We are in unprecedented times with the coronavirus pandemic, and the United States government is trying to help people get through it economically with COVID-19 grants and other financial aid.
The problem for millions of Americans is that they don’t qualify for many, if not all, of these aid programs for one simple reason: they don’t have a Social Security Number.
Can You Get Financial Relief Without an SSN?
Most of the programs that the government released as part of the massive $2 trillion economic stimulus package, known as the CARES Act—including COVID-19 grants and other financial assistance—are not available for people without an SSN, including immigrants.
- The COVID-19 grants and loans that are available through the Small Business Administration also require you to be a U.S. citizen and have an SSN. This includes both the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
- The direct stimulus checks—that can be worth up to $1,200 for each qualifying person—requires you to be a United States resident and have a Social Security number. Even if you have an SSN, you are disqualified from this money if someone in your household does not.
While some government officials, such as New York Representative Grace Meng, are proposing changes to this so that millions of immigrants could qualify for relief programs, there is nothing imminent right now.
If you don’t qualify for COVID-19 grants or other assistance from the federal government because you don’t have an SSN, don’t worry, there are other ways you can support your business in these tough times.
COVID-19 Relief: ITIN-only Alternatives
Let’s also take a look at some other avenues you may have to support you during these challenging economic times.
We will continuously update this article as new programs are made available, and further information is released.
These state programs seem to be ITIN friendly, either they don’t have any mention of SNN in their borrower eligibility nor the required documents or are tailored, specifically for immigrants.
Alabama, The Birmingham Strong Emergency Loan Fund
This fund offers interest-free loans for 180 days of $10,000 to $25,000, with a 3% to 5% interest rate.
Chicago, Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund
You can access a loan of up to $50,000. The total will be your 3 months average monthly revenue before the COVID-19 outbreak. It has a repayment period of up to 60 months.
California, $125 million disaster relief for immigrants in California
California’s government is offering this disaster relief assistance to help undocumented immigrants impacted by the current health crisis. It will provide a one-time payment of up to $500 per person or $1,000 per household. You can apply for this stimulus starting May 18.
Learn more about this relief program here:
California, Angeleno Card
This prepaid debit card initiative was created by LA’s Mayor Eric Garcetti to help all people that require financial aid because of the COVID-19 crisis. If you get one of these cards, you can get from $700 to $1,500. For your household to be eligible for one of these cards, you need to:
-Live in the City of Los Angeles
-Your household’s total annual income must have fallen below the federal poverty level before the current crisis
-Your household must have fallen into a more profound economic hardship because a member lost their job or experienced a salary reduction of at least 50%
You can learn more here: https://hcidla.lacity.org/
California, Guide for Immigrant Californians
California has created a guide with resources that can help immigrants weather the storm. The guide has information about healthcare, jobs, public charge, food, and housing, amongst others.
You can visit the site and download a PDF guide here: https://covid19.ca.gov/guide-immigrant-californians/
California, Help for Small Businesses & Workers Displaced by COVID-19
The Governor has created several programs to help employees and employers affected by the current crisis.
California, Los Angeles City Small Business Emergency Microloan Program
This program offers microloans from $5,000 to $20,000 with varying interest ranges, from 0% to 3%, depending on the term and your type of business.
California, LA County COVID-19 Relief Fund
This $28 million fund for small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 seeks to counteract the crisis-related financial hardships. The program will be available the week of April 27.
California, Small Business Tax Provisions
CDTFA Offers Immediate Interest-Free Payment Plans: Small Businesses May Defer Up to $50,000 of Sales and Use Tax Liability for 12 Months https://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/news/20-07.htm
Maryland, Manufacturing Innovation Grant Application
You can receive COVID-19 grants of up to $100,000 directed at the manufacturing industry.
Minnesota, Small Business Emergency Loans
This program offers loans from $2,500 to $35,000 with a term of 5 years. These loans can be partially forgiven.
New York, COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic
You can receive pro bono legal consultations to find out what is the best thing you can do to weather the storm.
New York, Syracuse Economic Development Corporation Loan Application
You can apply for 0% interest, 180-day emergency loans.
North Carolina, NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery for Small Businesses
You can apply for loans up to $50,000 that can be paid in 48 months with 5.5% interest.
Oregon, Hillsboro Washington County Small Business Economic Assistance Program
The program offers $3,000 COVID-19 grants and loans from $10,000 to $25,000.
Tennessee, COVID-19 Small Business Resources
You can find several business resources to help you during this crisis.
Virginia, Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund
The response fund offers COVID-19 grants from $10,000 to $50,000.
Save Small Business Fund
This is an initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation that offers short-term relief for small employers. The relief offers $5,000 grants. Their application will go live April 20, 2020, at 12:00PM PT.
To qualify for this grant, you should employ between 3 and 20 people, be located in an economically vulnerable community, and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you don’t qualify for COVID-19 grants, you can still benefit from tax credits the federal government is offering to small business owners. The program allows you to defer paying some of your payroll taxes until the end of 2020. It gives you the ability to break the payments up into two installments—one for the end of 2021 and the other for the end of 2022.
If the coronavirus pandemic has directly affected your business, you may also qualify for a refundable payroll tax credit of 50% for all the wages you pay during the crisis.
While this program won’t give you any extra money in your pocket, it will help you keep some of the money that you already have. Programs like these are great ways for small business owners to reduce their losses while the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting their business.
Mortgage relief programs
Some programs that you may qualify for, even if you don’t have an SSN, are mortgage, rent, and utility relief programs. As part of the CARES Act, the federal government is making available relief for people who have a mortgage that is provided by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Federal Home Loan Banks.
Since you can get a mortgage with an ITIN, this means that you may have a loan that qualifies for temporary relief. If you do, contact your lender and talk to them about your options. You may be able to delay your monthly payments for a while, and you won’t incur any late fees for doing so.
Foreclosures and other legal proceedings will be suspended during this time.
Rent relief programs
Likewise, if you live in a federally-subsidized rental property, you may qualify for similar deferred payments. If you live in a privately-held rental property—or if your business leases its office space—you should still contact your landlord to see if they’ll provide you with some forgiveness at this time. While no law or act is preventing them from taking action, if you don’t pay your rent, many landlords are doing their best to be understanding.
Utility relief programs
Finally, many public utilities such as electric and gas companies and even some internet service providers are suspending turn-offs for non-payment during the coronavirus pandemic. If you are having trouble paying your utility bills at home or for your business, you should definitely contact your provider(s) to see what they could do to help.
Unfortunately, the millions of people in the United States who don’t have a Social Security number won’t qualify for the majority of programs as part of the federal CARES Act. This means that various COVID-19 grants and other financial programs such as direct payments are not available to ITIN-only applicants.
But you must remain informed with the latest news related to government relief programs for small businesses. The government programs are literally evolving day by day. The government is investing in the economy, and we’re lobbying hard to ensure Latino-owned businesses are not forgotten.
While the major federal programs aren’t available to you, if you don’t have an SSN, there are still other avenues for you to get financial help during these trying times.
You should consider an alternative source of capital. One of the best options is a business loan. When evaluating the loan terms, mainly focus on getting a loan with reasonable monthly payments that will extend your runway.
At Camino Financial, we are here for our clients, just like we are every day. We live up to our motto of “No Business Left Behind” by providing small business loans that are easy to apply to.
If you need to invest in your business, apply for a Camino Financial business loan, and together we will weather this storm!
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