• Studio ATAO

Navigating Personal Finance During COVID-19 with Matt Dorsey

Updated: Jun 4

COMMUNITY SKILLSHARE

Season 1: Finances

Episode 1: Navigating Personal Finances During COVID-19

Last Updated: June 4, 2020


About


Studio ATAO’s Community Skillshare is a virtual learning series that tackles specific, actionable and pertinent topics with subject matter experts. Each season (2-4 episodes) is centered on one main topic and is paired with a thorough resources document (such as this one) with additional information and relevant links. Community Skillshares take place on Studio ATAO’s IG Live on Wednesdays at 12pm PST, and we will announce upcoming episodes via our Instagram.


This particular resources document was compiled by Studio ATAO’s core team for our Skillshare with our CFO & Beverage Director, Matt Dorsey. In his day job, Matt is the CFO of a real estate hospitality startup. However, please note that Matt is not a licensed financial advisor, nor is the below meant to be personal financial advice. Instead, we hope Matt’s skillshare sessions and this resource document can provide useful context and additional considerations for any financial decisions you are facing so you can apply your own best judgment for your financial future. Please feel free to share this resource widely with anyone who you think may need it.


This is a living, evolving document as things continue to change around COVID-19 and it is not exhaustive of all resources. If you have additional insights and suggestions on ways we can improve this document, we want to hear from you at hello@studioatao.org.


If you’re interested in joining in on the next Community Skillshare, please follow us on Instagram at @StudioATAO. If you’ve benefited from this free resource and want to help support our team so we can keep working on efforts like these, please consider sending us a one time donation or becoming a monthly patron. Any dollars of support is deeply appreciated.


Special thank you to supporters Sophia Chang, Katherine Morillo and Jessica Foster for your generous donations to help bring this document to life!

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Table of Contents


  • Video of Community Skillshare Episode 1

  • Overview of the Stimulus Package

  • Unemployment Considerations for Those Laid Off, Terminated or Furloughed

  • Unemployment Considerations for Freelancers and Gig Workers

  • Financial Considerations for Withdrawing Necessary Living Funds, Today

  • Important Considerations for Utilizing Debt & Loans for Funds Today

  • Resources for Finding Temporary Jobs During This Time

  • Update on Filing Your 2019 Taxes

  • Additional Budgeting Considerations For This Time

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Overview of the Stimulus Package


As of April 1, the Federal government has passed two major pieces of legislation aimed at assisting individuals and small businesses in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic:



The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was the government’s first major response to the crisis and included provisions that enhanced paid sick leave and paid family medical leave for individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 or caring for individuals with COVID-19, provided additional funding for government-assisted nutrition programs and boosted funding to governmental agencies.


The CARES Act - commonly being referred to as “the stimulus package” - was signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020, and is the law through which the vast majority of programs and benefits have been created and, as such, is the main focus of the topics below.


Payments


Adults with Social Security numbers can receive up to $1,200 per person. Every qualifying child 16 years or younger also adds $500 in payment. If your adjusted gross income is $75,000 or less, you’ll receive the full amount (for married couples filing jointly, the cap is $150,000 total to receive $2,400 total). For those filing as head of households, the cap is $112,500. For those making more than $75,000, the payment decreases until it reaches $99,000 per person or $198,000 per married couple (with no children).


Per the NY Times: “According to the Senate Finance Committee, a family with two children will no longer be eligible for any payments if its income surpassed $218,000.”


However, if anyone claims you as a dependent you cannot receive a payment -- for example, students who are over 18 but still claimed by their parents. (There are some exceptions for military families.)

If you are not sure where you can find your adjusted gross income, it is on Line 7 of the 2018 Form 1040 Federal tax return or Line 8b of the 2019 Form 1040 Federal tax return if you have filed your 2019 taxes already. (NY Times: If you haven’t filed that yet, you can use a 2019 Social Security statement showing your income to see what an employer reported to the I.R.S.) If you are still unsure, this calculator should be helpful in telling you how big your stimulus check could be.


