LACONIA — New Hampshire residents and businesses are beginning to benefit from federal stimulus legislation in the form of $1,200 checks, forgivable loans through a payroll protection program and an additional $600 per week in unemployment compensation.
Meanwhile, more aid is coming in a bill now pending in Washington to further deal with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday the state’s Unemployment Security system paid out $50 million in unemployment compensation Monday alone, much of it including the enhanced benefit.
Restrictions placed on non-essential businesses under emergency orders to limit the spread of COVID-19 have put record numbers of workers off the job. More than 125,000 people have applied for unemployment benefits in New Hampshire over a month’s time.
The additional $600 per week under the federal CARES act will continue until July 31. The act also provides an additional 13 weeks of eligibility for benefits in addition to the existing 26 weeks.
Sununu also said 11,500 businesses throughout the state have received loans totalling $2 billion through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program. A portion of the loan equal to two weeks of payroll and other expenses can be forgiven.
Last week, the federal government began sending $1,200 stimulus checks to people with direct deposit information on file with the Internal Revenue Service. The first paper checks are going out this week.
More stimulus legislation has passed the Senate and is pending in the House.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen praised the bill.
“Importantly, this agreement recognizes small businesses need help and if we’re going to reopen our economy, we need more testing,” she said. “And as hospitals in New Hampshire furlough workers, delivering resources to health care providers is absolutely vital to public health and safety.”
The agreement provides provides $470 billion for small businesses, hospitals and nationwide testing efforts which includes:
• $250 billion for the Payroll Protection Program.
• $50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which will allow the Small Business Administration to approve approximately $350 billion in loans.
• $75 billion for grants for health care providers to help provide more liquidity for hospitals, physicians and other providers who are struggling with lost revenue and added expenses. This builds on the $100 billion in health care provider grants already provided under previous legislation.
• $25 billion for a nationwide effort to ramp up testing capability.
Rep. Chris Pappas, whose family owns the Puritan Backroom restaurant in Manchester, also praised the legislation.
“As a small business owner, I understand that our small businesses simply cannot wait any longer for additional relief and I’m pleased a bipartisan agreement has been reached and approved by the Senate, which I repeatedly urged House leadership from both parties to do. But make no mistake: while this relief is critical, more must be done to further bolster our economy and support Granite Staters so we can get through this crisis and get America back on its feet and back to work.”