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March 18, 2020

COVID-19 Declaration of Local Disaster

For best information on COVID-19, please click the link for San Juan Basin Health below.

To the right you will find the Declaration of Local Disaster signed by County Administrator Scott Wall along with the approved Resolution 2020-95 extending the...

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Latest Update:

April 3, 2020 11:24 AM

Support for Workers, Families, and Employers
To Address the Economic Fallout of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Crisis
Direct Economic Support Payments (“Recovery Rebates”):
• Eligibility and structure of the $1,200 payment per taxpayer and $500
payment per child:
o The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides
for a $1,200 direct economic support payment (“recovery rebate”) for
single tax filers and heads of households ($2,400 for married couples filing
joint returns), along with a $500 payment per qualifying child dependent
under age 17.
o The total amount of payments for which the taxpayer is eligible phases out
at a 5% rate ($50 per $1,000 earned) above adjusted gross incomes of
$75,000 for single filers; $122,500 for taxpayers filing as a head of
household; and $150,000 for taxpayers filing jointly.
o There is no minimum income, meaning that all recipients with incomes
below the phase-out thresholds will receive the same amount.
• How and when to claim:
o For tax filers: These payments are structured as tax credits automatically
advanced to households in 2020 if they filed an income tax return for 2019
and will be received as a direct deposit or check by mail. If a 2019 return
has not been filed, rebates will be advanced automatically based on 2018
return information.
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o For Social Security and Railroad Retirement recipients: The legislation
allows the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) to work to deliver payments to Social Security and Railroad
Retirement recipients who did not file an income tax return automatically
in 2020 based on information on their 2019 Social Security or Railroad
Retirement Benefit Statement. However, in the meantime, to ensure
prompt delivery, we encourage Social Security and Railroad Retirement
beneficiaries to file a simple form that will be made available by the IRS.
o For people who do not ordinarily file: Otherwise eligible individuals who
did not file a 2019 or 2018 income tax return will generally not
automatically receive the benefit in 2020. In order to receive the benefit in
2020, these individuals will need to file a 2019 (or 2018) income tax return.
Alternatively, they can file and claim this benefit on their 2020 tax return
next year. Taxpayers who were not eligible in 2019 or 2018 but become
eligible in 2020 may claim the payment when they file their 2020 tax return
as well.
• More information:
o More information from the IRS is available HERE. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know
Unemployment Benefits:
Benefits for Workers:
• Unemployment weekly benefit increased by $600: The CARES Act provides an
additional $600 per week in unemployment compensation beyond the base
unemployment benefit amount for every American effective July 31, 2020. This
increase is designed to result in approximately full replacement of lost wages for
the average American who has been laid off or furloughed due to the public
health crisis.
• Unemployment benefit extended by 13 weeks: Employees will be able to file
for an additional 13 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits, beyond the 26
weeks already provided in Colorado. That means that employees in Colorado
who have lost their jobs or been furloughed can now file for up to a total of 39
weeks of unemployment, and people who have been on unemployment and
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were at risk of having those benefits exhaust during the public health crisis can
now extend the duration of that assistance for 13 additional weeks.
• New unemployment benefits for individuals who do not qualify for regular
unemployment compensation: Workers who did not previously qualify for
unemployment compensation can now access Pandemic Unemployment
Assistance (PUA). You may now qualify for unemployment if:
o You work for an employer who temporarily ceases operations or furloughs
employees due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
o You are quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the
quarantine is over;
o You leave employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for
a family member; or
o You are a self-employed worker (including gig workers and independent
contractors), part-time worker, or have a limited work history and would
otherwise be eligible for unemployment benefits. Previously, workers in
these categories were often excluded from receiving benefits.
• More information/how to apply:
o Guidance on whether you now qualify for unemployment benefits is
available HERE. https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/unemployment-insurance
o File for unemployment benefits in Colorado HERE.https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/unemployment
For Employers, Sole Proprietors, Independent Contractors, Gig Workers:
• Short-time compensation and work-sharing: The CARES Act provides federal
funding to pay workers when employers are forced to reduce hours because of
COVID-19. Employers can access funding to support short-time compensation
(STC) or work share programs, in which employers reduce employees’ hours
instead of furloughing them completely or laying them off. The employees with
reduced hours receive a pro-rated unemployment benefit. Alongside continued
payment by the employer for hours worked, the CARES Act will pay 100 percent
of the costs of providing short-time compensation to make up for employees’
reduced hours through 2020, including for Colorado’s Work-Share Program.
