Background: On December
27, President Trump signed legislation providing emergency financial relief for
Americans during the pandemic. In part, this legislation provides a
direct payment to most Americans. If you’ve filed a tax return in recent years,
are a disabled veteran, or a Social Security or disability beneficiary, you are
likely eligible for a payment. The Treasury Department has already begun
sending out direct deposits, checks, and debit cards to eligible individuals.
U.S. residents are eligible as long as they have a work-eligible Social
Security Number and meet certain income requirements. Individuals whose income
is entirely from non-taxable, means-tested programs—such as Supplemental
Security Income benefits—are eligible as well.
Click here to calculate how much assistance you will
Individual Filers: Americans who file their taxes as individuals will receive up to $600
in assistance. If your income was less than $75,000 in 2019, you will receive
the full amount of $600. Reduced
checks on a sliding scale will be paid to individuals making over
$75,000. For every $100 you make
over $75,000, your assistance will be reduced by $5.
Couples Filing Jointly: Americans who file taxes jointly will receive up to $1,200 plus $600
for every dependent under the age of 17. If your joint income was less than
$150,000 in 2019, you will receive the full amount of $1,200 plus $600 for every
dependent under 17. Reduced checks on a sliding scale will be paid
to couples making over $150,000,. For every $100 you make over $150,000, your assistance will be reduced
Heads of Household: Americans who file taxes as heads of household will receive up to
$600 plus $600 for every dependent under the age of 17. If your income was less
than $112,500 in 2019, you will receive the full amount of $600 plus $600 for
every dependent under 17. Reduced checks on a sliding scale will
be paid to those making above $112,500,. For every $100 you make over $112,500, your assistance will
be reduced by $5.
Past-Due Debts: Payments are protected from
federal debt collection, bank garnishment, or levy by private creditors or debt
Common Questions and Answers
will I receive my financial relief?
most cases, no action will be required in order to receive your payment. The
federal government will disburse payment either through direct deposit, debit
card, or check, depending on what information you have on file.
will I receive my financial relief?
time will vary by individual/family unit, but the Treasury Department has
already begun distribution of direct deposits, debit cards, and checks.
my income impact my tax rebate check?
the credit phases out at a rate of $5 per $100 of additional income, starting
at $75,000 for individuals. This phase-out rate begins at $112,500 for heads of
household and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.
What tax year will be used to determine my income?
Your 2019 income will be used to determine your eligibility.
I need a Social Security Number to receive payment?
general, taxpayers without an eligible Social Security Number are ineligible
for payment. However, married couples filing jointly, in which one spouse has a
Social Security Number and one does not, are eligible for a payment of $600, in
addition to $600 per child with Social Security Number.
about Social Security beneficiaries?
Treasury Department will issue payments for Social Security Old-Age, Survivors,
and Disability Insurance (OASDI) beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income
recipients, Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans
Administration beneficiaries based on information provided by the Social
Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Veterans
I have to pay taxes on these payments?
I need to have income to be eligible for payment?
I eligible for payments if I’m classified as a dependent?
claimed as dependents are not eligible for payments. The individual or couple
who claims a dependent on their tax return is eligible for $600 per dependent
am in debt, can this money be garnished or seized?
are not subject to administrative offset for past due federal or state debts.
Additionally, payments are protected from bank garnishment or levy by private
creditors or debt collectors.
people receive a paper check or a debit card?
those who don’t receive a direct deposit by early January, they should watch
their mail for either a paper check or a debit card. To speed delivery of the
payments, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, part of the Treasury Department,
will be sending a limited number of payments out by debit card. Please note
that the form of payment for the second mailed EIP may be different than for
the first mailed EIP. Some people who received a paper check last time might
receive a debit card this time, and some people who received a debit card last
time may receive a paper check. IRS and Treasury urge eligible people who don’t
receive a direct deposit to watch their mail carefully during this period for a
check or an Economic Impact Payment card.
Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Background: On December 27, President Trump signed
legislation providing emergency relief for Americans to help meet their
financial needs during the pandemic. In part, this legislation provides
assistance for the unemployed by adding 11 weeks to unemployment eligibility
and providing an additional $300 per week in federal benefits for the
Eligibility: To be eligible, an individual needs to be unemployed,
self-employed, or an independent contractor who has lost work.
Who to contact: If you are an Arkansan who believes you qualify
for assistance under this program extension, please contact the Arkansas
Department of Workforce Services. Their website is https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/employers/ar-claim-help/
and their phone number is 501-682-2121.
This legislation extends unemployment benefits
for individuals who stand to lose unemployment benefits at the end of 2020.
Unemployed Arkansans are eligible for an additional $300 per week in federal
aid in addition to their normal unemployment benefits.
Provides unemployed individuals an additional
$300 per week for 11 weeks from December 26, 2020 - March 14, 2021. However
individuals who have not met the maximum week limit are eligible for the
federal $300/week payment though April 5, 2021. April 5th 2021 is
when the federal benefits will end.
Extends all other Unemployment Insurance (UI)
provisions to March 14, 2021, including interest-free loans to states to keep
their unemployment-insurance trust funds in shape, flexible staffing for
states, and UI relief for non-profit organizations.
Adds program-integrity provisions to require
documentation of earnings and employment (versus self-certification). It also requires
states to have processes for verifying applicants’ identities, to combat fraud
and abuse in unemployment programs.
Includes return to work reporting requirements
for states to have a place for employers to report when someone turns down a
job and to notify claimants of the requirement to accept suitable work, unless
there is good cause for refusal.
on Filing for Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Unemployment Insurance Applications:
· EZARC Site: https://www.ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov/
file initial/new unemployment applications)
· ArkNet site: https://www.arknet.arkansas.gov/
or call using
ArkLine 1-501-907-2590 (To file continued/weekly regular
hours of operation for EZARC
site are: 6:00AM - 6:00PM on all days.
Scheduled hours of operation for ArkNet and ArkLine are:
Monday – Friday, 6:00AM - 6:00PM and Sunday, 12:01 AM - 6:00 PM
PUA Site: https://pua.arkansas.gov/home
File Initial and Weekly Claims for PUA Benefits)
hours of operation for PUA site:
6:00AM – 6:00PM on all days.
will be directed for regular unemployment insurance or PUA based on the
information you provide on the
Scheduled hours of operation:
Regular UI calls: Monday – Friday, 7:30AM – 4:30PM PUA
calls: Sunday – Friday, 6:00AM – 6:00PM
application for benefits: https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/src/files/PDF501_BLANK_v022020.pdf
· All claimant
forms can be found here: https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/ui-
Workforce Center locations can be found here: https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/contact/
Local offices are open Monday – Friday, 8:00AM – 4:30PM
Note: If you have attempted to access the online unemployment claims filing systems and call the UI
Hotline but have experienced delays or other issues due to the increased volume
of users, you may fill out a paper form. If you have access to a printer, you
may print off the application and take it to your local Arkansas Workforce
Center. Though in-person visits are discouraged, print applications are also
available for pick-up at the Arkansas Workforce Centers across the state.
Unemployment Insurance Inquiries:
This email address SHOULD NOT be used to file a claim.
Information Desk: 1-855-225-4440 or 501-682-2121
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I apply for unemployment?
Arkansans can apply for unemployment at the Arkansas Department of
Workforce Services. Their website is https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/employers/ar-claim-help/
and their phone number is 501-682-2121.
When will the $300 bonus weekly unemployment checks restart?
The weekly bonus will start December 26, 2020, and last until
March 14, 2021. This 11-week extension also has an overflow period that lasts
until April 5, 2021. This means a person who finds themselves unemployed in
early 2021 will receive an additional three weeks of aid. All additional
federal benefits will end on April 5, 2021 and return to the previous
unemployment insurance system.
Would the $300 weekly federal unemployment benefit be retroactive?
The $300 additional weekly benefit will only be available for the
week of December 26, 2020 and going forward.
How are the unemployment benefits calculated?
The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services determines the amount
of unemployment insurance each Arkansan receives based on their gross income.
The $300 federal weekly benefit is added on top of that sum. The average in
Arkansas is $220 per week, making the average weekly benefit under this program
$550 per week.
Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?
A general rule is that you should apply if you've lost your job or
been furloughed through no fault of your own. This would include a job lost
directly or indirectly because of the pandemic. Additionally, if you are
self-employed or an independent contractor experiencing job loss, you may be
eligible. Arkansans can contact the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services to
determine eligibility. Their website is https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/employers/ar-claim-help/
and their phone number is 501-682-2121.
Protection Program Round 2
Background: On December 27, President Trump signed legislation providing
emergency financial relief for Americans during the pandemic. Part of
that legislative package included a second round of Paycheck Protection Program
(PPP) funds that will allow eligible small businesses and nonprofits to apply
for forgivable loans. These funds can be used to keep employees on payroll and
provide money for eligible expenses.
Interested Borrowers/Lenders: If you are a potential borrower
interested in participating in the Paycheck Protection Program, you should
contact your financial institution and ask if they are a Small Business
Administration approved lender or if they intend to participate in the Paycheck
Protection Program. If so, they can help assist you through this process. If
you would like to find an approved SBA lender or if you are a financial
institution interested in participating in the program, you can contact the Small Business
Administration Arkansas District Office at (501) 324-7379.
Borrower Eligibility: The bill defines eligibility for loans as small businesses,
nonprofit organizations classified as a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) that meets
certain conditions, housing cooperatives, veterans organizations, Tribal businesses,
self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, independent contractors, small
agricultural cooperatives, as well as certain small news organizations. Businesses
primarily engaged in advocacy or lobbying activities are ineligible. Businesses
organized in China or Hong Kong or with a 20% or greater ownership stake by
individuals in China or Hong Kong are ineligible.
Eligibility: This legislation
provides authority to all current SBA 7(a) lenders who make these loans to
small businesses. It also provides that same authority to lenders who join the
program and make these loans. The SBA Administrator and the Treasury Secretary
can authorize additional lenders they deem to have the necessary qualifications
to process, close, disburse, and service these loans.
electricity, water, telephone, internet).
Rent (real and
PPE expenses: covered
worker protection and facility modification expenditures, including personal
protective equipment, to comply with COVID-19 federal health and safety
costs due to riots that occurred during 2020 that are not covered by insurance.
expenditures: pursuant to a contract, purchase order, or order for goods in
effect prior to taking out the loan that are essential to the recipient’s
operations at the time at which the expenditure was made. Supplier costs of
perishable goods can be made before or during the life of the loan.
payments: payments for software, cloud computing, and other human resources and
Size of Loans:
The loan amount
for most businesses will be 2 ½ times their monthly payroll, determined by calendar
year 2019 or the 1-year period before the date on which the loan is made. Businesses
classified under accommodation and food service (NAICS code 72) will be
eligible for loans up to 350% of their monthly payroll costs. Calculation is 2019
Payroll x 2.5 (or 3.5) divided by 12 (months) = maximum PPP loan
can select a covered period between 8 and 24 weeks to spend their PPP funds.
The maximum loan
amount is $2 million.
deadline is March 31, 2021 (or until funding runs out).
Other Changes to
This legislation simplifies the forgiveness application process for PPP loans
of $150,000 or less.
EIDL grant/PPP fix:
This legislation repeals the requirement of deducting the EIDL Advance Grant
($1,000/employee) from the PPP forgiveness amount.
Deduct forgiven expenses:
Deductions are now allowed for expenses paid with proceeds of a forgiven PPP
loan (and forgiven PPP loans not treated as taxable income).
is eligible for a second PPP loan?
businesses, some nonprofit organizations, self-employed workers and independent
contractors are among those eligible, provided they have 300 employees or less
and can demonstrate they experienced a 25% reduction in gross receipts during a
quarter in 2020 compared with the same quarter in 2019. First-time PPP
borrowers will be subject to the program’s original eligibility rules.
much is a business eligible for?
maximum for second-draw loans is $2 million. Second-time PPP borrowers will
generally be eligible to borrow an amount equal to 2½ times their average
monthly payroll costs. A notable exception: Applicants in the accommodation and
food services industries, as designated by the Small Business Administration,
are eligible for loans that amount to 3½ times their average monthly payroll.
are the forgiveness requirements?
are required to spend at least 60% of the funds on payroll to receive full
forgiveness. The other 40% may be used on eligible costs. These costs include
certain mortgage expenses, rent and utility payments. The bill expands
forgivable expenses to include expenditures for personal protective equipment
and other gear to protect workers; supplier costs; operations expenditures,
such as software; and property damage costs due to public disturbances during
can you include in calculating PPP loan amount?
costs consist of employee compensation (whose principal place of residence is
the United States) in the form of salary, wages, commissions, or similar
compensation; cash tips or the equivalent (based on employer records of past
tips or, in the absence of such records, a reasonable, good-faith employer
estimate of such tips); payment for vacation, parental, family, medical, or
sick leave; allowance for separation or dismissal; payment for the provision of
employee benefits consisting of group health care coverage, including insurance
premiums, and retirement; payment of state and local taxes assessed on
compensation of employees.
compensation replacement (if not a W-2 employee which would be included in
above) is based on 2019 Schedule C net profits, line 31. Divide that number by
12 and multiply that number by 2.5 which is 10 weeks worth of net profits for
PPP loans are calculated solely from 2019 Schedule C (or Schedule F) net
profits (as above). The maximum loan amount for non-employer borrowers is
do I apply?
loans are backed by the SBA but issued by financial institutions, such as
banks, credit unions, fintech companies, and community lenders. Interested
businesses should call their financial institution to see if they are
participating. SBA figures show 5,460 lenders were participating when PPP
closed in August.
will the program reopen?
bill requires the SBA to establish regulations on small-business support no
later than 10 days after the legislation is signed into law. That would mean
the program should be operational by the second week in January.
I be able to deduct money from PPP on my taxes when used for eligible expenses?
the bill changed IRS rules to allow for money received through PPP to qualify
for tax deductions.
is the loan forgiven?
entitites will submit forgiveness applications through their financial
institutions once the covered period for their loan has expired. The bill
provides a simplified forgiveness process for PPP loans under $150,000.
