The CARES Act and other Financial Relief / Resources for Your Design Business


The CARES Act and other Financial Relief / Resources for Your Design Business

On March 25, the US Senate adopted the CARES Act - a package of financial relief for small businesses in the U.S. in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed was instrumental in helping to negotiate these benefits.

While much of the information on this relief package is still being prepared, DESIGNxRI spoke with SBA representatives, accountants, and tuned in to a few informational sites to learn more. We share some direction below.

Along with the new financial relief opportunities, you’ll find below additional resources available from the RI Department of Labor and Training - that many design businesses have benefited from in the past, and that can also be incredibly useful as you navigate these uncertainties in your business.

Rhode Island Commerce Corporation also has several up to date resources including business guidelines during the disaster and free tech support!

Read on to learn more. DESIGNxRI is here as a resource to help you - but we *highly* advise you talk to your accountant, lawyer, financial advisor and/or trusted banking partner. They will have the best information for you individually.

CARES Act Outlined

The CARES Act was passed to help businesses survive the outbreak. Below are several ways to learn more about the programs. Please reach out to SBA consultants, your accountant, financial advisors, and other professionals for more information. Please know, DESIGNxRI is here to support you as much as we can during this time.

Inside the CARES Act are a number of items that may be of interest to you, including:

  • The Paycheck Protection Plan (SBA 7(a)) (PPP) is a forgivable loan designed to help you keep your employees - and includes coverage for self-employed individuals. To access this opportunity, you must apply through an SBA lender - which is likely your bank. You do not apply to this loan directly through the SBA. Applications for this program will be available April 3. Prepare your paperwork now!
  • The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) allows for emergency funds to businesses. The application is fast and puts you in a queue to receive $10,000 within 3 days while your application is reviewed. That $10,000 is forgivable even if you are ultimately denied the full loan. EIDL is applied directly through SBA’s webpage. Note: We’ve understood a benefit to EIDL is payroll tax deferment through 2020.

Helpful links to decipher the CARES Act:

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training - Opportunities

Along with the opportunities below, be sure to take a look at the DLT’s factsheet summarizing a bunch of resources.

1099 / Freelance / Independent Designers / Anyone ineligible for regular UI benefits


  • If you are a non-seasonal employer, who is looking to cut down on labor hours, but does not want to lose quality talent, consider worksharing.
  • Worksharing allows you to reduce labor hours while maintaining all employees.
    • Affected employees can reduce the financial impact and receive a portion of their unemployment insurance.
  • Visit the DLT’s webpage for more information including an application and a payment chart to quickly assess how many hours you can operate.

RI Tax Credits

  • Rhode Island offers several tax credits to help businesses invest, grow, offer apprenticeships, and hire new employees. Consider taking advantage of these tax credits now and in the period following the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Specifics of these tax credits include
    • A 50% credit on apprentices and interns
    • A 40% credit new employees for the first year of their hire
    • 50% credits on various forms of production
    • A $2,400 tax credit on wages of specific target groups (Veterans, food stamp recipients, etc.)

For the Individual Employee:

Unemployment insurance

  • If your business closes, you are told by your employer to stay home, or have to stay out of work to care for children not longer going to school because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance
  • The DLT will waive the seven day wait for COVID-19 related claims
  • The DLT provides a list of unemployment rights and responsibilities
  • For further information on unemployment information visit the DLT’s webpage on the subject
  • If you are a jobseeker (unemployed or otherwise) consider using Rhode Island’s job hunting resources.

Disaster unemployment assistance

Temporary disability insurance

  • If you are unable to work because of COVID-19, but your business remains open, you may qualify for temporary disability insurance
  • The DLT will waive the seven day wait period for COVID-19 cases
  • Visit the DLT’s webpage on the subject for more info