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o More information on Colorado’s Work-Share program is available HERE. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/layoffassistance
• Contractors, gig workers, self-employed, and 1099 income: As noted above,
contractors, gig workers, the self-employed, and 1099 income are generally
eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance under the new emergency
legislation.
Paid Sick and Family Leave:
For Workers:
• Two weeks of emergency paid sick leave: The Families First Coronavirus
Response Act (“Families First”) requires public agencies regardless of size and
private companies with 500 employees or fewer to offer two weeks (10 work days
or 80 hours) of emergency paid sick leave for employees that are:
o Quarantined, pursuant to a federal, state, or local government order or at
the advice of a health care provider; and/or experiencing COVID-19
symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis. These employees will receive
their regular rate of pay, up to a cap of $511 per day.
o Unable to work because they need to care for an individual subject to
quarantine or care for a child under 18 years of age whose school or child
care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19. These employees
will receive two-thirds of their pay, up to a cap of $200 per day.
• 10 Weeks of required paid family and medical leave for workers caring for a
child whose school or daycare has been closed because of COVID-19: The
Families First legislation requires that employers with fewer than 500 employees
offer 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers caring for a child
whose school or day care had been shut down due to COVID-19.
• Additional information:
o Additional details on paid sick and paid family and medical leave for
employees are available HERE. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave
o Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) are available HERE. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
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For Employers, Sole Proprietors, Independent Contractors and Gig Workers:
• Tax credit for paid sick and paid family and medical leave: The Families First
Act created a new federal tax credit of 100% of the costs of providing wages
while on sick leave for all employers with fewer than 500 employees to fully offset
the cost of these COVID-19-related employment interruptions.
• Required paid sick leave: All companies with 500 employees or fewer are now
required to offer two weeks of paid sick leave for employees that are unable to
work as a result of coronavirus.
• Exemption: Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for
exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child
care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the
business as a going concern.
• Additional information:
o Additional details on paid sick and paid family and medical leave for
employers are available HERE. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave
o Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) are available HERE. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
Food and Nutrition:
• Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP): More information on how to
access SNAP (formerly known as “food stamps”) in Colorado is available HERE https://www.hungerfreecolorado.org/covid-19/
and HERE. https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/361
• Child nutrition programs: More information on how to access child nutrition
programs in Colorado is available HERE https://www.coloradowic.gov/ and HERE. https://www.hungerfreecolorado.org/covid-19/
• Funding for home-delivered meals to seniors: The Families First legislation
included $250 million for the Senior Nutrition program in the Administration for
Community Living (ACL) to provide approximately 25 million additional homedelivered and pre-packaged meals to low-income seniors who depend on the
Senior Nutrition programs in their communities. For seniors looking for assistance
getting nutritious foods, call the Aging Disability Resources for Colorado Office at
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1.844.265.2372. More information about other nutrition programs for seniors in
Colorado is available HERE https://www.voacolorado.org/gethelp-denvermetro-foodnutrition and HERE. https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Index.aspx
• School meals: The CARES Act included $8.8 billion to give schools more flexibility
to provide meals for students. In Colorado, school districts are implementing
grab and go meals for all children under the age of 18. Use the interactive map to
find free meals for kids HERE https://dhsem.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=9d4c088bca3b4166994dcb0dbbec6f94 . You can also text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to
receive the information via text.
• Food banks: Recent legislation also included $450 million more for food banks
and other community food distribution programs. Find links to major Colorado
food banks here:
o Care and Share Food Bank
https://careandshare.org/
o Food Bank of the Rockies (food locations)
https://www.foodbankrockies.org/
o Food Bank for Larimer County (food locations)
https://foodbanklarimer.org/
o Community Food Share (Boulder)
https://communityfoodshare.org/
o Weld Food Bank
https://weldfoodbank.org/
o More on food and nutrition services in Colorado is available HERE. https://www.voacolorado.org/gethelp-denvermetro-foodnutrition
Small Businesses and Nonprofits:
• The Paycheck Protection Program: The CARES Act included nearly $350 billion
in funding to create a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP will provide
small businesses and other entities such as non-profits with zero-fee loans of up
to $10 million. The Small Business Administration will forgive up to 8 weeks of
payroll and other costs, such as rent and utilities, if the business maintains its
number of full-time equivalent employees and salary levels, relative to a baseline
period before the COVID-19 crisis began.