You do not need to apply for this payment, it will be disbursed automatically and should be sent within 3 weeks. If you moved after filing your most recent tax return, you can file a change of address form with the IRS here. The USPS mail forwarding service may capture your updated information, but it can’t hurt to file the change of address just to be safe.


You will not need to pay taxes on this payment, and you will still receive it in addition to other payments you are qualified for (e.g. Social Security, disability, unemployment).


You may want to set up direct deposit with the IRS, if you are able, so your payment can be funded directly into your account faster.


Unemployment Benefits (Title II, Subtitle A of the CARES Act)


Freelancers, self-employed people, independent contractors and gig workers whose jobs were directly impacted by COVID-19 are now covered for unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Up to 39 weeks of unemployment assistance is available and the program lasts until December 31, 2020.


For example: you are a part-time worker whose job was impacted by COVID-19 but your state typically doesn’t offer unemployment benefits for part-time workers, you now can also apply for unemployment benefits from your state as well as the additional benefit from the PUC (below).


Plus, people who have also seen a reduction of hours due to COVID-19 can also apply for partial unemployment benefits.


From the National Unemployment Law Project: “PUA benefits are calculated the same way as they are for the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance program under the Stafford Act, which is the model for the PUA program. PUA will have a minimum benefit that is equal to one-half the state’s average weekly UI benefit (about $190 per week).”


The Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) section also adds an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits, in addition to what is offered by your state, for up to 4 months. This applies for those already on unemployment and those covered by the PUA (above).


The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) also extends the state’s unemployment benefits (typically 26 weeks) by another 13 weeks. However, you are required to be actively searching for work unless your state has waived this requirement due to COVID-19.


Unemployment benefits vary state to state, you can find the appropriate link to your state here. In New York City, the Department of Labor has released step-by-step instructions to apply for the PUA application here and here.


Paid Sick Leave & Paid Family Medical Leave


The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed March 18, 2020 and going into effect April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 pertains to businesses with under 500 employees. (There are certain exceptions for businesses with less than 50 employees.)


The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act stipulates that if you are employed with a business that falls into this mandate, have been employed at least 30 days and cannot work remotely while caring for children whose schools have been closed due to COVID-19, you are entitled to up to 10 weeks of paid Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA).


Note: The first 2 weeks of the regular 12-week FMLA is unpaid (or you can use accrued paid leave or paid vacation). After this, the paid leave will compensate you at ⅔ the rate of your regular pay (capped at $200/day and $10,000 across 10 weeks).


The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act stipulates that all employees are entitled to paid sick leave in addition to existing sick leave offered by your employer if you meet any of the below 6 factors:


  1. Subject to federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19

  2. Have been advised by their doctor to self-quarantine due to COVID-19

  3. Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis

  4. Caring for a family member subject to a quarantine order or self-quarantine

  5. Caring for children if schools are closed or their caregiver is unavailable because of the COVID-19 health emergency

  6. Experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services


Full time employees can receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave, part time employees receive the amount based on the average hours worked during a 2 week period.


Note: If you qualify based on factors 1-3 above, paid sick leave is capped at $511/day, $5,110 total. If you qualify based on factors 4-6 above, the sick leave is ⅔ their regular rate and capped at $200/day and $2,000 total.


Retirement Accounts


The CARES Act has increased the amount individuals can withdraw from their retirement accounts (e.g. IRA, 401K) to $100,000, waived the typical 10% penalty for doing so and are allowing the withdrawn amounts to be taxed over 3 years instead of only in the year it is withdrawn. More considerations about this in the section on Withdrawing Funds below.


For 401K loans, the limit you can borrow has also increased to $100,000 and the 50% rule (where you can only borrow up to 50% of what is available in your account) has been suspended. More considerations about this in the section on Debts & Loans below.


Loans


Student loan payments held by the federal government (direct loans) have been halted until September 30th, 2020. You should see this reflected in your account when you log in; if not, contact your loan provider for an update. More information about student loans can be found here.


The CARES Act has added another Small Business Association (SBA) loan under the Paycheck Protection Program. The CARES Act SBA Loan 7(a) is being administered by individual commercial banks and does not go through the typical SBA loans process. This is available to small businesses (which will be covered separately in our Financial Planning for SMB’s episode) as well as self-employed workers, freelancers and independent contractors. More on this will be covered in the Debt & Loans section below.


The stimulus package has also added in an Economic Injury Disaster Loan & Emergency Economic Injury (EIDL) Grant. These grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private nonprofits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applications for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan being received and do not need to be repaid. For more information on this grant and the EIDL loan, please see the Debt & Loans section below.

Unemployment Considerations for Those Laid Off, Terminated or Furloughed


Being laid off or terminated is different than being furloughed. The former two are (usually) permanent, while the latter is meant to be temporary, often with a specific end date where you would resume work.


Generally speaking, it is important your employer differentiates between the two, because under a furlough situation you do not need to show proof to the government that you are still looking for a job (as you are still employed) and also has implications for your healthcare coverage (see below).


However, in our current situation with COVID-19, the delineation between ‘laid off’ and ‘furlough’ is murky; some states are allowing companies to put laid off workers on standby to also waive their job search requirements while applying for unemployment.


Please note you are technically not allowed to volunteer at your place of work during your furlough period. You can for a nonprofit, however, those volunteers cannot displace regular employed workers or perform work that would be otherwise performed by regular employees. If volunteers are treated too much like employees, they can be deemed employees with wages owed to them. Link here.


Plus, people who have also seen a reduction of hours due to COVID-19 can also apply for partial unemployment benefits with the new CARES Act.


If you are terminated because of COVID-19 (e.g. your employer shuttered), you qualify for unemployment benefits - but that may not be the case if you were terminated for other reasons (e.g. misconduct).


File for unemployment. You can apply for unemployment based on your state here. The government’s general unemployment insurance page can be found here. Unemployment assistance varies by state, the weekly stipend is typically 40% to 45% of your prior income. As mentioned in the CARES Act overview, those who are unemployed directly due to COVID-19 also receive the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) -- an additional $600 per week for up to 4 months.


Note: unemployment benefits are retroactive, meaning even if it takes a few weeks for your application to be accepted, your benefits will be calculated based on when you were laid off or became unemployed, though you may need to show a reason for delaying your application.


Understand your healthcare benefits.


  1. If you have been furloughed, your ability to retain coverage through the healthcare benefits provided by your employer can range widely depending on what day of the month you were furloughed and what your benefits provider is. This is a case-by-case process, so the best first step is to contact your HR department for details.

  2. If you qualify for unemployment benefits, you likely also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in a government-backed healthcare plan via Marketplace (a.k.a. The Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”). Click here to apply.

  3. You may also qualify for Medicaid - click here. If you are 65 or older, you may also qualify for Medicare - click here.

  4. If you have been terminated, laid off or if your hours have been reduced such that you become ineligible for your employer’s health care plan, you can also opt into government assisted COBRA, which continues the exact same healthcare coverage you initially had with your employer for a certain period of time. Generally speaking, the amount you pay for your healthcare under COBRA is the total cost of the healthcare plan provided by your employer plus a premium, but some may qualify for a reduction in payment - click here. The benefit of opting into COBRA, if you can afford it, is that your healthcare insurance is not interrupted and can sometimes be less expensive than private insurers like Oscar.

Unemployment Considerations for Freelancers and Gig Workers


Freelancers, self-employed people, independent contractors and gig workers are now covered for unemployment benefits under the CARES Act.


File for unemployment. You can apply for unemployment based on your state here.

There are stipulations around individuals who have professions that allow them to work from home, in which case you need to show that your work has specifically been impacted or diminished due to COVID-19.


Note: unemployment benefits are retroactive, meaning even if it takes a few weeks for your application to be accepted, your benefits will be calculated based on when you were laid off or became unemployed, though you may need to show a reason for delaying your application.


If you are not qualified for unemployment under your state’s regular mandate or the CARES Act, here are some financial funds to help freelancers and gig workers. We will continue to add to this as we find more resources, and please feel free to email us with additional resources.



Understand your healthcare benefits. If you qualify for unemployment benefits, you likely also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in a government-backed healthcare plan via Marketplace (a.k.a. The Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”). Click here to apply.


