PSAB

COVID-19 Small Business Help

Save Small Businesses Grant Opportunity

To extend a helping hand to small businesses suffering from the impacts of the corona virus pandemic, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – in partnership with Vistaprint and a coalition of supporting companies, foundations, and philanthropic donors – is working to provide financial relief through the Save Small Business Fund .

This fund is a key pillar of the U.S. Chamber’s Save Small Business Initiative .

The Fund is providing $5,000 in short-term relief to employers across the United States, including chambers of commerce. These one-time supplemental cash grants are for businesses that have between three and 20 employees and operate in an economically vulnerable community (you can search eligibility by zip code here ).

The grant application will go live on Monday, April 20 at 3:00 PM ET / 2:00 PM CT. To learn more about the Save Small Business Fund and to apply for a grant, visit savesmallbusiness.com .

Original Small Business Financial Assistance Program

Financial assistance is now available for small business owners impacted by COVID-19

Pennsylvania Now Accepting Applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Benefits

​Self-employed, others not eligible for regular unemployment compensation may apply. 

Harrisburg, PA – Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today announced Pennsylvania’s self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and others not eligible for regular unemployment compensation (UC) can begin filing claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. PUA is included in the new federal expansion to unemployment benefits provided by the  Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act .

Pennsylvanians who meet  PUA eligibility requirements  can apply  online . L&I anticipates a high volume of applications over the next few days which may temporarily slow the system. The department is continuing to add improvements to make it easier to use. L&I expects to begin making payments to approved claimants within two to four weeks after they submit their initial claim.

Who Should File for PUA

Eligible individuals who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 include:

  • Self-employed;
  • Independent contractors;
  • Gig workers;
  • Clergy and those working for religious organizations; and
  • People without sufficient work history to qualify for regular UC.

PUA Benefits

In general, PUA:

  • Provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits;
  • May not be more than the state’s maximum weekly benefit rate for regular UC of $572;
  • May not be less than half of the state’s average weekly benefit amount of $195.
  • Payments will be backdated to January 27, 2020 or the first week you were unable to work due to COVID-19 (whichever of the two dates is later); and
  • Benefits will not be payable for weeks of unemployment after December 31, 2020.

Information Needed for COVID-19-related Employment Disruptions

Acceptable documentation to verify COVID-19 reasons for being unable to work can include, but is not limited to:

  • Documentation from medical professionals regarding diagnosis or isolation instructions for you or a person in your home;
  • Notices or emails from school or childcare providers;
  • Notices or emails from county or state government regarding closure of businesses or stay at home orders;
  • Notices or emails from entities for which you were contracting stating that your services are not needed due to COVID-19 related shutdowns; and/or
  • Documentation from a prospective employer that includes start date, hours, and pay of a job offer that was cancelled or delayed.

Information Needed for Proof of Employment or Self-employment

Acceptable documentation can include, but is not limited to:

  • Copies of recent paycheck stubs;
  • Bank receipts showing deposits;
  • 1099s;
  • Billing notices provided to your customers;
  • Recent advertisements for your business or services;
  • Statements from recent customers;
  • Current business licenses, ledgers, contracts, invoices; and/or
  • Building leases.

Information Needed to Show Previous Income

Acceptable documentation of wages can include, but is not limited to:

  • Tax returns;
  • Paycheck stubs;
  • Bank receipts;
  • Ledgers;
  • Contracts;
  • Invoices; and/or
  • Billing statements.

Additional $600 Per Week

Anyone collecting PUA benefits is also eligible for the extra $600 per week from the  Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)  program:

  • Effective from the week ending April 4, 2020 through the week ending July 25, 2020;
  • Payments will be backdated and paid in a lump sum; and
  • You don’t need to do anything to receive the extra $600 – it will be paid automatically.

The new PUA system is web-based and operates differently than the state’s regular UC mainframe system. This means PUA applicants will receive login information to file their continued claims and do not need a Personal Identification Number (PIN). After opening their initial PUA claim and filing for any retroactive weeks, individuals will file continuing claims on a weekly basis with a one-week grace period if they miss filing for any week.

