Department of Florida

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Dear Legionnaires,

The American Legion Department of Florida wants to ensure you that we are here for you. In these uncertain times, our staff is working diligently to keep our organization running smoothly and support you with any issues that arise. We are also working to keep you up-to-date on any important information regarding the current Coronavirus pandemic and how it affects you, our Posts and our Department.  Please utilize the resources below.

Department Headquarters Announcement

Department of Florida Headquarters Office will be closed, and staff will be working remotely until such time as it is considered safe and appropriate to reopen. Calls are being directed to voicemail and employees are answering voicemails and emails. During this time all Posts are encouraged to process their membership using the MyLegion.org website. Here is how you can get in touch:

Phone
Leave a message at 407-295-2631 or 800-393-3378, and a staff member will return your call.

Email

Emily Church, Reception/Emblem Sales – emblemsales@floridalegion.org
JoAnn Collins, Membershipmembership@floridalegion.org
Michael Bratsch, Eventsevents@floridalegion.org
Bekki Tibbs, Programsprograms@floridalegion.org
Jennifer Cooper, Fundraisingdonate@floridalegion.org
Bobbi Halle, Financefinance@floridalegion.org
Carrie Kolze, Creative Servicescreative@floridalegion.org
Michael Beaven, PROJECT: VetReliefveteranservices@floridalegion.org
Cristina Hakeem-Rosario, POJECT: VetReliefveteranservices@floridalegion.org
Dennis Latta, Veterans Service Officervso@floridalegion.org
Rachel Castleberry, Executive Assistantadministrative@floridalegion.org
Bruce Comer, Assistant Adjutantbcomer@floridalegion.org
Michael McDaniel, Adjutantmmcdaniel@floridalegion.org

American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance

American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance grants provide immediate debt-free cash for military and veteran families with minor children at home when food, shelter, utilities, clothing or other basic needs cannot be obtained, due to hardships beyond their control. And this pandemic has been beyond anyone’s control.

Last winter, more than $1.1 million in TFA grants were disbursed to U.S. Coast Guard families in need during the federal government shutdown when USCG paychecks were delayed. “It helped them not get behind on their rent,” Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charlie Ray said after The American Legion delivered TFA grants. “It helped them put food in the refrigerator.”

Military and veteran spouses who have lost jobs or business income due to the coronavirus outbreak are now trying to figure out how to put food in their refrigerators and keep a roof overhead while a loved one serves in uniform, or did so honorably when called upon in the past. There is no doubt these patriotic American families need and deserve our help.

We can only provide that help through the American Legion Veterans and Children Foundation. The foundation supplies the funds necessary to assist needy military and veteran families with children at home.

In times like these, The American Legion Family steps up. I am asking all of us to do just that this month – American Legion Children & Youth Month – because the only thing kids and parents across our nation can count on in the coming weeks is uncertainty, financial and otherwise. Let’s turn April from a month of uncertainty into a month of hope.

Please help us help those who need us most with a tax-deductible gift to the American Legion Veterans and Children Foundation. Direct donate right now. Learn more about VCF at legion.org/vcf.

PROJECT: VetRelif and FVF Emergency Assistance

The Florida Veterans Foundation has teamed up with the American Legion of Florida to assist veterans through PROJECT: VetRelief. This will help those veterans who have been laid off or unable to work during this pandemic around the state of Florida.

PROJECT: VetRelief – Apply  |  FVF – Donate

CARES Act Funding for American Legion Posts

By now you’ve heard talk about the passing of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid bill, the largest stimulus in U.S. history. What does that mean for our Posts?

Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan
Small Business Administration (SBA) offering advance disaster loans of up to $10,000, with a 2.75% interest rate for non-profits, to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs, such as:

  • Fixed debts
  • Payroll
  • Accounts payable
  • Other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact

These loans are offered on a long-term repayment to keep payments affordable up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more | Apply here

Paycheck Protection Program
Keep your employees employed and paid. You could qualify up to $10 million, determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll, plus an additional 25% of that amount.

