 per individual is available for creative community service projects. These grants will be reimbursable and available until school returns to session. To request reimbursement for a community service project in response to COVID-19, complete the form by going here. Documentation of expenses is required. Receipts may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to 301 South Main Street, Horseheads, NY 14845. More information.
Max’s Kansas City Project: Emergency funding and resources of up to $1,000 to professionals in the creative arts who live in New York state, and who demonstrate a financial need for medical aid, legal aid, or housing. Learn more.
Coronavirus Hotline: dial 211 or 888-892-1162. Text COVIDNC to 898211.
Greensboro Artist Emergency Relief Fund: This fund has been created to support creative individuals who have been financially impacted by event and performance cancellations (for example, cancellation of art classes or painting event) due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Learn more.
Durham Artists Relief Fund: Funds donated here go directly to artists (including visual artists) and arts presenters in Durham who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19, with priority given to to BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists. Learn more.
Ohio Department of Health call center for questions about COVID-19: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH. Staffed from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.
Greater Columbus COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants: $1,000 grants for artists of all disciplines living in Franklin County who have experienced COVID-19 financial loss from cancelled events, including performances, paid speaking engagements, readings, exhibitions and festival/fairs, and from loss of teaching income. Learn more.
For general information on COVID-19 in Oregon, call 211. If you are having a medical emergency, call 911.
Questions about COVID-19? Call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
City of Philadelphia – Information and resources for businesses impacted by COVID-19: A listing of federal relief programs, Philadelphia financial assistance, utilities payment suspensions, business resources, and guidance. Includes links to webinars and small business educational resources. Learn more.
Philadelphia – The Enterprise Center COVID-19 Loan: Learn more.
Philadelphia – Citizens Bank Small Business Recovery Program: For eligible Citizens Bank business customers. Learn more.
Grow Philadelphia COVID-19 Fund Inquiry Form: For minority-owned contractors and related small businesses affected by the pandemic, low-interest loans with flexible payment terms to eligible businesses. Fill out the inquiry form.
Philadelphia – Kiva: Expanded program for zero percent interest small business loans through a crowdfunding platform. Partnered with the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department to provide their crowdsourcing platform. Learn more.
Philadelphia – Finanta Emergency Loan is available for entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19 and other emergencies. Loans range from $5,000-$15,000 without closing fees. Contact Finanta for more information and to apply: 267-236-7030 (for English) or 267-236-7019 (para Español). Learn more.
Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Emergency Fund for Artists: Artists and creative workers living in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland counties are eligible to request up to $500. Learn more.
One Sioux Falls Fund: The goal of the fund is to help residents in the Sioux Falls MSA (Minnehaha, Lincoln, McCook and Turner counties) avoid evictions if they are unable to work due to COVID-19. Nonprofits, the County and the City will coordinate to distribute the funds to make sure assistance gets into the right hands.
For questions about COVID‑19, dial 2‑1‑1, then choose Option 6. Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., 7 days per week.
Dallas Artists Relief Fund: Grants of $200 for low-income, BIPOC, trans/GNC/NB/Queer artists and freelancers whose livelihoods are being affected by this pandemic in Dallas. Learn more.
If you have questions about COVID-19: Dial 2-1-1. If you have trouble reaching 2-1-1, dial 1-866-652-4636.
Special Enrollment for health insurance open until April 17: more info
If you are returning from Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malaysia, China, Iran or South Korea or from a cruise: Call Health Department Epidemiology at 802-863-7240.
If you are sick or concerned about your health: Contact your health care provider by phone. Not everybody needs to be tested. Do not call the Health Department. Do not go to the hospital, except in a life-threatening situation.
Northern VA COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program: For residents of Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, Fairfax/Falls Church, Loudoun County, Manassas, Manassas Park, or Prince William County. Must have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 emergency creating financial hardship, and provide tangible documentation of the COVID-19 related hardship. Learn more.
Special Enrollment for health insurance open until April 8: more info
For questions about COVID-19 and what is happening in Washington State, please call 1-800-525-0127, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m, seven days a week.
Washington Employment Security Department New Rules: Governor Inslee issued an emergency proclamation to help relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation and quarantine by ensuring unemployment benefits are available to individuals whose employment has been impacted directly by COVID-19.
Seattle Small Business Recovery: Mayor Durkan announced initiatives to provide immediate relief for small businesses impacted by COVID-19: 1) Deferral of B&O Taxes; 2) Expansion of Small Business Stabilization Fund; 3) Assistance to Access SBA Loans; 4) Relief for Utility Payments; 5) New Small Business Recovery Task Force. Learn more.
King County, WA Cultural Relief Fund: Grants up to $2,000 are available for cultural workers for emergencies related to the COVID-19 virus and to support the creative responses cultural workers offer in times of crisis. Learn more.
COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund:Rapid response grants supporting critical needs of Washington state artists of all disciplines whose livelihoods have been impacted by COVID-19. Learn more.
Needs-based COVID-Relief Grants: Open to any residents of Teton, WY who have been negatively impacted. Eligibility is determined by confidential consultation. Apply here.