A new PUA phone line will soon be available for individuals without internet access or for those who require a translator. In the meantime, please direct questions to UCPUA@pa.gov. This email address is for PUA questions only.

Learn More

Additional COVID-19 information from L&I:

Visit the commonwealth’s  Responding to COVID-19 guide  for the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated coronavirus webpage for the  most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 .

April 15 Newsletter Senator Yaw

Dear Friends,

Hello! Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 23rd Senate District and look forward to working with you toward building a better future for Pennsylvania!

This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties and what I am doing as your state senator in Harrisburg. I hope that you will find this E-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

Gene Yaw
State Senator
www.SenatorGeneYaw.com

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April 15, 2020

* Stay-At-Home Order In Effect

*Click here to find the latest information on coronavirus from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

JUST IN:  PA Senate Legislates Safe Reopening of PA Economy


With nearly 1.4 million Pennsylvanians filing for unemployment benefits, the state Senate took action today and approved two bills that would provide clarity and common sense to the process of deciding which businesses can safely operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is important to consider carefully the next steps in our fight against the coronavirus.  While the safety of our state residents remains first and foremost, the Senate today has worked to address inconsistencies in the Wolf Administrations waiver process that is essentially picking winners and losers in my Senate District and across the state.  These bills will create a better process for determining which businesses can continue to remain open, provide clarity on mitigation strategies necessary to protect the health and safety of both customers and employees, and give county leaders a stronger voice in which mitigation measures should be implemented locally.

To read more, click here.

News for You….

To help taxpayers facing financial challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is providing taxpayers with increased flexibility, additional time to meet tax obligations, and relief from a number of compliance actions. The goal is to help Pennsylvania taxpayers and citizens during this unprecedented health crisis. Read more about the increased flexibility for taxpayers here.

Stimulus check tracking site goes live ….The Internal Revenue Service has said that the first batch of stimulus checks started hitting consumers’ bank accounts. The Get My Payment” service went live on Wednesday at IRS.gov.  It allows consumers to check their payment status, confirm whether they prefer direct deposit or a paper check and enter their bank account information for direct deposit if the IRS doesn’t have it yet.

Additionally, the Department of Revenue is encouraging Pennsylvanians to take steps to protect themselves from scams that are targeting people who are expecting a stimulus payment from the federal government. Please see the following news release for more information: Scam Warning: Fraudsters Using New Tactics to Steal Personal Data During COVID-19 Pandemic.

Regional Organizations Partner to Make a Difference

The Lycoming County United Way, Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way and the United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties have teamed up with the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania (FCFP) to launch the COVID-19 United Community Funds to ensure that our region’s nonprofit community has the support they need to weather this crisis and move forward.  Seeded with $250,000 from FCFP, the Funds will allow regional United Ways to lead the grant making process and rapidly deploy resources to nonprofits in Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Union Counties during these unprecedented times.

Gifts to the COVID-19 United Community Funds can be made by visiting www.ncpagives.org and selecting the individual fund in your community. Each fund will be managed by FCFP and 100% of all dollars raised will be granted back to the community. You may also mail a check made payable to FCFP to FCFP, 201 W. 4th St., Williamsport, PA 17701. Please note COVID-19 United Community Funds and the County where you would like your gift deployed on the memo line. Interested individuals and businesses willing to partner with the United Ways and FCFP should reach out to discuss matching opportunities and lead gifts.

Small Business Assistance Fund

MSC Donates Meals to Thank Medical Professionals at UPMC Susquehanna

I know that the coronavirus pandemic is an overwhelming and stressful time for everyone, so I’m going to highlight some positive things over the next few weeks that are happening within our communities.

Last week, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) and several of its members donated 600 lunches to say ‘Thank You’ to doctors, nurses, first responders, and staff at UPMC Susquehanna.

