How Hard-Hit Milspouse Businesses Can Find Help in the Coronavirus Economy

Struggling Business 1200
Struggling Business 1200

The stock market is tanking, businesses are shuttered by order of the state, and there's no bailout on the horizon for the little guy.

There's no telling how this will ultimately affect the many military spouses who operate their own businesses as a source of income or a side gig.

It's a good thing they can rely on their military income and allowances, but for the long run, those businesses are an important source of income for military families. Luckily, resources are available to those who need a little extra help during this trying time.

The best places to start are definitely the military aid organizations listed here.

Read: Military Money Help During the Coronavirus Pandemic

If a business is ineligible for the many programs offered by military relief organizations, options are still there to get a little help.

Since President Donald Trump declared a nationwide state of emergency, the U.S. Small Business Administration is able to offer businesses of all sizes low-interest, long-term disaster loans for up to $2 million to cover economic injuries.

The three-step process begins with applying on the SBA's disaster loan website. Like any loan, it still requires a credit check and verification of actual losses. After application, an SBA loan officer will work with the business owner to reach a verifiable amount of actual damages. Typically, a decision is reached within 2-3 weeks. With the size and scope of the COVID-19 disaster, a decision could come sooner.

If a business has any physical damage as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including its real estate, equipment or inventory, those damages may also be covered by SBA disaster loans. These loans can be used to pay off outstanding debts, payroll and any other bills at a 3.75% interest rate.

Even if your state isn't yet offering disaster assistance, those interested should prepare to apply. Find out whether your state is offering disaster assistance at the SBA website.

Loans aren't for everyone, no matter how low the interest rate may be. America's big businesses are beginning to chip in. On March 17, Facebook announced a $100 million grant program for small businesses grappling with the economic fallout of COVID-19. This $100 million comes in the form of cash grants and Facebook ad credits.

Facebook's help will be available for 30,000 businesses in 30 countries; it will start taking applications in just a few weeks, the social network wrote in a blog post. Though the $100 million is a drop in Facebook's overall revenues, it's very cognizant of the economic fallout it and other marketing websites will face during and after the crisis.

Finally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has assembled a Coronavirus Response Toolkit to help small businesses weather the economic and operational challenges ahead. This includes policies businesses can implement to help stem the spread of the virus, as well as policy recommendations for lawmakers -- including a payroll tax freeze.

Anyone supporting the policy recommendations set forth by the Chamber of Commerce should tell their congressional representatives.

The Main Street Alliance, a network of 30,000 businesses and a policy group that advocates for American small businesses, wants the government to do more. This includes expanding the SBA loan program, the government stepping in to fill supply gaps, and direct cash payments to low- and middle-income Americans in need.

It also recommends market-based tactical opportunities for local businesses, including increasing the sales of gift certificates. This provides income for small businesses while providing value to consumers to be used later.

The coronavirus outbreak is providing a lot of challenges for business owners of every stripe. Even though the prospect of bailouts for major corporations is becoming more likely, more options for small businesses are there to get help as the pandemic drags on.

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