  • Based on payroll averages between January 1 – February 29
  • SBA will forgive the portion covering 8 weeks of payroll, and certain other expenses following loan origination
    • Will not cover pay for people with untraceable payroll records (i.e. “Paid under the table”)
    • Must prove all expenses
    • Must apply for forgiveness with your lender directly
  • Coverage for
    • Employees salary
      • Wages less than $100,000
      • Limit of wages per employee of $10,000
    • Paid sick or medical leave
    • Insurance premiums
    • Mortgage, rent and utility payments
  • Loan payments will be deferred for six months
  • No collateral or personal guarantees needed
  • No repayment fees, all fees are waived
  • Employer side of payroll taxes are deferred through the end of 2020.
    • Deferred taxes due end of 2021 and end of 2022, with 50% of the liability being paid at each date
      • Any business that does not have a loan forgiven under the new SBA Paycheck Protection Program is eligible for the payroll tax deferral

Organizations with less than 100 employees, is based on all wages paid, regardless of whether an employee is furloughed.

Learn more | SBA Approved Lenders | Find Local SBA Office

Debt Relief
The SBA Debt Relief program will provide reprieve on new and current loans. The SBA will pay:

  • Principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020
  • Principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months

Learn more

Express Bridge Loans
If you currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender, you can access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. The terms are:

  • Up to $25,000
  • Fast turnaround
  • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan

Learn more | Connect with SBA

Ok, so how do we take advantage?

The United States Treasury announced Sunday that FDIC insured local banks, credit unions and qualified lenders have been authorized to distribute CARES Act Funding to Nonprofits. So, just CALL YOUR BANK!

501(c)(3) non profit organization and 501(c)(19) veterans organizations are eligible.

Sources: U.S. Small Business Administration, Inside Charity, CARES Act Full document

Please note: This information was compiled from the sources above. The American Legion, Department of Florida is not responsible or liable for the accuracy of the information contained in this article. You should discuss all details with your lenders.

CARES Act for Non-Filers - Entering Payment Info

If you don’t file taxes, use the “Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here” application to provide simple information so you can get your payment.

You should use this application if:

  • You did not file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return because your gross income was under $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples). This includes people who had no income. Or
  • You weren’t required to file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return for other reasons

If you receive these benefits, we already have your information and you will receive $1,200. Do not use this application if you receive:

  • Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits
  • Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits

Special note: People in these groups who have qualifying children under age 17 can use this application to claim the $500 payment per child.

Enter Payment Info Now

Events Rescheduled/Cancelled
  • Florida Legion Riders Unity Ride – Now a virtual event
  • Florida Legion Riders Unity Meet & Greets – Cancelled
  • Florida Legion Riders State Rally – Cancelled
  • Florida Legion Riders Round Robin – Cancelled
  • National Legacy Run – Cancelled
  • Florida Baseball Events – Cancelled
  • Department Commander’s Homecoming – Rescheduled new date TBD
  • Florida Children & Youth Picnic – Cancelled
  • Florida Children & Youth Golf Tournament – Cancelled
  • Florida Eastern Area Ball – TBD
  • Florida Northern Area Ball – Cancelled
  • Florida Boys State – Cancelled
  • Florida Youth Law Cadet Week – Cancelled
  • Florida Shooting Sports Competitions – Cancelled
  • National Oratorical Competition – Cancelled
  • National Shooting Sports Competitions – Cancelled
  • National Spring Meetings – Cancelled
  • National Convention – Cancelled
  • Boys Nation – Cancelled
  • Auxiliary Girls Nation – Cancelled
  • Auxiliary Girls State – Cancelled
  • Eastern Area Ball – Cancelled

We will continue to update as information becomes available. If you would like to share a cancelled or rescheduled American Legion event, please have the organizer email to webmaster@floridalegion.org with the information.

Buddy Checks

All Posts should be conducting “Buddy Checks” with their members during these difficult times. Department has created a new Buddy Check toolkit. The toolkit helps Florida Legion Posts touch base with veterans in their communities during the Coronavirus pandemic and it is now available. “How to Perform a Buddy Check During the Coronavirus Pandemic” offers tips on how to reach veterans who may be sheltering and social distancing to find out if they need assistance.

Download Toolkit

Beware of Scams

Beware of Scam donation solicitations! As with holidays, and natural disasters and other times of emergency, the Coronavirus pandemic has brought out those attempting to scam people wanting to assist others. Any solicitations for donations should first be confirmed as legitimate before donating. Anytime you receive an email from someone you know or any other email that you are unsure about, always reach out to the “supposed” sender and verify the requests. Use the contact information you have, DO NOT REPLY to the email, because then you are just asking the scammer.  When in doubt, reachout!

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