Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions about financial assistance available to nonprofits through the federal government related to relief from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.  If you have further questions not answered on this page, please contact Sarah Dobson at Please note: The information provided below does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or tax advice. We advise you to contact your own counsel or tax professional before taking any action.

Please note that the current application window for the Paycheck Protection Program closed on August 8, 2020.

  • My organization employs 499 people. Which financial assistance programs are we eligible for?
    • Paycheck Protection Program – “An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.” This loan provides up to 2.5 times the organization’s monthly payroll costs up to $10 M, and can be used toward payroll, benefits, rent and mortgage, and debt. Information on how to apply is found here, and the Small Business Administration anticipates loans will be available April 3 – June 30, 2020.
    • Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans - “Private non-profits” with fewer than 500 employees are eligible for the Emergency EIDL program. Religious institutions such as churches are not eligible, though some charitable organizations with religious identity may be. This program is meant to disperse relief quickly, with a loan amount of up to $10,000 within 3 days of applying. These funds can be used to cover payroll and other operating expenses. Information and application here.
    • Note: An employer can apply for and receive both a Paycheck Protection Program loan and EIDL loan, but the funds obtained cannot be used for the same purpose.  
  • My organization employs 501 people. Which financial assistance programs are we eligible for?
    • Main Street Business Lending Program – The Federal Reserve Board is currently finalizing a proposal to include nonprofits in this program, as authorized by the CARES Act.  Lutheran Services in America has submitted comments on this proposal to Fed officials, calling for the agency to implement a program that offers forgivable loans for nonprofits, including those with more than 500 employees.
  • Which employees are counted in the Paycheck Protection Program?
    • Full-time and part-time employees count toward the 500 employee cut-off. Independent contractors are not counted. Independent contractors can apply for loans individually. Read more here.
  • Are religious institutions eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program?
    • Yes! All 501c3 organizations are eligible, including religious institutions. 501c4 and chambers of commerce are not eligible. Read more here.
  • Am I eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program if I receive Medicaid?
    • Yes! It took a lot of hard work and advocacy to remove the Medicaid exemption from the CARES Act, but our incredible network was successful. Great work, everyone!
  • Does the Paycheck Protection Program provide loan forgiveness?
    • Some loans may be forgiven. Read more here under the section “Loan Details and Forgiveness.”
  • If I already had to furlough employees due economic challenges related to coronavirus, am I still eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program and loan forgiveness?
    • Yes, if you furloughed employees between February 15 and April 26, 2020, you will not be penalized in loan forgiveness if you rehired those employees by June 30, 2020.
  • My organization does not have unemployment insurance. If I furlough employees, are they eligible for unemployment relief under the CARES Act?
    • Yes, uninsured organizations and churches are covered. The CARES Act waives the unemployment waiting period and extends it to 13 weeks of coverage. For 4 months, individuals can receive the state benefit, plus an additional $600 weekly, paid for by the federal government. This coverage includes contractors.
  • My organization is self-insured. Do I still need to reimburse the state for unemployment paid to employees I furlough?
    • You only need to reimburse the state 50%.