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Financial Benefits for TLC Drivers

During the COVID-19 health crisis, we understand that TLC drivers in New York have and continue to be greatly affected. With fewer rides being requested and the City’s changing restrictions, drivers’ income from trips have taken a huge hit but there is financial support for you out there.

The financial benefits available can be quite confusing and INSHUR aims to help you wherever possible so we’ve compiled a simple list with information on each scheme and how to apply. Keep reading to find out more.

Please note: the following information is correct as far as INSHUR are aware at the time of writing (14/10/20) and we recommend you seek personalized advice to ensure what you are eligible for.

First up, there are a lot of acronyms that you may have heard if you’ve tried to navigate the help available before, so we’ve laid them out for you:

— DOL – Department of Labor

— EIDL – Economic Injury Disaster Loan

— FPUC – Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

— LWA – Lost Wages Assistance

— PPP – Payment Protection Program

— PUA – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

— SBA – Small Business Administration

— UI – Unemployment Insurance

EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan)

This is a long-term, low-interest loan from SBA that provides economic relief to small businesses that are currently experiencing a loss of revenue temporarily during the pandemic.

Click here for more information and apply.

PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) / FPUC (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation)

This is a federal program that is included in the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) act. It was a weekly benefit of $600 for Americans who were unable to work due to the pandemic but did not qualify for traditional UI. It has now expired but it could change if Congress decides to take action to extend the benefit. We recommend keeping an eye on DOL’s information here but please note, they ask that you do not call for updates.

If you had already applied before it expired, you will continue to receive your PUA as long as you are still qualified and certify weekly. PUA benefits have been extended up to 46 weeks.

Log in to your account here to certify your weekly benefits.

LWA (Lost Wage Assistance)

In the case of New York State, this is a federally funded agreement where residents of New York State could apply to receive $300 per week beginning the week of September 14th for 6 weeks. It will not continue beyond the six weeks.

If you qualify for this benefit, you will have had to take no action to receive it or you would’ve been contacted by DOL with a DocuSign email and further instructions.

For more information, please see the DOL’s LWA factsheet by clicking here.

PPP (Paycheck Protection Program)

This is a 5-year low-interest loan that may be partially or fully forgiven and 100% federally guaranteed. This can only be spent on certain things such as payroll and the loan is only available directly through participating banks and lending institutions. You can find out more about the program and how to apply by visiting SBA’s website here.

UI (Unemployment Insurance)

This is a federal program that is included in the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) act and is the traditional financial aid for people who are unemployed. However, people who are self-employed, independent contractors and farmers could be ineligible for UI so PUA extends this benefit to those people. Read more about UI from the DOL here.

UI benefits have been extended up to 59 weeks but you must certify for your weekly payments in order to receive them. Do it online here or learn how to do it by phone here.

That was a quick summary on the financial benefits that are potentially out there for you, along with some useful links and helpful information but it is complicated and we can’t guarantee that all the information is correct so we do recommend following the official guidance and information very carefully.

Additionally, click here for a useful article that explains how PPP, PUA and EIDL can work together, as it starts to get really complicated when you start using more than one program.

If you are struggling with your financial situation, you can book a free one-to-one financial counselling session via the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs by clicking here.

Additionally, visit the full TLC Driver Resource Center here for legal services and health and mental health resources.

Other useful resources from INSHUR that aim to help TLC drivers in NYC:

  • What you need to know about LaGuardia, Newark and JFK during COVID-19
  • Where you can find a restroom during New York’s coronavirus lockdown
  • Information on face coverings for drivers
  • Things you can do in self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic
  • How to stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak