Denied Credit? 5 Facts You Should Know About Your Credit Report

Sometimes people when they are young they tend to mess up their credit. But it comes back to haunt you when you ready to make a big purchase and the creditor says no way! Even if you have a negative credit report there are some things you can do to make it better when you know the facts. The first step is to get a copy of your credit report. There are many different places on the net offering a free credit report but, according to the federal trade commission, only one is approved by the FTC!

Fact 1

Under the law, everyone is entitled to a free annual report, and in certain situations, you are also entitled to a free report under federal law. You’re entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, such as denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment, and you ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action.

The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the credit reporting company. You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft. Otherwise, a credit reporting company may charge you a reasonable amount for another copy of your report within a 12-month period.

Fact 2

 The credit agency must correct inaccuracies or incomplete information — in your credit report

Under the FCRA, both the credit report­ing company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a consumer reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To take full advantage of your rights under this law, contact the credit reporting company and the information provider.

1. Tell the credit reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate.

Credit reporting companies must investigate the items in question — usually within 30 days — unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the credit reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the credit reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide credit reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.

When the investigation is complete, the credit reporting company must give you the written results and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. (This free report does not count as your annual free report.) If an item is changed or deleted, the credit reporting company cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. The credit reporting company also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider.

2. Tell the creditor or other information provider in writing that you dispute an item. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider reports the item to a credit reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute. And if you are correct — that is, if the information is found to be inaccurate — the information provider may not report it again.

Fact 3

A credit reporting company can report most accurate negative information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years.

There is no time limit on reporting information about crimi­nal convictions; information reported in response to your application for a job that pays more than $75,000 a year, and information reported because you’ve applied for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance. Information about a lawsuit or an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, which­ever is longer.

Fact 4

Creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use the information in your report to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, em­ployment, or renting a home are among those that have a legal right to access your report.

Fact 5

Your employer can get a copy of your credit report only if you agree. A credit reporting company may not provide information about you to your employer, or to a prospective employer, without your written consent.

Don’t be fooled by websites that offer free credit reports only one is approved by the FTC!

Your credit report has information that affects whether you can get a loan — and how much you will have to pay to borrow money. It is situations like this you will want a copy of your credit report to:

  • make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before you apply for a loan for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job.
  • help guard against identity theft. That’s when someone uses your personal information — like your name, your Social Security number, or your credit card number — to commit fraud. Identity thieves may use your information to open a new credit card account in your name. Then, when they don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Inaccurate information like that could affect your ability to get credit, insurance, or even a job.
Your Free Credit Report

Only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law! Other websites that claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores,” or “free credit monitoring” are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program. In some cases, the “free” product comes with strings attached. For example, some sites sign you up for a supposedly “free” service that converts to one you have to pay for after a trial period. If you don’t cancel during the trial period, you may be unwittingly agreeing to let the company start charging fees to your credit card.

Some “imposter” sites use terms like “free report” in their names; others have URLs that purposely misspell annualcreditreport.com in the hope that you will mistype the name of the official site. Some of these “imposter” sites direct you to other sites that try to sell you something or collect your personal information.

How To Avoid a Scam:

Annualcreditreport.com is the only website authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law!

As a nationwide credit reporting company, they will not send you an email asking for your personal information. If you get an email, see a pop-up ad, or get a phone call from someone claiming to be from annualcreditreport.com or any of the three nationwide credit reporting companies, do not reply or click on any link in the message. It’s probably a scam. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The FCRA promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s credit reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the FCRA with respect to credit reporting companies.

A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.

How To Get Your Free Credit Report:

The three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.

To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228. Or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228 or mailing to Annual Credit Report Request Service.

In the past, you could order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you could order your report from each of the companies one at a time. The law allowed you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.

As of 2020, everyone in the U.S. can get 6 free credit reports per year through 2026 by visiting the Equifax website or by calling 1-866-349-5191. That’s in addition to the one free Equifax report (plus your Experian and TransUnion reports) you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com.

The Type Of Information You Will Need To Provide:

You need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address. To maintain the security of your file, each nationwide credit reporting company may ask you for some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. Each company may ask you for different information because the information each has in your file may come from different sources

How Soon Will I Get a Free Report ?