Borrowers in this category will need to complete a one-page certification
attesting they complied with program requirements, along with providing other
is the 25% reduction in revenues calculated?
owners will compare gross receipts of the business before expenses are
subtracted. They will compare those for any quarter in 2020 to the same quarter
in 2019 to determine if revenues decreased by at least 25%.
if you weren’t in business all of 2019?
business must have been in operation by Feb. 15, 2020 to be eligible.
you were not in business during the first or second quarter of 2019 but you
were in business in the third and fourth quarter of 2019, then you may compare
any quarter in 2020 with the third or fourth quarter of 2019
to determine whether gross receipts were reduced by at least 25%.
you were not in business during the first, second, or third quarter of 2019,
but you were in business in the fourth quarter of 2019, then you may compare
any quarter in 2020 with the fourth quarter of 2019 to determine whether gross
receipts were reduced by at least 25%.
business that wasn’t in business in 2019 but was in business before February
15, 2020 will compare gross receipts from the second, third or fourth quarter
of 2020 to that first quarter of 2020 to determine whether gross receipts were
reduced by at least 25%.
the first quarter runs January 1 – March 31, the second quarter runs from April
1 – June 30, the third quarter runs from July 1- Sept 30, and the fourth
quarter runs from October 1 – December 31st.
other forms of small-business aid are available?
Grants: The legislation
provides $15 billion for the SBA to make grants to live venue operators, such
as theaters and live performing arts organizations.
EIDL Loans: This legislation also provides $20 billion
for advance grants for applicants to the SBA’s economic-injury disaster loan
program. Small businesses and nonprofits in low-income communities that
received these grants and any small business or nonprofit that received an EIDL
advance previously are eligible to receive the full $10,000 if their award was
less than $10,000 in the first round of grants.
SBA 7(a) Loans: The bill extends a provision that pays the
principal and interest on behalf of borrowers that have certain SBA loans, such
as 7(a) loans, the agency’s flagship loan offering. It also provides support
for the 7(a) program by increasing the amount of the SBA’s guarantee for
Retention Tax Credit: The bill extends
the Employee Retention Tax Credit to July 1, 2021 and increases the fully
refundable portion of qualified wages from 50% to 70%. Employers are now able to
participate in both the Employee Retention Tax Credit and in the PPP.
Extension of Paid
Leave Credits: The bill extends
refundable payroll tax credits through March 31, 2021. These credits are no
longer mandated, but but owners can still take advantage of the tax credit
until March 31st. The bill also allows self-employed individuals to use their
average daily self-employment income from 2019, rather than 2020, for purposes
of computing these credits.
Unemployment Assistance: Extends the
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provides continued
unemployment assistance to the self-employed, freelancers, gig workers,
part-time workers and other individuals in non-traditional employment. It also
increases the number of weeks of PUA benefits an individual may claim, from 39
Passenger Transportation: $2 billion in
grants from the Department of the Treasury for passenger transportation
services, including the bus, motor coach, and passenger vessel industry.
Emergency Rental Assistance
Background: On December 27, President Trump signed
legislation providing emergency financial relief for Americans during the
pandemic. This legislation provides $25 billion in assistance for
struggling renters through Treasury Department disbursements to U.S.
territories, tribes, and cities. This legislation also extends the CDC eviction
moratorium for an additional month, through January 31, 2021.
Distribution of funds: Arkansas, as with all states, will
receive a minimum of $200 million through this program. Local jurisdictions
with a population greater than 200,000 may also apply directly to the Treasury
Department for additional emergency funding. Any amounts granted to local
jurisdictions will be reduced from the total amount granted to the state.
Eligibility: An eligible household must meet all the
Qualifies for unemployment, or has experienced a
reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced pandemic-related
Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or
Has a household income at or below 80% of the area
Households deemed eligible may receive up to 12 months of
assistance, plus an additional three months if necessary. Grantees have
flexibility to devise additional eligibility criteria at their discretion. Grantees
can only commit to assistance in three-month intervals, after which point an
eligible household must re-apply for funds. Grantees may not make commitments
for prospective rent payments to an eligible household unless assistance has
also been provided to reduce that household’s overdue payments.
Application prioritization: Grantees shall prioritize
consideration of applications for eligible households that are at or below 50%
of the area median income, or where one or more members of the household has
been unemployed for 90 days or longer.
Applying for relief: Applications for rental
assistance may be made directly to a grantee by either an eligible household or
by a landlord on behalf of that eligible household. In general, grantees will
provide funds directly to landlords and/or utility service providers. If a
landlord does not wish to participate, the grantee may provide funds directly
to eligible households.
Arkansans who are interested in applying for rental
assistance should contact their Arkansas Community Action Agency. Information
for these agencies can be found here.