You may also qualify for Medicaid - click here. If you are 65 or older, you may also qualify for Medicare - click here.


If Marketplace does not fit what you are looking for, you can also take a look at Freelancers Union for healthcare.


Note: Freelancers, self-employed people and independent contractors are now also eligible for SBA (small business association) loans. More information on this is in the Debt & Loans section.

Financial Considerations for Withdrawing Necessary Living Funds, Today


If you need living funds now, the best place to withdraw money is from a taxable asset, or money that you have already paid taxes on, such as the money in your checkings or savings accounts. These also include investment accounts you may have with companies like Stash or Acorns that are not 401K’s or IRA’s (more on that below).


On the opposite end of the spectrum, any money that you have not yet paid taxes on (tax-deferred assets) include retirement accounts such as IRA’s (individual retirement accounts, which includes variations such as SEP-IRA’s but not ROTH IRA’s, see below) and 401K’s (employer-provided retirement accounts), which store pre-tax dollars -- are usually some of the last places you may want to withdraw money from right now. This is because you typically must pay a 10% penalty for withdrawing before the designated age and the money you withdraw will be treated as taxable income the year you withdraw it.


However, under the CARES Act individuals can withdraw up to $100,000 from their retirement accounts and it “waives the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty on retirement account distributions for taxpayers facing virus-related challenges. Withdrawn amounts are taxable over three years, but taxpayers can recontribute the withdrawn funds into their retirement accounts for three years without affecting retirement account caps. Eligible retirement accounts include individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401Ks and other qualified trusts, certain deferred compensation plans, and qualified annuities. The bill also waives required minimum distribution rules for certain retirement plans in calendar year 2020.” Link to article.


For 401K withdrawals, contact your HR department or 401K administrator to see the complete summary plan description agreement (SPD) to understand your options during this time. There is also an option for a 401K loan, which may be more advantageous - that is covered under the Debt & Loans section.


For early IRA withdrawals, a full FAQ about withdrawing from your IRA, including the additional form you will need to fill out, is available here.


There is also another major kind of IRA / 401K called a ROTH IRA / 401K (a tax-advantaged account). This is different from regular IRA’s and 401K’s because you contribute to it with after-tax dollars. (There is a contribution limit per year.) This means you are able to withdraw your contributions (not your earnings) at any time without the 10% penalty or being taxed. However, this is not the case for your earnings, which are still subject to both if you withdraw before a certain age except under certain conditions.


A note on investments you have in the stock market (that are not IRA’s/401K’s). Right now, the market is performing terribly due to COVID-19 and it is likely very difficult for you to watch your portfolio’s value shrink in real time. Since these types of investment accounts are taxable assets, if you need the money now, it may still be better for you to sell your stocks for cash instead of waiting for the market to return to normal. However, if you are investing for the long term and are able to weather the storm without the money you have in these accounts, based on past data, the market generally will recover over a long time period. For context, after the stock market crash in 2008, it took 18 months for the market to gain back losses after the crisis.


Finally, a great place to ‘withdraw’ money before tapping into any of these above accounts is through selling items you do not need, especially valuable ones such as clothes, musical instruments and antiques. Here are some places you can list your items for sale:


Important Considerations for Utilizing Debt & Loans for Funds Today


Credit Card Debt


One of the most common sources of debt available is credit card debt. Under normal conditions, you should always aim to keep your credit score consistent and improve it over time. Right now, you likely will need to find your own balance of not impacting your score too much while securing enough credit card debt to purchase essentials and needed items.


Since the government has called upon banks to support their customers with relief from certain fees and interest for a period of time, you can contact your credit card issuer to see what they can offer you, such as a temporary credit limit increase, forbearances (where payments can be missed for a period of time without penalties), or not charging interest. Here’s a list with more updates and details per bank.


With or without temporary relief, here are some general guidelines for when you are considering using credit card debt. There are many factors that affect your credit score, the one we’ll point out specifically is your credit utilization rate. Your credit utilization rate is the amount of credit you typically use as a percentage of the credit available to you. For example, if you on average spend $2,000 on your credit card per month and your limit is $10,000 a month, your credit utilization is 20%. Experts generally advise to keep this number below 30%, as it can impact your credit score dramatically.