 If you request your report online at annualcreditreport.com, you should be able to access it immediately. If you order your report by calling toll-free 1-877-322-8228, your report will be processed and mailed to you within 15 days. If you order your report by mail using the Annual Credit Report Request Form, your request will be processed and mailed to you within 15 days of receipt.

Whether you order your report online, by phone, or by mail, it may take longer to receive your report if the nationwide credit reporting company needs more information to verify your identity.

Starting a Puppetry Ministry At Your Church

When people think of the word “puppet” most people think of Sesame Street, Muppets, or a children’s puppetry performance. However, puppets have a very long history and today they are used in many movies and theatrical productions as well as in ministry.

Puppets are fun, silly, and colorful. They live in a world of pretend, but they can talk about real issues. If ministering to children is your calling then starting a puppet ministry is a great way to fulfill that calling. Puppetry offers a unique way of presenting the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Things you will need:

  • Puppets
  • Stage
  • Scripts

Begin by asking for the Lord’s guidance through prayer, next decide on the ministry’s mission statement.

How To Build A PVC Puppet Stage:

PVCPipePuppetStage

Unclaimed Money Is Not a Scam and Your Name May Be On The List

Unclaimed money is not a scam or promotional gimmick! Unclaimed money could actually be owed to you for a variety of reasons. Before you say oh no, not me! I have spoken to many people about unclaimed money and some have actually found their names on the list, including some of my close relatives and friends. Before I told them about it they were unaware of the different types of unclaimed money lists there are.

Long before the Internet, unclaimed property lists were published in the local newspapers. If you were lucky enough to find your name on the list among the many other unclaimed property owners. In those days you would simply contact the Government office which was holding your unclaimed property and apply for it. For those who were unaware of the list, business services popped up all over the place asking for finders fees. They would give you information about the fact that you have unclaimed property being held somewhere. Then they would charge a finders fee to assist you in recovering your unclaimed property.

Government Warning

Beware of people who pretend to be the government and offer to send you unclaimed money for a fee. These scammers use a variety of tricks to get your attention, but their goal is the same: to get you to send them money. Government agencies will not call you about unclaimed money or assets

What is Unclaimed Money?

Unclaimed money can come from banks, credit unions, pensions, and other sources which have been turned over to the government as unclaimed.  The government’s job is to find the owner of the unclaimed money, by making this information public knowledge. If the government owes you money and you do not collect it, then it’s unclaimed.

I have shared information on unclaimed money with many different people, leading them to find unclaimed money they were unaware of. I have not been so fortunate, but have seen my father, 2 sisters, and a few cousins names on the list.

Where Do I Look for Unclaimed Money?

State Search

You should search in every state where you have lived. Start with your state’s listing of unclaimed funds and property. You can conduct a free multi-state search by going directly to Missing Money, the NAUPA-sponsored search engine, or search state-by-state on individual unclaimed property programs by clicking the appropriate jurisdiction on the map or dropbox below.

Visit Website

Unclaimed Back Wages

Unpaid Wages – If you think you may be owed back wages from your employer, search the Wage and Hour Division’s (WHD’s) database of workers for whom it has money waiting to be claimed. WHD (Wage and Hour Division ) is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). You search by the employer’s name.

Visit Website

Life Insurance

Search the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for unclaimed insurance funds that are owed to certain current or former policyholders or their beneficiaries. 

Note: This does not include funds from Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) policies from 1965 to the present.  

Visit Website

Unclaimed Retirement Money

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)a US Government agency, protects the retirement incomes of more than 37 million American workers in private-sector defined benefit pension plans. A defined benefit plan provides a specified monthly benefit at retirement, often based on a combination of salary and years of service.

You can use their online database to search for unclaimed pension money from former Employers companies that went out, of business or ended a defined plan.

Visit Website

Bank Failures

Bank Failures – Search the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for unclaimed funds from failed financial institutions.

Visit Website

Credit Union Failures

Credit Union Failures – Find unclaimed deposits from credit unions. When a credit union with federal insurance is liquidated, the NCUA’s Asset Management and Assistance Center is responsible for paying the share accounts to the members.

