We recognize that recent times have not been business as usual. AEP Ohio is working closely with our business community as we navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
\We understand the critical need to keep the power flowing so your business can continue to operate. We’re taking extra precautions to keep our crews safe and healthy to make sure that happens.
Whether you’re a sole proprietor or an employee of many, our business experts can talk with you about the following information so you can stand strong in the weeks ahead:
- Payment plans that will help you navigate through challenging financial times
- Suspended processing fees on credit and debit card bill payments through June 30, 2020
- Loan programs, such as the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, that can be used to pay utility bills
- Energy usage and facility insights to help guide budget decisions
- Information on bonus incentives to purchase and implement energy efficient products for your business
- Tips to avoid scammers and keep your information safe during these uncertain times
- Actionable advice on energy management strategies & technologies for your business
To learn more about these programs give our business support experts a call at 888-710-4237.
To help support our business customers we’ve compiled the below list of available federal, state and local resources.
*We have obtained this information from multiple, reliable sources. We are working diligently to keep the content up-to-date, but cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness given its rapidly-evolving nature.
The Paycheck Protection Program – part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act – is a nearly $350-billion program from the Small Business Association (SBA) intended to help small businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- There is no cost to apply.
- SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
- You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any participating bank or credit union through June 30, 2020.
Who is eligible?
Small businesses in operation on February 15, 2020 with less than 500 employees whose principal residence is the U.S. (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19. Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries. Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible at the store and location level if the store employs less than 500 workers.
How much and what are the terms?
The maximum loan amount is your monthly payroll cost times 2.5, up to $10 million. Loans have a maturity of 2 years and a 1.0% interest rate. Loan payments will be deferred for six months. No personal guarantee or collateral is required. There are no fees.
What can the funds be used for?
The funds can be used for:
- Payroll, wages, commissions or similar compensation
- Payment for vacation, parental, family, medical or sick leave
- Payment for the provision of employee benefits
- Payment of state and local taxes assessed on compensation
- Mortgage interest payments
- Rent and lease payments
Can the loan be forgiven?
Yes, with the right planning, your loan can effectively be a grant. The amount of forgiveness can be up to the full principal and any accrued interest. The loan can be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. No more than 25% of the forgiven amount can be used for non-payroll costs and salaries above $100,000 are excluded. Forgiveness is based on the business maintaining or restoring employment and wage levels by June 30, 2020, and is reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.
How can I apply?
You can apply for a loan directly through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or participating bank or credit union through June 30, 2020.
- Contact your bank and inquire if they are participating.
- Download a copy of the PPP borrower application form to see the information that will be requested when you apply. You will also need payroll documentation and other documents as required by your lender.
- Find a lender here.
- Learn more about the program here.
Another option for small businesses is the SBA’s existing Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which was expanded and simplified by the CARES Act. It provides for longer-term working capital loans with favorable borrowing terms, plus offers an emergency advance (grant) to provide immediate economic relief.
- There is no cost to apply.
- The program offers up to a $10,000 emergency loan advance, which shall be paid by the SBA within three days of application and does not need to be paid back.
- Loans, as modified through the CARES Act, are offered directly through the SBA until December 31, 2020.
Who is eligible?
Businesses in operation since January 31, 2020 with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships and independent contractors) and private non-profit organizations affected by COVID-19. Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.
How much and what are the terms?
The SBA issues the EIDL loans directly at a low-interest rate (3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits) for up to $2 million and a maturity of up to 30 years, depending on need. The first year of payments are deferred. Approval is based on the applicant’s credit score. Collateral is required for loans over $25,000. Personal guarantees are required for loans over $200,000.
What can I use the funds for?
EIDL loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other costs including utility payments.
Can an advance be requested?
The CARES Act allows applicants to request a loan advance of up to $10,000 to pay their working capital needs. The advance is expected to be paid by the SBA within 3 days. This advance is essentially a grant and is not required to be repaid, even if the application is denied. If you are also applying for a PPP loan, the amount of the advance must be deducted from any loan forgiveness amounts under the PPP loan.
Can a business get an EIDL and a Paycheck Protection Program loan?
Yes, small businesses can get both as long as they aren’t used to pay for the same expenses. If you apply for an EIDL and the grant, as well as a PPP loan, the amount forgiven under the PPP loan will be decreased by the $10,000 grant.
How can I apply?
The SBA issues the EIDL loans directly. To apply online for a loan, click here. Applications must be submitted before December 31, 2020.
The CARES Act includes several changes to taxes and tax policies in order to ease the burden on businesses impacted by COVID-19. These changes include:
- Employee Retention Tax Credit - Small businesses may be eligible for refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by employers to employees from March 12, 2020 to January 31, 2021. The credit is available to employers whose (1) operations were fully or partially suspended, due to a COVID-19 related shut-down order, or (2) gross receipts declined by more than 50 percent when compared to the same quarter in the prior year.
- Advanced Tax Credits for Paid Leave - The CARES Act allows employers to receive an advance tax credit for required paid sick leave (under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act) instead of having to be reimbursed.
- Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes - Employers and self-employed individuals may defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security tax they otherwise are responsible for paying.