o Types of businesses and non-profits that can apply: The program is
open to small businesses, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, 501(c)(19)
veterans organizations, or certain tribal business organizations that are
under 500 employees. Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and
other self-employed individuals are also eligible.
o How a lender determines eligibility: For eligibility purposes, instead of
requiring lenders to determine repayment ability, lenders will only need to
determine whether a business was operational on February 15, 2020 and if
it had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes. The borrower
will also need to certify that the loan is necessary due to the economic
challenges due to the pandemic. Eligible employers can use the loan to
maintain payroll as well as cover mortgage, lease, or utility costs.
o Amounts forgiven: The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally
by any reduction in employees or reduction in salaries beyond 25 percent
of total payroll, as compared to a baseline period prior to the COVID-19
crisis. To encourage employers to rehire employees who have already
been laid off due to the COVID--19 crisis, borrowers will not be penalized
for having a reduced payroll at the beginning of the period so long as the
employer eliminates the reduction in the number of employees and/or
salary levels by June 30, 2020.
o More information on the Paycheck Protection Program is available HERE. https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses
• Economic injury disaster loans and grants: The CARES Act includes $10 billion
in funding to provide an advance grant of up to $10,000 to small businesses and
nonprofits that apply for an SBA economic injury disaster loan (EIDL). The
businesses will receive the grant within three days of applying for the loan. EIDLs
can total up to $2 million and carry interest rates up to 3.75 percent for
companies and up to 2.75 percent for nonprofits, as well as principal and interest
deferment for up to 4 years. The loans may be used to pay for expenses that
could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other
operating expenses.
o Grants do not need to be repaid: The initial EIDL grant does not need to
be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EIDL. The grant
may be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintain payroll,
meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay
business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.
o Eligibility: Eligible grant recipients must have been in operation on
January 31, 2020. The grant is available to small businesses, private
nonprofits, sole proprietors and independent contractors, tribal
businesses, as well as cooperatives and employee-owned businesses with
fewer than 500 employees.
o Converting to a PPP loan: A business that receives an EIDL between
January 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020 as a result of a COVID-19 disaster
declaration is eligible to apply for a PPP loan. The business may not use a
PPP loan to meet the same obligations as an EIDL or other existing SBA
loan, but it may refinance an existing EIDL into a PPP loan. In either case,
the emergency EIDL grant award of up to $10,000 would be subtracted
from the amount forgiven in the payroll protection plan.
• Immediate debt relief for borrowers: The CARES Act includes $17 billion in
funding to provide immediate relief to small businesses with standard SBA 7(a),
504, or microloans. Specifically, SBA will cover all loan payments for existing SBA
borrowers, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. This relief will
also be available to new borrowers who take out an SBA loan within six months
after the President signs the bill. The borrower will not have to repay the SBA or
their bank for the six months of debt relief.
• Small business tax relief:
o Deferral of payroll taxes: The CARES Act defers the employer side of
certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020. Deferred taxes will not
become due until end of 2021 and end of 2022, with 50% of the liability
being paid at each date. Any business that does not have a loan forgiven
under the new SBA Paycheck Protection Program is eligible for the payroll
tax deferral.
o Employee retention credit: The CARES Act provides an employee
retention tax credit for businesses that are not eligible or choose not to
participate in the new SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Any
business that has been forced to fully or partially suspend operations, or
that has seen a significant drop in revenues is eligible for a 50-percent
credit for wages paid to furloughed or reduced-hour employees. For
businesses with 100 employees or less, the credit is based on all wages
paid, regardless of whether an employee is furloughed. There is an overall
limit on wages per employee of $10,000. The credit can be claimed against
the business’s quarterly payroll tax liability and is fully refundable to the
extent of excess. There will also be options to receive advance payments.