On rare occasions, the liquidation of a credit union may result in surplus funds. If a surplus remains, a distribution to the shareholders is required. This may occur several years after the credit union is liquidated and it is sometimes difficult to locate these members. The claim list is in pdf format.

Visit Website

Mortgages

FHA-Insurance Refunds – If you had an FHA-insured mortgage, you may be eligible for a refund from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

To search the HUD database, you will need your FHA case number (three digits, a dash, and the next six digits—for example, 051-456789).

Visit Website

Tax Refund

The Internal Revenue Service(IRS) may owe you money if your refund was unclaimed or undelivered.

Visit Website

Money Owed Investors

SEC Claims Funds – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lists enforcement cases where a company or person owes investors money.

Visit Website

Damaged Money

Damaged Money – The Treasury Department will exchange mutilated or damaged U.S. currency.

Visit Website

Governor Cuomo Announces New COVID Rental Assistance Program

Funding Available to Tenants Impacted by Coronavirus,”Since day one we made it clear that no New Yorkers should be thrown on the streets because of hardships caused by this pandemic,” Governor Cuomo said. “It’s critically important that people are able to stay safely in their homes as we progress through our data-driven, phased reopening, and the COVID Rent Relief Program reinforces that commitment with direct assistance to those in the greatest need.”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an emergency rental assistance program that will help keep low-income families throughout New York in their homes. The program, which is designed to reach those individuals and families with the greatest need, will provide direct aid for tenants who lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act. The program is administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal and access to program applications will be available on Thursday, July 16. 

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Despite the progress we have made in fighting COVID-19, millions of New Yorkers are struggling because of this virus and the economic crisis. Providing direct aid to overburdened renters will help these New Yorkers stay in their homes and be able to make ends meet. I applaud Senator Brian Kavanagh for advancing this legislation, my Senate Democratic Majority for passing it, and Governor Cuomo for signing it into law. While this effort will offer some relief, we know that government needs to step up and provide more support during this difficult time. We are going to keep advancing meaningful legislation to help New Yorkers, and we need the federal government to work with us and provide the resources our state needs.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “For many New Yorkers, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the challenges of securing affordable housing even greater. The Assembly Majority has fought tirelessly for years to keep New Yorkers in their homes and in the communities that they helped shape. With many New Yorkers still out of work, we still need assistance from the federal government to help states deal with significant fiscal challenges. We must do everything in our power to help New York families. This rental assistance program, while still not enough to meet the tremendous needs that exist, is a step forward to lifting a financial burden off of our most vulnerable families. We will continue to look to do more to help people remain in their homes during this unprecedented time.” 

Under the new program, eligible households will benefit from a one-time rental subsidy paid directly to landlords and housing providers. Tenants are not required to repay this assistance. 

To qualify for the program, applicants must meet all of the eligibility requirements:

  • Must be a renter with a primary residence in New York State.
  • Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, household income (including unemployment benefits) must be below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size. Applicants can find the Area Median Income for their county, based on household size, on HCR’s website here.
  • Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, the household must have been “rent burdened,” which is defined as paying more than 30 percent of gross monthly income towards rent.
  • Applicants must have lost income during any period between April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.
  • The application period will be open for two weeks. Residents can apply any time during the two-week period. 

HCR will prioritize households with greatest economic and social need, accounting for income, rent burden, percent of income lost and risk of homelessness. The rental assistance payment will cover the difference between the household’s rent burden on March 1, 2020 and the increase in rent burden during the period the household is applying for assistance. Households can apply for up to four months in rental assistance for the months of April through July. The program is open to households that rent apartments, single-family homes, manufactured homes and manufactured home lots. 

Households with at least one household member with U.S. Citizenship or eligible immigration status are qualified to receive the subsidy. Tenants currently receiving a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher for housing costs or who reside in public housing are not eligible for RRP assistance.

The COVID Rent Relief Program builds upon Governor Cuomo’s efforts to protect New York’s renters during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes a statewide moratorium on COVID-related residential or commercial evictions; banning late payments or fees for missed rent payments during the eviction moratorium; and allowing renters facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to use their security deposit as payment and repay their security deposit over time. 

More information about the COVID Rent Relief Program, including Frequently Asked Questions, is available here.