The MSC, along with members Alta Resources, Cabot Oil and Gas, Chevron, Greylock Energy, Olympus Energy, Penn E&R, Range Resources and Southwestern Energy, provided lunch for the medical professionals dedicated to keeping our communities healthy and defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have the deepest appreciation for the doctors, nurses and support staff working on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19,” said MSC president David Spigelmyer. “They are true heroes and as they support communities during these challenging times, we wanted to find a way to support them in return, while also helping local restaurants affected by social distancing orders.”

In addition to supporting UMPC Susquehanna, the MSC and members also provided lunch to hospital staff at Washington Health System in Washington and Greene Counties, and Wayne Memorial Hospital in Wayne County. 

Thank you to all of these companies for your support of our healthcare professionals! 

COVID-19 Crisis Line Available for First Responders, Healthcare Workers

The increased stress caused by COVID-19 affects all Pennsylvanians, but our first responders and healthcare workers face even greater pressures in helping the state respond to this public health emergency. Magellan Health recently opened a free national crisis line for all first responders and healthcare professionals who are serving on the front lines of the pandemic.

The hotline is open 24 hours a day and connects callers directly to licensed mental health clinicians for support. The toll-free number is 1-800-327-7451 (TTY 711).

New Web Portal Features Info on Employment Opportunities During COVID-19 Business Closures

Although many businesses across the state remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, other employers in life-sustaining industries are hiring workers immediately for thousands of critical roles. A new web portal has been created to help connect displaced workers with new employment opportunities in home health care, shipping, distribution, manufacturing and other industries.

People seeking employment immediately can learn more about available job opportunities through PA CareerLink’s new online COVID-19 job portal. Life-sustaining businesses can feature job openings by submitting an online form here.

COVID-19 Resource Guide for Senior Citizens Now Online

An online COVID-19 resource guide to help older adults find useful information related to their health, safety and well-being is now available.

The guide is available on the state Department of Aging’s website under “COVID-19 Resource Guide for Older Adults” and provides older adults, their families and caregivers with information on a variety of subjects, including meals, prescriptions, protective services, scams, and how to stay active and connected.

Utility Providers, Other Companies Provide Assistance Programs

The COVID-19 crisis has affected millions of Americans across the country. Most major utility companies are offering special assistance programs to help families who have been impacted by the pandemic. Some of the programs include delayed or partial payments, hardship funds, budget billing and other programs to help customers.

More information about the different kinds of programs and services to help utility customers is available on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s website.

Individuals and families who are struggling to pay bills during this pandemic should reach out to their utility companies, mortgage/rental companies, credit card companies and other lenders to see what programs may be available to help.

USDA Unveils Tool to Help Rural Communities Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

USDA’s COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide Lists Federal Programs That Can Help Rural Communities, Organizations and Residents Impacted by COVID-19

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled a one-stop-shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide (PDF, 349 KB) is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic.

“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities preparing for and impacted by COVID-19,” Perdue said. “This resource guide will help our rural leaders, whether they are in agriculture, education, health care or any other leadership capacity, understand what federal assistance is available for their communities during this unprecedented time.”

USDA has taken many immediate actions to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities, and rural-based businesses and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on these actions, visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

Press Release

Release No. 0217.20

Contact: USDA Press
Email: press@oc.usda.gov

PA Unemployment Compensation Information

A newly passed bill makes applying for unemployment compensation easier for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Edited 4/14:

Expanded Unemployment Benefit Payments Begin This Week

The spike in the number of applicants in the Unemployment Compensation system has created longer response times and a large backlog of cases that sometimes take weeks to resolve. A number of services are available online to help resolve some questions regarding the system.

Claimants can check the status of their application online, find answers to frequently asked questions and read tips on how to file an initial claim and more at www.uc.pa.gov.

Claimants who have filed an initial claim in mid-March who have not received a PIN should contact the Department of Labor and Industry as soon as possible. The same guidance applies to individuals who tried to re-open an existing claim in mid-March and are still listed as “inactive” when they try to file a bi-weekly claim.

If you meet one of these criteria or have other questions or problems that are not covered on the department’s website, please feel free to contact me for assistance.