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COVID-19 Relief Fund for the Self Employed Launches, Leaves Out Some

Susan Ladmer
A painting that Susan Ladmer hopes to sell as a self-employed antiques dealer.

Applications are now open for the Self Employed Livelihood Fund Program, or S.E.L.F. Governor Chris Sununu set up the fund under the federal CARES Act to provide economic relief to people who are self-employed. The maximum award amount a business can receive is $50,000.  

Applicants have until July 17, 2020 at 4 p.m. to submit their applications.

The program has restrictions on eligibility, which may prevent some who need the money from applying.

Susan Ladmer is 76 and lives in Peterborough. She’s self-employed selling antiques. Before the pandemic, she worked from her home and the New Hampshire Antique Co-op in Milford. But she says because of her age, she has been terrified to leave her house and expose herself to the virus, which has kept her from working.

Ladmer says she applied for and received a Main Street Relief Fund grant of $995, which she said is not enough to support her housing and business costs. It also automatically disqualifies her from applying to the self-employment fund.

“It’s a choice between spending every penny I have, and pennies I don’t have,” said Ladmer. “I think the whole set up of the money they’re handing out is not fair, but the fact that they’re handing any in my direction I’m grateful for.”

Other restrictions that may prevent many from applying include having one or more employees, seasonal or otherwise, or being in operation for less than a year. Hospitals, health care and child care providers, farmers and nonprofits are also ineligible.

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