Coronavirus (COVID-19): Relief options and Additional Resources
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Small business ownership comes with many challenges, especially for members of the reserve components of the United States armed forces who often have to balance their civilian careers with their commitment to serve the nation. Although members of the Reserve and National Guard have managed these demands for decades, since the events of September 11th, 2001, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard personnel of the Reserve components have contended with more frequent deployments at home and abroad. This trend will likely continue.

This resource guide was developed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for small business owners returning from an active tour as part of your reserve obligation. In the pages that follow, and on the accompanying compact disc, you can find the tools, planning resources and information needed to help reestablish your small business.

Returning to your business may be like starting over again. The considerations and decisions that you made when you first started your business need to be addressed upon your return, particularly if you decided to mothball or suspend operations. In most cases, your service to the nation came not only with a personal sacrifice, but a financial one as well. You may be facing considerable financial challenges as you attempt to restart business operations. There are a number of resources to help you through this period. You are not the only one that has faced this situation and experts are available to assist you in getting back up to speed.

A Short Note on Planning Ahead

The most important aspect of your Small Business Mobilization Plan is establishing a process for business readiness. Plan ahead to ensure that your business affairs are in order before an actual alert and mobilization. The time you devote developing an effective plan will provide the foundation, organization and security you’ll need to fulfill your military Reserve duties and responsibilities with the least disruption — to you, your employees, and your customers and creditors.
Every Reservist who owns a small business should prepare a Small Business Mobilization Plan, keep it on file and update it annually. A properly written action plan is both a method of achieving the desired result and a measure of success. Remember to include absences for weekend drills, annual training or professional development and designate someone to implement the plan in the event you cannot do so.
Every person affected by your mobilization should understand the contribution you’re making in the defense of our nation. Doing so will ensure your mobilization plan is successful.

Considerations upon Your Return

Upon release from active duty, assess the benefits for which you qualify under the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940, in addition to your overall business situation and your personal issues. Knowing you are protected by a law that can save you legal problems, and possibly some money as well, will be of value as you reestablish your personal and professional lives.
Under the provisions of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 (SSCRA), you may qualify for any or all of the following – reduced interest rate on mortgages payments, reduced interest on credit card debt, protection from eviction if your rent is $1,200 or less, delay of all civil court actions, such as bankruptcy, foreclosure or divorce proceedings.

Although all service members receive some protections under the SSCRA, additional protections are available to Reservists called to active duty. One of the significant provisions under the act limits the amount of interest that may be collected on debts of persons in military service to 6 percent per year during the period of service. This provision applies to all debts incurred prior to the commencement of active duty, and includes interest on credit card debt, mortgages, car loans and other debts. The provision applies to pre-service debts and the interest rate reduction doesn’t occur automatically—service members must request it.

For a detailed explanation of the SSCRA and the provisions that protect you, contact your local Veterans Affairs specialist at 1-800-827-1000 or visit www.defenselink.mil/specials/Relief_Act_Revision/.

After you determine the provisions to which you are entitled under the SSCRA, it’s time to consider the financial condition of your business. Just as when you decided to start your business, you must take diligence in determining whether and how to restart it. Business decisions are best made from an objective perspective rather than an emotional one. You must consider whether to reopen your business, close your business – if it has been operating in your absence, sell your business, or in some cases, declare bankruptcy.

Before deciding which option to pursue, meet with your financial advisor and discuss the financial condition of your business. If you don’t have a financial adviser, now is a good time to hire one to evaluate the financial status of your business. If hiring a financial advisor or accountant is not an option, contact the Office of Veterans Business Development at 202-205-6773 or www.sba/vets and seek assistance from a local Veterans Business Development Officer (VBDO). These locally-based SBA staff members are available to help you start, manage, and grow successful small business concerns, or in your instance restart your small business. Your local VBDO can assist you in determining the right decision to make, or he or she may refer you to one of SBA’s resource partners for assistance in evaluating the financial condition of your small business or in determining the right decision to restart, close or sell your business. These resource partners are: Veterans Business Outreach Centers, www.sba.gov/vets/, Small Business Development Centers www.sba.gov/sbdc/, SCORE www.score.org or Women’s Business Centers www.onlinewbc.gov/.

Remember, the decision to remain open, restart or close your business does not have to be made immediately and should be made with as much information as possible. A complete listing of SBA offices and resource partners is located on the accompanying CD-ROM. Following is a checklist that will help you reestablish your business. The Getting Back to Business Checklist is a step-by-step guide for restarting a business. Follow each section carefully and seek the assistance of a business professional (i.e., consultant, business coach, etc.) when you encounter problems. Remember, SBA has resources to assist you that are free or a a nominal charge.

To read more on this resource guide, please click on the below attachment.