How the Paycheck Protection Program can help freelancers

The need-to-know:

Freelancers are eligible for forgivable loans to cover 8 weeks of your pay + some expenses like rent and utilitiesYou do not need to prove hardship or lost income to qualify for the loan, or provide collateralYou are more likely to find a lender if you already have a business banking accountStart your application here

On March 10, applications to the federal Paycheck Protection Program will open to freelancers. The program, which opened on March 3 for business owners with fewer than 500 employees, is a loan provided for by the CARES Act, and is another financial tool in addition to expanded unemployment insurance to help you get through the coronavirus pandemic. (If you have not yet applied for unemployment insurance, be sure to do so!)

Meant to encourage small business owners to retain their employees during the pandemic, the loans are calculated to cover 8 weeks’ worth of a business’ payroll expenses, plus 25% more for things like rent and utilities. The good news: if the money is used for those purposes (75% of the cash must be used for payroll), it will be forgiven, transforming this loan into a grant.

(If you don’t use the money in the

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