Two extensive packages of legislation enacted in the past few weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic include many provisions that may be helpful to veterinarians, and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is developing resources to help veterinarians learn more about the expanded benefits and programs now available to them.
Veterinarians and veterinary health care professionals working in small business environments can benefit from several new or expanded benefits established in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This includes:
- emergency medical leave
- paid sick leave
- expanded unemployment insurance
- suspension of federal student loan payments and interest accrual
- tax credits for small businesses
- new loan programs to assist small businesses, independent contractors and the self-employed
who are coping with the financial impacts of COVID-19.
Federal agencies are moving quickly to implement the COVID-19 stimulus measures. The Treasury Department says lenders will be able to begin processing applications for forgivable small-business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program as early as this Friday, April 3, with approval possible the day of application. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has posted a sample loan application to help potential applicants.
To help veterinarians understand and access the new benefits and relief measures available to them, the AVMA has developed several resources available on AVMA’s website, with more in development. This includes:
- A series of free, on-demand AVMA webinars that will that will focus on relief provisions and important resources for veterinarians. The latest webinars currently available address COVID-19 Insurance Claims and CARES Leave Provisions and CARES Act small business loan programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program, the new forgivable loan program for small businesses launching Friday, April 3.
- More details on new small business loan programs including Disaster Assistance Loans, Temporary Payroll Protection Program with Forgiveness, and Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans
- Information on small business exemptions from new paid leave requirements mandated by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- Highlights and details on the CARES Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act and how they may affect veterinarians
- Updates and resources from government agencies such as the Department of Treasury, Department of Labor, Department of Education and the Small Business Administration
- Addressing Contractual Obligations in a COVID-19 World
- COVID-19: Tax Provisions for Veterinary Small Businesses details temporary tax policies intended to help provide needed liquidity and help alleviate the cost of new paid sick leave and family leave requirements
- COVID-19: New Paid Leave Requirements
All of these are available on the AVMA’s COVID-19 webpage along with a wide range of other practical resources to help veterinarians and veterinary practices navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
The AVMA anticipates more clarification on these measures in the days and weeks ahead, and will be updating its resources as soon as possible with the latest information to help the profession through this difficult time.