If you’re preparing to apply for unemployment benefits or need a loan for your business, you’re probably already stressed as it is. It’s understandable that you’re not looking forward to navigating a potentially complex application process in order to get the aid you need.

We want to help make the steps ahead for you a little smoother, even in a small way, by outlining the key documents that will likely be required when you apply for economic assistance. With so many people filing for loans and unemployment insurance right now, hold times are long and systems are slow, so being prepared beforehand can help you get what you need when the “on-hold” music stops.

Here are some of the key documents to have ready if you’re applying for unemployment benefits or a loan for your business.


If you’re in a category that wouldn’t have qualified for benefits before the CARES Act, you’ll need to check with your state unemployment agency to determine which benefits are available to you. The application process will also vary from state to state.

However, broadly speaking, it’s recommended you have the following at the ready:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Names of all employers since 2018 as they appear on your paystub
  • Wage documentation, including your most recent tax return
  • State driver license or identification card
  • Alien registration card

You may need to provide additional documentation if you are a small business owner, military (Form DD-214) or federal civilian employee (SF-50 or SF-8).


The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a provision of the CARES Act legislation recently signed into law, offers businesses forgivable loans of up to $10 million for businesses that hold on to most of their employees. The program’s aim is to replace a portion of revenues lost during mandated closures. To have the loan forgiven, employers must keep their workers employed and paid. The program was launched on April 3, and independent contractors could begin applying April 10. Please note, PPP funds had run out on April 16. However, legislators are in talks to replenish those funds, so you'll want to be ready if that happens.

Here’s a quick, broad checklist of documents to prepare if you’re thinking of applying:

  • Ownership information (name, title, ownership percentage, EIN/SSN and address)
  • Payroll costs in 2019
  • If the business wasn’t in existence between 2/15/2019 and 6/30/2019, you’ll need payroll documentation for 1/1/2020 to 2/29/2020.
  • You can compile payroll information from a variety of sources: 2019 income tax returns, 2019 Forms 941, 2019 Form W-3 and/or payroll reports from payroll processors.


The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help support their businesses after a declared disaster. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, small business owners in the U.S. are now eligible for an EIDL loan advance of up to $10,000.

Here’s what you’ll need if you’re applying for such a loan:

  • Business owner information
  • Gross revenues for period between Feb. 1, 2019 and Jan. 31, 2020
  • Cost of goods sold for the same period
  • If you have rental properties, lost rent due to the disaster
  • Compensation from other sources received as a result of the disaster
  • Number of employees as of Jan. 31, 2020

These are stressful times, but just remember there is assistance available. For a deeper dive into your finances and your options going forward, reach out to an advisor, accountant or tax professional with expertise in finance and regulations.

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