Having Trouble Paying Rent the Economic Security (CARES) Act provides certain protections from eviction

If you’re having trouble making rent payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone. There are steps renters can take, as well as many significant protections from eviction that apply in certain situations. 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides certain protections from eviction and late fees due to nonpayment of rent for most tenants if you qualify. Many state and local governments have stopped evictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. The details of how renters are protected, and for how long, depending on where you live.

You may be protected from eviction if any one of the following Apply:

  1. You receive federal rental assistance or
  2. live in federally subsidized housing or
  3. your landlord has a federally-backed mortgage.

The CARES Act protections apply to you if:

1. You receive rental assistance from a voucher or grant program – This includes:

  • Section 8 housing choice voucher program
  • Rural housing voucher program
  • McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grants
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
  • Rural Development Vouchers

2. You or your landlord receive assistance through federally subsidized housing programs –
This includes:

  • Public housing
  • Section 8 project-based housing
  • Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation
  • Section 202 housing for the elderly
  • Section 811 housing for people with disabilities
  • Section 236 or 538 multifamily rental housing
  • Below Market Interest Rate (BMIR) housing
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
  • Rural Development multifamily housing programs, grants, or vouchers (Section 516 Farm Labor Housing Grants, Section 542 Rural Development Vouchers, Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance, Section 533 Housing Preservation grants)
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC)
TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION
  • To find out what type of rental assistance you have OR
  • To find out what type of housing you’re in:
  • Contact HUD at (800) 955-2232, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. E.S.T., Monday through Friday.

3. Your rental home or apartment building has a federally backed mortgage -This includes:

  • FHA, VA, HUD, and USDA mortgages.
  • It also includes mortgage loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

If you live in a building with 5 or more units:

If you are renting in a property with four or fewer units, your landlord can also check with Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, VA ,  to find out if their property is covered.

ADDITIONAL PROTECTIONS IF YOUR LANDLORD IS GETTING MORTGAGE RELIEF

The CARES Act gives landlords of certain multifamily properties the right to temporary relief from making mortgage payments (forbearance) if they have a federally-backed mortgage. You may not know if your landlord is getting this relief unless you talk with them or do further investigation. If they are getting relief with respect to certain multifamily mortgage payments, then you may be protected from eviction for a longer period of time.

During this relief period, your landlord cannot:

  • Evict you or start an eviction solely for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges
  • Charge you any late fees or penalties for late payments of rent
  • Give you a 30-day notice to vacate

These protections last until the National Coronavirus Emergency ends or December 31, 2020, whichever date comes first.

Where to Find Help Paying your Mortage During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has brought hardships to citizens with mortgage or rent payments, along with citizens that are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 

Help for Federally Funded Backed Mortgages

A federal law put in place two protections for homeowners with federally or Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) backed mortgages (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac).If you don’t have a federally or GSE-backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage loan servicer or from your state. FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac owns a large percentage of mortgages in the US.

How can I tell who owns my mortgage?

You can look up who owns your mortgage online, call, or send a written request to your servicer asking who owns your mortgage. The servicer has an obligation to provide you, to the best of its knowledge, the name, address, and telephone number of who owns your loan.

It’s not always easy to tell who owns your mortgage. Many mortgage loans are sold and the servicer you pay every month may not own your mortgage. Whenever the owner of your loan transfers the mortgage to a new owner, the new owner is required to send you a notice.  If you don’t know who owns your mortgage, there are different ways to find out. 

Call your mortgage servicer You can find the number for your mortgage service provider on your monthly mortgage statement or coupon book. 

Look it up online

There are some online tools you can use to look up who owns your mortgage.

  • Many mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both offer a mortgage look up tool on their website.

You can look up your mortgage service provider by searching the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS)  website.

Worried you cannot make my next mortgage payment?

If you are a homeowner with an FHA-insured single-family home mortgage and you’re having difficulty making your monthly mortgage payments due to the COVID-19 National Emergency, help is available. The three most important things you should do to protect your home investment if you have, or expect to have, a loss of income due to COVID-19:

  1. Continue to make your monthly mortgage payments if you are able to do so.
  2. If you are unable to make your mortgage payment, contact your mortgage servicer
    — the entity to which you make your monthly mortgage payments —as soon as
    possible and discuss your situation with a loss mitigation specialist. Please
    understand that your servicers ability to respond quickly may be impacted during this National Emergency.

