To check on your status or apply today!
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC):
The new Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provision in the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020” (CARES Act) adds an additional $600/week to any benefit payment for which you are eligible.
Under this new law, the first week for which the additional $600 is payable is benefit week ending April 4, 2020. Assuming continuing eligibility, the last week the FPUC $600 addition may be paid is benefit week ending July 25, 2020.
FPUC payments are taxable by the federal government. Any withholding from benefits you have elected, or may elect, for federal income taxes will also apply to the new FPUC payments.
FPUC payments are also subject to offset for child support payments and benefit overpayments.
Yes, you are reading right. Unemployment Benefits, including the $600 additional weekly payment are beginning to roll out. However, as is stated very clearly in this video, the Montana Department of Labor & Industry are working diligently to add the self-employed and independent contractors to the system. Once that has been completed, self-employed and ICs will begin receiving their benefits, including the $600, which in many cases will be retroactive.
We understand that waiting for these funds to hit is stressful - know you are not alone in this. There are other programs that might help you with electric or other utilities. Find that information here.
"Do I need to apply to receive the additional $600 per week on my unemployment claim?
If you have already filed a claim that is in process or have filed a claim and are currently receiving benefits, you do not need to take any action to receive the additional $600 per week. As U.S. DOL provides federal guidance on those payments, you will be issued those payments as they become available.
Videos to assist you with filing your claim: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkx11XAxr6McUCzF5R2627iihYR_q5syc [youtube.com]
A press release, which includes a lot of details, can be found here: https://news.mt.gov/governor-bullock-announces-emergency-rules-to-streamline-unemployment-benefits-for-workers-impacted-by-covid-19
Please check this website for updates on Self Employment and when we will begin processing those new claims: http://dli.mt.gov/self-employed-contractors.
If you return to work and continue to file, please report your full hours and gross earnings when you file for benefits. We do not ask you for your hourly rate, but rather full gross earnings. Not reporting hours and earnings can result in fraud penalties and overpayments.
Please attempt to use our website at MontanaWorks.gov first. It is the fastest and most efficient way to open and request payment. The phone lines are extremely busy and we are experiencing statewide connection phone issues. Our phones lines continue to be open at this time. You can attempt to contact us at 406-444-2545 but please understand it is very difficult to reach us due to the extreme volume of calls."
(This is an email response from a UI representative).
This was an email sent to those that have applied for SBA funds:
On March 29, 2020, following the passage of the CARES Act, the SBA provided small business owners and non-profits impacted by COVID-19 with the opportunity to obtain up to a $10,000 Advance on their Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). The Advance is available as part of the full EIDL application and will be transferred into the account you provide shortly after your application is submitted. To ensure that the greatest number of applicants can receive assistance during this challenging time, the amount of your Advance will be determined by the number of your pre-disaster (i.e., as of January 31, 2020) employees. The Advance will provide $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of $10,000.
You may be eligible for another loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program, which is available through participating lenders. Below is a comparison of the two loan programs:
For all of us, we are waiting on our stimulus checks to show... any day now would be great!
The IRS just updated their website and they allow for 'non-filers' meaning:
In addition to this, they will have a "Get My Payment" site up and running by mid-April.
So, hopefully this week... we all will be able to access our money or at least have a better idea of where it is!
To stay up to date with the IRS and your stimulus check
"I owe the IRS... during COVID... now what?"
For those that have filed their returns, have been processed, and like many I.C.s... owe money, there are options.
It's hard enough to owe the IRS as a guide but it is even more difficult to owe money during COVID. We can't work, have no income, and don't know when our next check will be.
The good news is, we do have options. And hopefully as things progress, we will have more as the economy reboots.
For some help on what to do right now
And just a reminder... the tax filing date has been moved back to July 15, 2020.
We spoke with a representative from the Montana DLI yesterday in regard to applying as BOTH a W2 and 1099:
Here are two important things you need to know when applying for UI:
The morning of April 7, 2020 the MGRP team spoke with representatives from Senator John Tester’s office to pose specific questions about unemployment insurance, the Payroll Protection Loan (PPP), and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). While there are still many questions that we are seeking answers for, we hope the information we garnered will be helpful. We do encourage you to continue asking questions and we will work to get them answered.
-In operation.... obviously, no one is guiding February 15th around MT.
-Had employees... there again, we are seasonal and do not keep our shop open during the winter months, we live in a very small town, fly fishing is the economy.
-Paid payroll taxes on or around February 15th. Once again, we shut down our payroll system through the winter months and as owners, we basically take draws from November to April as we pay into the system during the season when we have cash flow.
This whole ordeal is fairy disheartening.”
Notes from MGRP:
During our time of talking with experts, we have come to conclude that the PPP loan is likely not a great fit for career guides or those who serve as an independent contractor as the forgiveness aspect is based on payroll for employees. It seems to us that unemployment, the SBA and EIDL loans/grants will be the best aspect.
If you are thinking about applying for the PPP loan, we encourage you to talk with your financial advisor or institution first. They can help you prepare the necessary documents and assist with the process.
They said that any application that is denied, the government is working to set up a Federal Reserve Fund to assist. No date or more information was provided.
Lastly, they ask to please be patient, they are working hard to get Montanans taken care of.
Please let us know if you have any questions, we are happy to help!