More information on the employee retention credit is available
HERE. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-employee-retention-credit-available-for-many-businesses-financially-impacted-by-covid-19
• More information:
o For more information on Small Business Administration (SBA)
programs:
Visit the SBA COVID-19 guidance page HERE. https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
Sign up HERE https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USSBA/subscriber/new?topic_id=USSBA_77 for e-mail updates for the latest news and information
from the Colorado SBA.
o Colorado OEDIT Small Business Navigator hotline and email: For
businesses seeking general guidance, information on access to capital
programs, workforce development concerns, and other areas small
businesses are affected by COVID-19, the Small Business Navigator hotline
is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MT.
Hotline: (303) 860-5881
Email: oedit_sbnavigator@state.co.us
General Business:
The CARES Act made a major commitment to support businesses and nonprofits of all
sizes, through a Treasury-Federal Reserve fund:
• General business, nonprofit, and financial stability support: The $454 billion
of capital in that fund will be levered up to many times that amount, providing
trillions of dollars in loans to businesses and nonprofits, while enabling the
Federal Reserve to support stability in our financial markets.
• Support to airlines and airline workers: The legislation also provides $25 billion
in direct assistance to passenger airlines and billions more to cargo airlines,
enabling them to maintain employment and benefits and tide themselves over
until we get to the other side of this crisis.
o More information will be forthcoming on these programs from the
Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve.
Nonprofit Support:
Non-profits will be able to access many of the Small Business Administration, TreasuryFederal Reserve, and tax benefits described above. This includes:
• Deferral of employer-side payroll taxes (see above);
• The Employee Retention Tax Credit (see above);
• SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (see above); and
• Credit: The CARES Act authorized a program to allow any mid-sized nonprofit
between 500 and 10,000 employees to obtain access to quick, low-cost, government
guaranteed credit through their local lender or financial institution. The law
prescribes that the loans must carry an interest rate of no greater than 2% and to
provide forbearance on principal and interest for at least the first 6 months. Any loan
recipient will have to attest that they’ll use the money to keep workers employed – at
least to 90% of their payroll – and keep workers paid at close to full compensation
and benefits.
Other Benefits:
• Tax Day pushed back from April 15 to July 15: The Treasury Department and
Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing due date is
automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also
defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020,
without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.
o Eligibility: This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals,
trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well
as those who pay self-employment tax.
o No action needed: Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or
call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment
relief.
o More information is available HERE. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-day-now-july-15-treasury-irs-extend-filing-deadline-and-federal-tax-payments-regardless-of-amount-owed
• Additional flexibility for withdrawals from retirement accounts: The CARES
Act provides a waiver of the penalty for early distributions from IRAs and defined
contribution plans (such as 401(k) plans) in the case of COVID-19-related
distributions. It also waives minimum distributions are that are required to be
made in 2020 from defined contribution plans (such as 401(k) plans) and IRAs. If and when additional information is made available by the IRS, it will be posted
HERE.https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
• Student loan relief: To alleviate the pressure of student loan costs during this
crisis, the federal stimulus includes tax relief encouraging employers to
implement student loan repayment programs. This provision will exclude up to
$5,250 in qualifying student loan repayments paid by the employer on behalf of
the employee from income for income tax purposes.
• Federal student loan borrowers: Borrowers do not need to make payments on
student loans held by the federal government (Direct Loans and FFEL Loans held
by the U.S. Department of Education) through September 30, 2020. No interest
will accrue on these loans during this period. Borrowers with commercially-held
FFEL loans and Perkins Loans are not eligible, and private student loan borrowers
are not eligible. The Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid
provides real-time updates and guidance on coronavirus and loan forbearance
for students, borrowers, and parents HERE. https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus#borrower-questions
• Emergency relief for students impacted by COVID-19: Students are eligible for
emergency financial aid grants from their institutions to meet unexpected and
urgent needs related to coronavirus, such as expenses related to food, housing,
course materials, technology, health care, and child care. Students who are
currently participating in the Federal Work Study program can continue to
receive work-study payments from their institution if they ae unable to work due
to workplace closures. Students can find more information from the state and
their schools about changes and resources HERE.https://highered.colorado.gov/Staying_informed_about_COVID-19.html
• Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): This bill provides
$900 million for LIHEAP, a federally-funded program to assist families with energy
costs in order to ensure families are able to heat and cool their homes. More
information on how to apply for LIHEAP in Colorado is available HERE. https://liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/profiles/Colorado.htm