CARES Act Mortgage Forbearance Program

Did you lose your job or have been furloughed due to the COVID-19 National Emergency?

If so you may qualify for a forbearance. Maximum mortgage repayment flexibilities are being offered to homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. if you are eligible. If you find you are no longer able to make your monthly mortgage payments, the first thing you should do is contact your servicer — the company to whom you make your monthly mortgage payments. Your servicer will be able to provide you with what is known as forbearance, a mortgage repayment option that allows you to defer or lower your monthly payments for up to six months, and an additional six month period, if needed. Your mortgage servicer can further explain the details of the FHA COVID-19 National Emergency Forbearance option — what it means now and the options for bringing your mortgage payments current in the future.

Request a Forbearance

If you qualify once you know who is your FHA Mortage service provider you can use any available means of communication to contact your servicer to request a forbearance. This includes, but is not limited to, phone calls, emails, texts, fax, mail, teleconferencing, etc.

Mortgage forbearance

Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause (suspend), or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited period of time while you regain your financial footing. The CARES Act provides many homeowners with the right to have all mortgage payments completely paused for a period of time.

Forbearance doesn’t mean your payments are forgiven or erased. You are still required to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future, which in most cases may be repaid over time. At the end of the forbearance, your servicer will contact you about how the missed payments will be repaid. There may be different programs available.

Make sure you understand how the forbearance will be repaid. There can be different forbearance programs or options, depending on the type of your loan. For example, if you have a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, or USDA loan, you won’t have to pay back the amount that was suspended all at once—unless you are able to do so. If your income is restored before the end of your forbearance, reach out to your servicer and resume making payments as soon as you can so your future obligation is limited.

What Happens if mortgage is not backed or funded by the Government Mortgage Programs?

If you have a mortgage loan that is not backed by one of the federal agencies or entities, the loan is not covered by the CARES Act. Contact your loan servicer to see what options are available to you. You can find your servicer’s name on your mortgage statement or by searching the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS)  website.

The CFPB and other financial regulators have encouraged financial institutions to work with borrowers who are or may be unable to meet their obligations because of the effects of COVID-19. Your servicer should help you identify alternatives that may be available to you given your specific circumstances.

Are You Facing Foreclosure Or Need Housing Counseling ?

If you’re behind on your mortgage or having a hard time making payments., there is free foreclosure and counseling service available to help anyone in need of these services. If anyone tries to charge you in advance for help or guarantees that they can stop your foreclosure, they’re not legitimate. Get in touch with a HUD-approved housing counselor—they’ve been sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Your counselor can develop a tailored plan of action for your situation and help you work with your mortgage company. They’re experienced in all of the available programs and a variety of financial situations. They can help you organize your finances, understand your mortgage options, and find a solution that works for you.

Contact a free housing counselor

Find a HUD-approved counseling agency in your area.

Call HUD, enter your ZIP code and they’ll refer you to a counselor near you.(800) 569-4287

Pa – COVID-19 Small Business Grants to be awarded to Disadvantaged Businesses-Opening in August 2020

Grant money is money you don’t have to pay back and at least 50% of the grants to small businesses will be awarded to Historically Disadvantaged businesses. Historically Disadvantaged businesses are at least 51% owned and operated by persons who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander because they have traditionally been discriminated against and disadvantaged when seeking financial services and financial products.

If you business was impacted by the virus there is hope the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance Program, The application window for the first round of the COVID -19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance Program is closed. The second application window is expected to open in August.


The COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. This is not a first-come, first-served program. There will be multiple rounds of application windows.

Community First Fund is one of 17 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that make up the PA CDFI Network and will be administering this $225M program recently announced by Governor Wolf. The application window for the first round of funding opened on June 30th at 9 a.m. and remained open for 10 business days until July 14 at 11:59 p.m. Additional rounds will be announced soon.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply, a business must:

  • Be physically located, certified to do business, and generate at least 51% of their revenues in Pennsylvania
  • Have annual revenue of $1 million or less prior to the impact of COVID-19; and
  • Have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees prior to February 15, 2020.