If you need money today and are considering putting a higher amount on your credit card than usual, it’s best to at least ensure you can at least pay the minimum balance. By doing so, at least your payment history (another major factor in your credit score) will not be adversely impacted.


Unfortunately, just making the minimum payment can still adversely impact your credit score as you begin carrying a balance. This balance is still included in your credit utilization rate (calculated as your monthly spend plus the balance). Outside of your credit score, you’re now also liable to pay both interest and principal (the actual amount you ‘borrowed’ a.k.a spent on your credit card but have not yet paid).


Find the Right Credit Card


If you know you need to carry a balance on your credit cards as a means of funding right now, it’s a good idea to shop around for different cards that will offer you the most advantageous rates and benefits. Bankrate.com and Nerdwallet.com are both good credit card comparison sites with information about rewards, points, interest rates and applications. Look at the APR (annual percentage rate) which includes both the interest rate and any fees, the credit limit each card can offer you; and after that, general benefits that may be useful.


However, it’s important to know that applying for many credit cards can impact your score (shown as the number of hard inquiries). Your credit history length (the average age of all your credit lines) also matters, so if you do qualify for a ‘better’ credit card now, you may still want to hang on to your older cards to keep this average higher.


If you have credit card debts on multiple cards, you can also consider credit card consolidation via a balance transfer card, which consolidates all your outstanding debt onto 1 card. This can be advantageous with introductory benefits like 0% APR, but there are often rules around that percentage plus transfer fees. Some balance transfer card options are here.


Some free credit score tracking sites:



Personal Loans


Personal loans are another form of debt that may be available to you. Some credit card issuers (like American Express) also have personal loan options that are available through your credit card, which can be advantageous because they offer lower interest rates. Some companies like SoFi or standard banks like US Bank will also offer personal loans. However, personal loans are often not readily accessible because they generally require higher credit scores and stronger creditworthiness; they sometimes also require you to have a job.


It’s important to note the personal loans referenced above are installment loans, not title loans (where you put up a physical item as collateral, most often a car) or single payment loans, colloquially known as “payday loans”. These loans are generally not recommended by experts because “they are extremely expensive, with many lenders routinely charging interest rates of more than 400%. Borrowers often can’t pay back these high-cost loans right away, so they get sucked into a cycle of borrowing and racking up finance charges.” Link to article.


401K Loans


If you are thinking of withdrawing money from your 401K, you may consider taking a 401K loan instead. In this scenario, you are receiving a lump sum payment from your own 401K by putting up your assets in the 401K as collateral (there is usually a limit of to 50% of the total or $50,000 but the CARES Act has increased that to $100,000 and suspended the 50% rule for 180 days).


A major benefit here is that this withdrawal is not taxable (i.e. not treated as taxable income the year you take out the loan) and also does not impact your credit score as there is no required credit inquiry. You will need to pay interest, but it is paid back into your own 401K plan instead of to a lender in the case of other loans. This loan is on an amortized schedule (meaning the government stipulates how much interest & principal must be paid at certain times), but if you’re able to pay back the principal faster, there’s also no prepayment penalty for doing so. (If you are paying this back via your payroll, note these payments are being made with your after tax dollars.)


Bankrate has a 401K loan calculator that may be useful here.


SBA (Small Business Association) Loans


Freelancers, self-employed personnel and independent contractors are considered “solopreneurs” by the government, and can apply to SBA loans. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is the standard loan for those who have suffered physical or economic distress in places of a declared disaster (of which COVID-19 qualifies). EIDL loans are up to $2 million with an interest rate of 3.75% (2.75% for nonprofits) and a maturity of up to 30 years.


Note: The CARES Act has added an Emergency Economic Injury Grant to provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private nonprofits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of your loan application being received for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. This grant does not need to be repaid and applicants can receive it even if they don’t receive additional loan funds. If you had already applied for an EIDL before this advance was announced, you will need to reapply and opt-in for the grant option.


In the CARES Act a new SBA loan has also been added, called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), meant to help businesses cover employee salaries, paid sick/medical leave, mortgage rent/interest and utility costs. The program runs through June 30, 2020.


