CARES Act - Financial Assistance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides relief to families, small businesses, and to individuals who are self-employed and independent contractors. Various relief programs may be available to real estate brokerages and agents.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

A key provision in the law creates a temporary "Pandemic Unemployment Assistance" program that extends unemployment benefits to those not traditionally eligible, including self-employed individuals.

The unemployment assistance may be available to individuals who are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work for the weeks impacted as a result of COVID-19 between Jan. 27- Dec. 31, 2020.   


Disaster Loans and the Payroll Protection Plan

The CARES Act dramatically increased the role of the Small Business Administration (SBA) in efforts to assist U.S. businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. There were two main vehicles for these relief efforts – Economic Injury Disaster Loans – and the SBA 7(a) Payroll Protection Plan loan program.

See below for details of each program.

Accepting New Applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance (Updated 6/18)

Funding has resumed and the restriction that only agricultural business can apply has been removed.  Economic Injury Disaster Loans provide an advance of up to $10,000. This advance is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. Recipients do not have to be approved for a loan in order to receive the advance, but the amount of the loan advance will be deducted from total loan eligibility.  Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Eligible small businesses and agricultural businesses may apply for the Loan Advance here.

Payroll Protection Program - SBA 7(a)

The Paycheck Protection Program provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses that maintain their payroll during this emergency. Businesses with 500 employees or fewer, including sole proprietors and independent contractors, may be eligible for SBA 7(a) loans in response to COVID-19 covering expenses for the period of Feb. 15, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020. The CARES Act appropriates $349 billion to cover these loans.

(Updated September 30) The U.S. Treasury Department has announced that the SBA will begin processing PPP loan forgiveness applications, following a delay which left many caught in a backlog. PPP borrowers are eligible for forgiveness if they meet the program’s requirements, which include using at least 60% of the funds for payroll costs and the remainder for other eligible uses (including rent, utility bills, and mortgage interest) during the covered period. For full forgiveness requirements, visit PPP borrowers should submit their forgiveness applications directly to the SBA lender with whom they worked, who will them pass them to the SBA for processing. For detailed instructions on how to fill out the PPP EZ Forgiveness application form, watch NAR’s step-by-step video.

The SBA is expected to quickly approve forgiveness applications for loans less than $2 million, with reports that the backlog may be cleared in as little as two weeks. PPP borrowers have 10 months from the end of their loan’s covered period to apply for forgiveness before any payments are due on the loans.