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 email@example.com, 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.
Senior Guide to Mental Health During Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tips for how seniors can stay healthy and connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.
SingleCare Coronavirus / COVID-19 Information Station: SingleCare is committed to keeping you informed about the coronavirus. Articles are sourced from healthcare industry experts and updated daily. Read more.
Protect Your Family’s Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: US News and World Report has published steps you can take to maintain a positive attitude and address the stress you and your family may be facing during the pandemic. Read more.
State-by-State Stats and Reopenings: The Washington Post published May 22 a state-by-state recap of public health measures and reopening status, along with graphs showing infection rates over time. Read more.
CDC Guide to Social Distancing: With states starting to open up, it’s important to be aware of the CDC’s guidelines social and physical distancing when you’re out and about. Read more.
Public Health Measures to Slow Community Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019: The Journal of Infectious Diseases has published a layman’s article comparing the transmission dynamics of various coronaviruses – COVID-19, SARS/MERS, and influenza – and discussing mitigation measures. Read more.
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.
NOTE: The Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act on June 4. The PPFA relaxes some requirements of the PPP loans. The PPP program still has funds to disperse, and graphic artists who have not applied are encouraged strongly to do so. The EIDL program currently is only accepting applications from agricultural businesses. EIDL applications which were already made will be processed. The Guild is advocating on behalf of graphic artists for stimulus funds earmarked for micro-businesses, sole proprietorships, and freelancers.
There are excellent articles with updates to the PPP and EIDL programs:
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.
Read the Treasury Department’s Information Sheet on the PPP program.
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 Chambers of Congress has published a guide to help small businesses navigate through the pandemic crisis. The guide includes up-to-date COVID facts and a recap of the $2 trillion stimulus bill enacted in March, as well as a discussion of issues relevant to small businesses: loss of revenue from shutting down; safety measures for businesses that must stay open; inventory and supply-chain issues; dealing with business insurance; managing employees remotely; and adjusting marketing strategies. Read the Guide.
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.
(See above for information on PPP and EIDL loans.)
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.
Hello Landlord/Hello Lender assistance apps: Under the CARES Act, properties with a federally backed mortgage are subject to a temporary moratorium on evictions. Fast Company has an article on HelloLandlord, a tool to help tenants unable to pay rent skillfully negotiate with their landlords. The federal stimulus package also permits homeowners to delay mortgage payments. A second tool, HelloLender, assists mortgage holders in contacting their lenders to negotiate such a delay. Read the Fast Company article.
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project: An interactive map showing proposed and passed emergency tenant protections during the COVID-19 crisis. View the map.
Rent Strike Resources: An article with advice on forming a tenant’s association, conducting a rent strike, and advocating for tenant’s rights. 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.
Comcast is making Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone and Xfinity WiFi hotspots located in businesses and outdoor locations across the country available for free to everyone, including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. Comcast is also waiving late fees and offering internet essentials free to new customers. Learn more.
Google Ad Credits: Google is offering small- and medium-sized businesses ad credits to be used towards future ad spends until the end of 2020. Learn more.
Honeycomb Credit: The investment crowdfunding platform is offering 45-day payment free periods, 6-month interest-only periods and reducing their posting, success, and investor fees. Learn more.
Kabbage Payments: Small businesses can sign up for a free account with Kabbage Payments to offer online certificates of $15-$100 via a unique URL to share with customers. Learn more.
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.
Key: Added April 2-4. Added April 8. Added April 12-15. Added April 26.
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.
The Artists’ Fellowship, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 charitable foundation that financially assists professional visual artists and their families in times of emergency, disability or bereavement. Assistance is given without expectation of repayment. One does not need to be a member of the Fellowship to receive assistance nor does membership in the Artists’ Fellowship entitle one to assistance from the foundation. Learn more.
Artists Relief: (note: this is a separate fund from Artist Relief Project) $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial stress due to the COVID-19 crisis. The fund received additional funding and is accepting applications for its artists relief cycle II through May 31. However, funds are expected to run out, so artists should apply soon. Learn more.
Artist Relief Project: Any artist in any discipline who has been impacted by COVID19-related cancellations and closures may apply for assistance. Stipends and support will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis, with the only limitation being how much money we are able to raise. The only requirements are (1) you demonstrate you’re an artist by sharing your resume and website, where applicable, and (2) you share this fundraiser with your own networks and provide a screenshot of that activity. Learn more.
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.
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.
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.
Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant: Grants between $200 and $2500 for visual and performing artists. Applications reviewed monthly. Learn more.
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.
GoFundMe/Yelp: GoFundMe is partnering with Yelp to fund the Small Business Relief Initiative supports those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Initiative will provide fundraising tools and grants to help during the crisis. Learn more.
Gottlieb Emergency Grant Program: Financial assistance to painters, printmakers, and sculptors whose needs are the result of an unforeseen incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation. Each grant is given as one-time assistance for a specific emergency, examples of which are fire, flood, or emergency medical need. 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.
NALAC COVID-19 Relief Efforts: The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) recognizes the compounding impact that the COVID-19 public health pandemic is having on our communities and artistic field. In this moment of uncertainty, we return to the importance of confianza – the act of mutual trust and support to carve a way forward. Learn more.
Rauschenberg Emergency Grants: The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) have partnered to administer a new emergency grant program to provide one-time grants of up to $5,000 for unexpected medical emergencies. The grants are available to visual and media artists and choreographers who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories. 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.
Salesforce Small Business Grants: Salesforce has teemed with Ureeka to offer eligible small businesses the opportunity to receive a $10,000 grant. Businesses must have 2-50 employees, be in existence for 2+ years, have an annual revenue of $250k+, and have experienced challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Deadline is May 1 of 4, depending on your state. Learn more.
The Haven Foundation: Interim financial assistance to freelance professionals in the arts who face crises. Awards are granted with a view to helping individuals overcome temporary adversity and return to full-time work. Learn more.
Twenty Summers Emergency Arts Fund (EAF) for artists and arts organizations facing unmanageable financial loss as a result of the Coronavirus. They’re raising EAF funds from existing supporters, and are fundraising through a digital series, Art Interrupted. Twenty Summers is soliciting Art Interrupted videos from creators – visual artists, writers, songwriters, multimedia, etc. – to use for fundraising for the EAF and requests that their existing videos be shared through social media. Learn more.
Kiva: Effective immediately, U.S. applicants for a Kiva loan will have access to: expanded eligibility – more small businesseswill be eligible; larger loans – the maximum loan on the Kiva platform will increase from $10,000 to $15,000; grace period – new borrowers may access a grace period of up to 6 months for greater financial flexibility. Learn more.
Opportunity Fund: is offering financial assistance is based on eligibility guidelines and funding availability. Existing customers can contact them at 877-629-2709 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Those seeking new financing, contact us at 888-720-3215 (888-648-7859 en español) or click here to begin a request.