CARES FUNDS

HighlandsCares_4_nowords      HIGHLANDS CARES

Phase 3 is not yet open, but will open soon for a 24-hour period. Please read the information below so you can gather the required documents and be ready to successfully complete your application.

This phase is for applicants who have not already received funds in Phase 1 or Phase 2.

Qualified Highlands County residents and small business owners may apply online for financial assistance through the Highlands County portion of the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act grant. The online application process will require residents and business owners to fill out a form and attach verifying documentation with the application.

Individuals who need assistance applying must call the United Way of Central Florida at 863-648-1500, Ext. 263 or utilize the United Way's 2-1-1 service.

Businesses and non-profit organizations seeking assistance to apply for funds need to call The Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce at 863-385-8448.


CaresApplicationProcess
 

Individuals

 
Online Application: Individual


The Highlands County CARES Program was created to assist individuals that have experienced a verifiable loss of income due to the impacts of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) by providing $1,500 in grant assistance for living expenses. 

Do I qualify?

  • You must be a primary resident of Highlands County.
  • Applicant must be 18 or older.
  • Only one application per individual will be accepted. Please do not submit multiple applications.

The online application process will require individuals to fill out a form and attach verifying documentation with the application. Individuals who do not have the technology access to complete the online process or have questions may contact United Way of Central Florida by calling 863-648-1500, Ext. 263 to request assistance.

 

What do I need to apply?

You must provide the documents below with your application. Failure to provide these documents will result in your application being denied.

  • Valid Florida ID or Florida driver's license showing Highlands County as the place of residence.
  • Proof of loss of income related to COVID-19 impacts due to health or employment. (furlough, lay-off letter from employer, unemployment statement, pay stubs, etc.)
    • Furlough and Layoff Letters must include:
      • Name of Applicant
      • Company Letterhead
      • Dated
      • Signed
      • Include signers Contact Information
      • Statement verifying loss is due to COVID
      • Unemployment
      • Must be accompanied by a paystub from 2020.
  • Loss of Income
    • Must provide 3 paystubs to prove loss (2 regular, 1 reduced amount)
  • Part Time Employment – Reduction in Hours. All paystubs must identify applicant
    • 3 paystubs
    • Must include letter from employer stating the applicant experienced a loss due to COVID. Letter must include:
      • Name of Applicant
      • Company Letterhead
      • Dated
      • Signed
      • Include signers Contact Information
      • Statement verifying loss is due to COVID
  • All paystubs must identify applicant
  • 2019 W-2 or 1099 (1040 or Tax return not acceptable).

What will I need to self-certify?

  • I will not utilize Highlands CARES Individuals Program funds to pay for duplication of benefits that may have been received through the State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) Funds Program financial disaster assistance from Highlands County Board of County Commissioners to provide funding to pay rent, mortgage payments, or utilities.
  • I consent to the disclosure of such information that I am providing as may be required for purposes of income and other fact verification related to my application for financial assistance. I understand that (i) any willful misstatement of material fact will be grounds for disqualification of my application; (ii) the information I am providing is needed to determine my assistance eligibility and its submission in no way assures qualification for assistance, and; (iii) all documentation I submit is subject to federal and government audits.
  • I confirm the information provided in my submission is true, correct, and complete to the best of my knowledge and behalf.
  • I will use financial assistance awarded to me for living expenses.

Highlands CARES FAQs

Small Business / Non-Profit


Online Application: Small Business / Non-Profit  

 
Highlands County-based small businesses and non-profits that can show they were negatively impacted by COVID-19 may receive assistance within the following funding levels: 

  • $2,000 for businesses or organizations with 0-5 employees
  • $5,000 for businesses or organizations with 6–15 employees
  • $7,000 for businesses or organizations with 16-25 employees
  • $10,000 for businesses or organizations with 26–75 employees

A business owner or non-profit can submit up to TWO applications if they have multiple businesses or organizations that meet all other eligibility requirements. A non-profit can submit an application for BOTH the Non-Profit Assistance program and the Community Proposals program.

The online application process will require individuals to fill out a form and attach verifying documentation with the application. Businesses or non-profits who do not have the technology access to complete the online process or have questions may contact the Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce for assistance by calling 863-385-8448.