This new loan is meant to be faster, as it does not go through the typical SBA process, but is just directly administered through your business bank. (The CARES Act has expanded the number of commercial banks that can administer this loan.) The qualifications for this loan are based on your business records, not credit checks, removes borrower & lender fees and waives the personal & collateral guarantee requirements typical of other SBA loans. The full facts sheet on PPP from the U.S. Treasury is available here, with the most recent changes available here.


The application period for independent contractors and self-employed people starts April 10, 2020. It is best if you can establish this loan through a bank you have an existing relationship with as wait times are likely going to be long due to high demand. While all banks will have a different application, it’s a good idea to have ready:

  • SBA Form 2483 Paycheck Protection Program Application Form

  • 2019 or 2018 income statements and tax filings


So far, we have found 3 online banks accepting applications for PPP. We have not used these banks before and cannot vouch for them, but are listing them here as options: Kabbage, Cross River, One Oak Bank.


The amount you’re able to borrow is 2.5x your monthly payroll costs (see below). For freelancers, self-employed and independent contracts, monthly payroll costs are:

“The sum of payments of any compensation to or income of a sole proprietor or independent contractor that is a wage, commission, income, net earnings from self-employment, or similar compensation and that is in an amount that is not more than $100,000 in one year, as prorated for the covered period [one month].” - US Chamber of Commerce


Some additional guidance from the SBA now breaks this down into:


  • Owner compensation, which is calculated based on your 2019 1040 Schedule C, line 31 (net profit amount) and is capped at $100,000 annually

  • Employee salaries (if applicable): These include all gross wages paid to your employees shown on your Form 941, line 5c

  • Health insurance: Employer paid health insurance contributions as shown on Schedule C, line 14

  • Retirement: Retirement contributions as shown on Schedule C, line 19. This does not include the owner’s portion of retirement contributions which are shown elsewhere on the tax return.

  • Taxes: State and local taxes assessed on employee compensation


The above annual amount is then divided by 12, and multiplied by 2.5x for your total loan amount.


There is also a loan forgiveness component. After your loan is issued, you will have a “covered period” of 8 weeks to spend the loan amount on “forgivable” categories (see below). Up to 100% of the amount borrowed is forgivable (does not need to be repaid) if it is spent on the forgivable categories as long as 75% of the amount spent was specifically on payroll costs.


The amount forgiven from PPP will not be treated as taxable income. However, as of May 4, 2020 new guidance from the IRS says the expenses that make up the amount of the loan that is forgiven will NOT be eligible for deduction from your 2020 taxable income. In effect, your taxable income will increase by the amount of your loan that was forgiven.


Some updated guidance from the SBA explains forgivable categories:


  • Owner’s compensation up to $100,000, annualized as calculated by net profit (Schedule C, line 31), inclusive of retirement contributions and health insurance for owners only

  • Employee payroll costs (see above) are also capped at $100,000 annualized, calculated on a weekly basis so up to a maximum of $15,385 per employee

  • Mortgage interest payments on business obligations related to real or personal property

  • Business rent payments and business utility payments

  • Retirement contributions (for employees)

  • Health insurance premiums (for employees)


Note: In order to use PPP money on an expense, you must have claimed a deduction or be entitled to claim a deduction on the expense on your 2019 Schedule C.  For example, if you want to use PPP money for utilities you must have claimed a deduction for this or something similar in 2019.


Everything that is not forgivable will be turned into a loan with a 1% interest rate with a maturity of over 2 years and the first payment deferred for 6 months. (Note: interest still accrues over the 6 month period.)


Note you cannot apply for both the EIDL and PPP to cover the same expenses, and any amount you receive from the EIDL emergency grant program will be subtracted from the amount forgiven in the PPP. If you have an existing or pending loan through the SBA Disaster Assistance program, you are able to refinance it to the Paycheck Program loan instead.


The most up-to-date loan forgiveness application released by the Treasury is available here.