At a minimum, the following entities are ineligible for grant funding under this program:

  • Businesses that are not physically based in Pennsylvania
  • Businesses that are in active default (not on a payment plan) with taxes or fees owed to the federal government or Commonwealth
  • Businesses engaged in any activity that is illegal under Federal, state, or local law
  • Businesses owned or controlled by any owner that has ever obtained a direct or guaranteed loan from the State of Pennsylvania or any Federal agency that is currently delinquent or has defaulted within the last seven years and caused a loss to the government.
  • Non-Profits, Churches and other religious institutions
  • Financial businesses primarily engaged in the business of lending, such as banks, finance companies, and factors
  • Passive real estate companies and investors who file a Schedule E on their personal tax returns are not eligible.  Real estate businesses in which the majority (>51%) of their income is rental income are also not eligible
  • Life insurance companies
  • Private clubs and businesses which limit the number of memberships for reasons other than capacity
  • Government-owned entities or elected official offices
  • Businesses primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities
  • Businesses engaged in any illegal activity, socially undesirable or those that may be considered predatory in nature, such as pawnshops, rent to own, check cashing businesses and adult bookstores
  • An owner of 20 percent or more of the equity of the applicant is incarcerated, on probation, on parole; presently subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means by which formal criminal charges are brought in any jurisdiction; or has been convicted of a felony involving fraud, bribery, embezzlement, or a false statement in a loan application or an application for federal assistance within the last five years or any other felony within the last year

Prioritization

The program will prioritize small business that are:

  • Owned and operated by low and moderate-income people; or
  • located in areas of need including areas with a population having incomes significantly below the median income level, high levels of poverty, higher than average unemployment rates, or significant population loss.
  • Types of business that were most impacted by the economic shutdown and experienced the greatest revenue losses

In addition, the program will give consideration to the following factors: women-owned businesses, communities targeted for business investment by state government programs like Main Street and Elm Street, and rural communities.

In addition, the program will ensure that grant funds are awarded to small business located across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Grant Amounts

The amount of grant funding ranges from $5,000 to $50,000. Businesses are eligible based on their annual revenues as documented in their most recent tax return:

ELIGIBLE BUSINESSES
Annual Revenue
GRANT AMOUNT
Available Per Business
Up to $50,000$5,000
$50,001 – $75,000$10,000
$75,001 – $100,000$15,000
$100,001 -$250,000$20,000
$250,001 -$500,000$25,000
$500,001 – $750,000$35,000
$750,001 – $850,000$40,000
$850,001 – $1,000,000$50,000

Eligible Use of Funds

  • Payroll costs, costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums,
  • Mortgage interest payments (but not mortgage prepayments or principal payments); interest payments on any other debt obligations that were incurred before February 15, 2020.
  • Rent payments, utility payments.
  • Working capital for the purpose of covering the costs of re-opening business operations after being fully or partially closed due to the state-mandated business closure period commencing March 2020, as long as the expense was incurred due to COVID-19.
  • Any expenses (costs) incurred related to the expense of implementing COVID-19, including but not limited to specialized equipment, barriers, PDE’s, and employee training expense to ensure compliance with state and federal CDC guidelines for reopening.
  • Any Covid-19 related expenses not already paid for with other relief measures such as state grants or loans, US SBA Paycheck Protection Loans, local or regional grant and/or loan programs.

How Can I Prepare?

Businesses are encouraged to start gathering the items that will be necessary to apply. At a minimum, the following list of items will be needed to apply. Additional items may be specified later:

  1. Government Issued Photo ID such as a Driver’s License or Passport
  2. Business financial information
    • Revenue from March 1st to May 31st for 2019 and 2020
    • Most recently submitted Federal Tax Return, 2018 or 2019 business or personal tax returns, including Schedule C.
    • If startup between January 1 – February 15, 2020, Internal Profit & Loss Statement
  3. Proof of Business Registration with PA Department of State, as applicable:
    • Articles of Incorporation (for corporations and LLCs); or Fictitious Name Registration/”Doing Business As” (Sole Proprietors); or Business Licences (if applicable).
  4. Bank Account Information

Before you start your application:

1. Read the Application Instructions – also check out the video tutorials below..
2. Use Google Chrome for an optimize application experience
3. DO NOT submit more than one application. Submitting multiple applications will delay processing of your application and will reduce your chance of approval in this round.