A business or non-profit applicant that meets ALL of the following criteria qualifies:

    • Applicants must have had 75 or fewer employees, including the owner, as of March 17, 2020.
    • Applicants must have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.
    • Applicants must be businesses or non-profits with a principal location in Highlands County that is legally operating within Highlands County and the State of Florida prior to March 17, 2020.
      • Please provide documentation to support the statement of loss.
    • Applicants must be businesses or non-profits with a principal location in Highlands County that is legally operating within Highlands County and the State of Florida prior to March 17, 2020.
    • Proof that the owner was the only employee, or the company had no employees/ one employee on March 17, 2020 and I’m not submitting forms IRS W3 or IRS 941
    • Picture of each owner’s State-issued driver’s license or photo ID (may be a .pdf or a .jpeg file) please include identification for all persons listed on sunbiz. Add Another File
    • State of Florida business filing or DBA/ fictitious name registration (if applicable). If your business is not required by law to file with the State of Florida, please upload a copy of your City Business Tax License. (Self-employed farmers and real estate agents are the only exempt businesses that don’t have state or county filings and may provide a filed Schedule C, Schedule F, or other appropriate IRS self-employment form with their 1040 for 2019 or 2018)
    • Add Another File If company is claiming 2 or more employees as of 3/17/20, and we are submitting IRS Form W3 or IRS Form 941 with this application.
    • A completed and signed IRS W-9 form.

Ineligibility Criteria:

  • Highlands County firms that are a subsidiary or partially owned by a publicly traded company or hedge fund.
  • Companies with legal actions against or from the County, including code enforcement liens.
  • 501c(6) organizations involved with lobbying.

 Required Business and Non-Profit Documents:

You must provide the documents below with your application. Failure to provide these documents will result in your application being denied.

  • A copy or picture of each business owner’s ID or non-profit leadership’s ID
  • “Active” status business registration from the FL Division of Corporations (Sunbiz), or a copy of municipal business license, or copy of Schedule C.
  • A completed and signed IRS W-9 form.
  • For businesses with two or more employees: W-3 summary or IRS 941 showing the number of employees prior to March 17, 2020.
  • Information to estimate company’s average monthly expenses before March 17, 2020 or other verification of loss of business or revenue directly related to COVID-19.

 What will a business or non-profit need to self-certify?

  • I (we) certify that I (we) have the authority to apply for this grant on behalf of the business or non-profit described herein.
  • I (we) certify that the business or non-profit has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 emergency ad described herein.
  • I (we) certify that the grant funds will be used for authorized business expenses only, in accordance with the requirements and restrictions set forth in Section 601(d) of the Social Security Act, as added by Section 5001 of the CARES Act, and not for household, personal, or consumer use.
  • I (we) certify that the information contained in this application is true, complete, and correct to the best of my (our) knowledge.
  • I (we) shall cooperate with the County or appropriate officials for grant auditing purposes, as further set forth and described above.
  • I (we) understand that any willful misrepresentation on this Application could result in a fine and/or imprisonment under provision of the United States Criminal Code U.S.C. Title 18, Section 1001, and shall entitle the County to receive a return of any funding provided here under, in addition to any other remedies it may have against Applicant at law or in equity.
  • I (we) further understand that, pursuant to Section 92.525, Florida Statutes, a person who knowingly makes a false declaration thereunder is guilty of the crime of perjury by false written declaration, a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in Sections 775.082, 775.083 or 775.084, Florida Statutes.
  • I (we) understand that failure to use any funding received pursuant to this Application in accordance with the requirements set forth herein or in Section 601(d) of the Social Security Act, as added by Section 5001 of the CARES Act, shall entitle the County to receive a return of such funding, in addition to any other remedies it may have against Applicant at law or in equity.
  • I (we) understand that in the event this Application is printed, signed, and delivered to the County, or its designated agent, in hard copy format (by mail, courier service, hand delivery, or otherwise) and not submitted electronically, then the Applicant, by virtue of its physical signature, specifically authorizes and directs the County, or its designated agent, to electronically sign the Application on the Applicant’s behalf, for purposes of the County’s file tracking and retention system.

Highlands CARES Business and Non-Profit FAQs