- Net Operating Loss Modifications - The provision relaxes the limitations on a company’s use of losses. Net operating losses (NOLs) are currently subject to a taxable-income limitation, and they cannot be carried back to reduce income in a prior tax year. The provision also temporarily removes the taxable income limitation to allow an NOL to fully offset income. These changes will allow companies to utilize losses and amend prior year returns, which will provide critical cash flow and liquidity during the COVID-19 emergency.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce – provides extensive resources and relief information for small businesses.
- SBA Express Loan – The CARES Act increases the maximum SBA Express loan—a loan whose application SBA will process in 36 hours—from $350,000 to $1 million through December 31, 2020.
- SBA Express Bridge Loan – This allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. It can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while applying and waiting for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan.
- SBA Debt Relief – As part of SBA's debt relief efforts, it will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months. The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – The IRS has established content to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. The federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15 to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.
- SCORE – A resource partner of the SBA, SCORE is offering free, personalized assistance to help small businesses adapt their business models, navigate financial challenges and get help in applying for SBA disaster assistance loans.
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) – SBDCs are local offices sponsored by the SBA to help small businesses that are offering extensive help to small businesses throughout America.
- Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) – EXIM is offering a number of relief measures and financing flexibility for exporters, including a bridge financing program, supply chain financing guarantee program and a working capital guarantee program.
- Department of Agriculture – The Department of Agriculture offers loan guarantees for rural businesses.
- Commercial Programs – Some lenders are offering loan payment deferment or discounted loan programs to small businesses. Check with your business’s bank about your options. Also, several corporations are offering small business assistance programs, including Facebook’s Small Business Grant Program.
The SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for small businesses, small agricultural co-ops and most private non-profit organizations. EIDLs provide necessary working capital to help small businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. Learn more about EIDLs and how to apply on their website or by emailing BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.Gov.
JobsOhio, Peoples Bank and First Federal/Home Savings Bank announced a partnership to support existing small business clients with maintaining operations and payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. JobsOhio has committed up to $50 million to assist with this. For information on how to apply for this lending support, businesses should visit one of these links:
Loan Portfolio Interest and Payment Holiday A program for businesses with a current JobsOhio’s existing loan only. Payment deferment (no interest and no principal payments) for the next six months.
Program & Policy Adjustments A program for existing JobsOhio client businesses only. Expand allowable expenses and near-term relaxed compliance audit. Allows for expenses such as work from home technology and equipment and services to implement guidance associated with COVID-19. These are funded upfront versus reimbursed.
Workforce Retention Loan A program for existing JobsOhio client businesses only. Forgivable, six-month interest-free loan to companies who would use the loan to retain their workforce (this would act as a credit line for payroll). Targeted to medium size private companies with at least $50,000/month in hourly payroll workers. After six, if employees are still working the loan is forgiven.
Learn more about JobsOhio assistance by clicking here.
All health insurers are required to provide the option of deferring premium payments, interest free, for up to 60 calendar days from each original premium due date. This means that employers can defer their premium payments up to two months, giving them some relief on costs, while keeping their employees insured. Learn more here.
The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) has the SharedWork Ohio Program, a voluntary layoff aversion program. It allows workers to remain employed and employers to retain trained staff during times of reduced business activity. More information on SharedWork Ohio, including employer FAQs, can be found on their website.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation is accepting and making determinations of eligibility on new claims during the state of emergency. They have canceled all Independent Medical Exams and have made the decision to continue payments for Temporary Total Disability and Wage Loss through April 30, 2020. A new policy directive enables employers to defer workers’ compensation premium payments until June 1, 2020. More information about the policy change can be found here. For additional information, go to Ohio's BWC Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions page here.
The Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide business counseling and assistance to individuals who are either starting or growing their business. Each center is staffed with Certified Business Advisors® (CBA) to help small businesses and entrepreneurs with development and growth to increase sales and create jobs in their local communities.
- Business assessment evaluation
- Cash flow analysis
- Financial projections development
- Strategic business planning
- One-on-One business counseling
- Identifying sources of capital
- Workshops and training programs
- Marketing strategy development
- Market feasibility and research
- Export assistance
For additional information visit the SBDC website here.
The one-time Liquor Rebate Program is designed to help Ohio bars and restaurants as they navigate reopening in the coming weeks.
Eligible permit holders can receive a $500 rebate to purchase high proof spirituous liquor at their assigned wholesale Contract Liquor Agency.
JobsOhio and the Ohio Department of Commerce are working together to assist businesses’ efforts to maintain operations as a result of the health crisis.
For program FAQs, to view qualifying permits and to apply, visit Wholesale.OHLQ.com
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded program that provides eligible Ohioans assistance with their home energy bills. This one-time benefit is applied directly to the customer’s utility bill or bulk fuel bill.
Ohioans with a household income at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for the program. A household applying for HEAP must report total gross household income for the past 30 days (12 months preferred) for all members, except wage or salary income earned by dependent minors under 18 years old. Both homeowners and renters are eligible for assistance.
To learn more call (800) 282-0880, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Press option 2 to be transferred to your local Energy Assistance Provider.
For the hearing-impaired dial 711.
For additional information on our response to COVID-19, please click here.