UPDATE on forgiveness: The Senate has now passed a PPP extension, which increases the covered period from 8 to 24 weeks and lowers the payroll threshold from 75% to 60%. Companies that received the PPP are also now allowed defer payroll taxes (it appears to just be social security taxes, but guidance is ambiguous) for the rest of the year: 50% of the amount deferred is payable December 31, 2021 and the other 50% is due December 31, 2022.

Resources for Finding Temporary Jobs During This Time


Look to basics stores, major retailers, delivery services, 3rd party logistics providers, government organizations, healthcare centers, food pantries / distribution centers for places that are most likely to be actively hiring for temporary and part time work. If you do decide to seek employment in a public-facing role, make sure the company complies with CDC guidelines to keep yourself safe and protected.


The below are some links to job forums, community groups and employer suggestions to help you on your search. We are primarily focusing our research on New York City and Los Angeles for these listings, but please send any other resources and job posts anywhere in the country.


Update on Filing 2019 Taxes


The federal filing deadline and tax payments for 2019 has been extended to July 15, 2020. You can check your state deadlines here (most have also been moved back to the same date).


If you are owed money, you can still file now to receive your tax refund earlier.


If you already filed and want to cancel your taxes, you can call the IRS directly at 888-353-4537 and cancel it.


If you can’t afford to pay what you owe in taxes, you can apply to set up an installment plan with the IRS. These payment plans range from short-term payment plans (paying in 120 days or less) or a long-term payment plan (paying in more than 120 days that could up to 3 years). Each of these plans charge interest, and also penalties under certain conditions.


Here are some free tax return preparation sites:


Additional Budgeting Considerations For This Time


Here are some budgeting tools that may be helpful:



It’s important to not panic buy, not just out of consideration for others. but also to protect the flow of your money. Experts recommend only stocking up on a 2 week supply of food, especially nonperishables. (We will have additional Skillshare videos + resources about shopping and cooking sustainably during this time coming soon from Studio ATAO’s founder, Chef Jenny Dorsey.) Right now, there is a bottleneck in distribution and stocking since consumers are purchasing and stockpiling major quantities of food. After the initial rounds of panic shopping, the food system and nonperishable supplies will catch up.


A good way to start budgeting better for right now is to trim your subscription services, such as:

  1. Reducing and or removing monthly services you don’t need (e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, Spotify)

  2. Reviewing any mobile apps that are charging you monthly subscription fees

  3. Halting any services you are not using right now (e.g. gyms, curated gift boxes)


You can also ask for longer grace periods and/or reduced or waived fees from vendors you need to pay (e.g. gas, electric, bookkeeping, internet, cable). There are some services like Trim, Clarity Money, Emma that will do this on your behalf, often for a charge on any savings you do reap.


Many cities have declared a temporary halt to any evictions (for renters) or foreclosures (for owners) on missed payments for a certain period of time. While this means you cannot be evicted or forced to foreclose, you still owe the payments. This will also likely be charged interest and may be subject to legal action from your landlord or lender after the specified time period has passed. If you are considering pursuing this, weigh the payment terms carefully against your own funding options and make sure to notify your landlord in advance.


Note, as a subset of this: The CARES Act also puts a temporary, nationwide eviction moratorium in place for any renters whose landlords have mortgages backed or owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other federal entities. This will last for 120 days after the bill passes, and landlords also can’t charge any fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent. Link to article.


If you have outstanding loans, you can and should call your loan providers to ask for relief during this time.


Note: Student loan payments held by the federal government (direct loans) have been halted until September 30th, 2020. You should see this reflected in your account when you log in; if not, contact your loan provider for an update.


There are also many relief funds that are being formed right now for workers from all different industries. Please keep in mind these are not guaranteed, likely being overwhelmed with demand and also will take some time to be sent, so the best course of action is to budget as much as possible without taking these funds into account. We are updating our Instagram highlight “COVID 19 Resources” with links to these funds and other useful resources.

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If you’ve enjoyed this Skillshare episode and want to want to help our team at Studio ATAO, you can become a monthly patron of ours at Patreon or send us a one-time donation via GiveLively. We thank you for your support!

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Videography: Federica Nanfeng, Sarah M. Park

© 2020 by Studio ATAO, Inc. A 501(c)3 nonprofit.