We tested It: Navigating the CARES Act individual application? Here’s the step-by-step process

CARES Act
CARES Act

If you are applying for a piece of the $21 million in Alachua County CARES Act funds earmarked to help those residents financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s what we experienced navigating the “Individual Application” process and some advice to make it go smoothly.
 
The process takes about an hour if you have all of your documents digitized by scanning or photographing them or downloading PDFs or jpegs of various financial statements.
To find out if your income qualifies you to apply for CARES Act funding click on the green “Individual Application” button and you will see in bright blue a link to the maximum income limits here.
 
Here’s a breakdown: One household member $58,680, two household members $67,080, three household members  $75,480, four household members  $83,760, five household members  $90,480, six household members  $97,200, seven household members $103,920, eight or more household members $110,640.
Set up a folder on your desktop and start acquiring the following as a minimum to start:
Driver’s license photos of each person included in the application. 
Social Security numbers, email address, phone numbers of each applicant.
Copies of your last month’s pay stubs and copies of pay stubs prior to March 1 to prove the drop in income.
Copies of any credit card statements before March first showing the balance and then the months following up to July 31st if you used convenience checks or a credit card to cover your household expenses and can show your balance growing after the shutdown with grocery, utility, gas, other living expenses you would usually have paid out of your income not off credit cards.
Download your bank statements from March 1 to July 31st.
Copy a utility bill that is dated after the date they request, not before March 1st to show that you are an Alachua County resident. Read these directions carefully.
Copies of any bills in delinquency. Again, if you protected your credit by the loss of income by credit card convenience checks or by running up your credit card bill, get those statements ready to upload.
If you paid yourself from a business and lost that income from profit, download a report from your bank account or your Square account from the period range of March 1 to July 31st to show the drop off and activity since the pandemic hit you business.
If you used personal funds or a credit card to pay rent on behalf of your business and took the financial burden on with your personal finances, prepare those documents as well.
Any other costs incurred by the pandemic such as doctor visits, hospital bills from testing positive and being admitted, buying face masks, hand sanitizers, hiring a babysitter or daycare as you took on two more jobs, etc., have receipts ready to upload.
Have the following figures ready: 
Household income,  total expenses incurred by pandemic, income lost since pandemic, amounts of any assistance already awarded throughout the pandemic March 1 to July 31st.
Also have a checking or saving account number and routing number available if you are choosing to receive an award via EFT (electronic funds transfer) but you can select check or debit card also.
Click this link to start an application: 
The process takes an hour or more and the application process cannot be saved and restarted so it has to be completed in one sitting. Perhaps in the late evening when the house is quiet and there are no interuptions.
Read all of the directions thoroughly and attach as much proof as possible from your back up documents.
Be honest in your reporting or if later it is found that any of the information supplied is not accurate, the county will require funds awarded to be returned.
Screen capture or take a photo of the application number that pops up after you select submit and save it for your records.
Currently, the award from the Individual Assistance Program will be $2,500 in the first round of funding and will be awarded on a first-come-first served basis with an eligible and complete application (missing no uploads or documentations and with thorough explanations.)
Up to 8,440 households could receive $2,500 each when the award is divided by the $2,500 amount.
Next week, applications for small and medium businesses will open and can be found at www.alachuacounty.us.

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