Here are additional tools and resources to assist you:

PA COVID-19 relief grant application is available through the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

If you would like to receive email updates about announcing when the next application window is open, sign up at pabusinessgrants.com. 

If you applied during the first application window, you do not need to reapply during the second application window. Qualified applications will be automatically rolled over into the next funding round for consideration. 

The grant selection process for the first round will take a few weeks after the July 14 closing date. Notice about approvals will occur on a rolling basis starting as early as July 31. All applicants will receive notice of their application status no later than August 10 whether it is approved, declined, or rolled over for future round consideration.

Where To File Your Taxes for Free

If your 2019 adjusted gross income was $69,000 or less, you may find one or more Free File Online options for you. Review each company’s offer to make sure you qualify for a free federal return. Some companies offer free state tax returns; others may charge a fee.

IRS Free File program delivered by H&R Block

Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $69,000 or less, AND your age is between 17 and 51, OR
  • You are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, OR
  • Free for Active Military for Adjusted Gross Income of $69,000 or less
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Free state return if you qualify for the federal return
  • Mobile device friendly

IRS Free File program delivered by TaxSlayer®

Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $69,000 or less AND your age is 51 or younger, OR
  • You are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, OR
  • Free for Active Military for Adjusted Gross Income of $69,000 or less
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Free state return, for some states, if you qualify for the federal return
  • Mobile device friendly

IRS Free File program delivered by FileYourTaxes.com

Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Adjusted Gross Income is between $9,000 and $69,000, AND your age is 65 or younger, OR
  • Free for Active Military for Adjusted Gross Income of $69,000 or less
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Free state return, for some states, if you qualify for the federal return
  • Mobile device friendly

IRS Free File program delivered by ezTaxReturn.com

Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $69,000 or less, AND any AGE, AND
  • You live in one of the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, GA, IL, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, VA, or WI
  • No free state tax preparation in any state.
  • Mobile device friendly

IRS Free File program delivered by 1040NOW

Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $69,000 or less and you live in one of the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, GA, IA, ID, KY, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NY, OK, OR, RI, SC, VA, VT or WV
  • OR
  • Your AGI is $68,000 or less and you live in CO, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, KS, LA, MA, MD, ME, MT, NE, NJ, NM, OH, PA, UT or WI.
  • OR
  • Free for Active Military for Adjusted Gross Income of $69,000 or less
  • No free state tax preparation in any states
  • Mobile device friendly

IRS Free File program delivered by Free 1040 Tax Return

Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $69,000 or less, AND
  • Your age is 70 or younger, AND
  • Live in any state, EXCEPT: DC, FL, IN, LA, MT, NH, NM, NV, RI, SD, TN, TX or WA

OR

  • Free for Active Military for Adjusted Gross Income of $69,000 or less
  • Free state return, for some states, if you qualify for the federal return

IRS Free File program delivered by FreeTaxUSA

Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $36,000 or less, AND any age, OR
  • You are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, OR
  • Free for Active Military for Adjusted Gross Income of $69,000 or less
  • Free state return, for some states, if you qualify for the federal return
  • Mobile device friendly

IRS Free File program delivered by TurboTax

Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $36,000 or less, AND any age, OR
  • You are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, OR
  • Free for Active Military for Adjusted Gross Income of $69,000 or less
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Free state return if you qualify for the federal return
  • Mobile device friendly

IRS Free File program delivered by Online Taxes at OLT.com

Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is between $14,000 and $69,000, AND any age, OR
  • Free for Active Military for Adjusted Gross Income of $69,000 or less
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Free state return if you qualify for the federal return
  • Mobile device friendly

IRS Free File program delivered by TaxAct

Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $59,000 or less AND your age is 56 or younger, OR
  • You are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, OR
  • Free for Active Military for Adjusted Gross Income of $69,000 or less
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Free state return if you qualify for the federal return
  • Mobile device friendly