How To Get Financial Help If You’re Self-Employed

Coronavirus times have put a strain on all aspects of the economy – but no greater is this strain apparent then on the self-employed. As a freelancer, independent contractor, or self-employed solopreneur, you may think that there are not a lot of financial options out there to help you and your business. It turns out, there are way more options for the self-employed than you might think.

Here are some of the best:

The Small Business Administration: If you’re a small business, there is a strong likelihood you’ve heard of the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program. Although the clunky PPP program hasn’t been a huge hit, the SBA offers much more than that. For example, if you already have a loan through the SBA 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, or microloan programs, you can qualify for payment relief for up to six month. Check out the SBA resources and financial assistance page here.

Payroll Protection Program: While the PPP was initially only available for small businesses with employees, the program has been expanded to include independent contractors and other self-employed individuals. Some available loans go up to $100,000. You can read more about the program here.

Unemployment: Although state unemployment offices are slow to respond to unemployment applications, the benefits available from unemployment might be too big to pass up. Due to Covid-19, 1099 contractors now qualify for government assistance. Learn more here.

Industry specific grants and programs: Several different industries have created a programs to help financially assist you during this time. They include:

  • Freelancers: Although freelancers have some of the least protected jobs in the economy, several funds have been erected to help freelancers during this time. They should know about the Freelancer’s Union Relief Fund, as well as The Workers Fund, and The Freelance Co-Op. All offer options for financing you during this time.
  • Musicians: The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ has the MusiCares Coronavirus Relief Fund.
  • Actors: There may be help for actors out of work right now – check out the SAG-AFTRA Covid-19 Relief Fund.
  • Artists and creators: Check out the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and Artists Relief for grants up to $5,000. The Creator Fund offers grants of up to $500 is available for creators of all types. Artists with medical needs can apply for help from The Artists Fellowship. And here is an excellent list of other artist relief programs available locally.
  • Authors and writers: The American Society of Journalists and Authors’ Writers has created an Emergency Assistance Fund and the PEN America Writers have their Emergency Fund. Funds are also available from The Authors League. Check out also the Carnegie Fund for Authors.
  • Comedians: “Comedy Gives Back” says, “If you’re a comedian who has lost gigs and income due to the coronavirus please apply for a grant. We’ve also created a Facebook page with ways to help cope with this crisis.”
  • Restaurant workers and bartenders: Bartenders should check out The Bartender Emergency Relief Fund. Other food service workers should look at the Restaurant Workers Community Fund.
  • 211: Generally, if you need help finding food, paying bills, paying for housing or other essential items, call 211 or go to 211.org.
  • Paid sick leave: A tax credit is available for gig workers who get ill or who had to stop working to care for an ill loved one. Check it out here.
  • GrantsSpace: An excellent overall list of state and national programs of every kind can be found here.
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