COVID-19: Minnesota Resources for Small Businesses and Self-Employed Freelancers

ASMP-MSP has assembled the following resources to help small businesses and self-employed freelancers navigate some of the COVID-19 relief efforts available in Minnesota. Please refer back to this page, it will be updated as more resources and information become available. Please visit for up-to-date information from ASMP National.

Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants, Apply Through July 2

Applications for $10K Small Business Relief Grants open now through July 2; apply and help spread the word!

MN DEED is pleased to announce the opening of the 10-day application period for the new Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program. The program will disburse more than $60 million in grants of $10,000 to small businesses across the state that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.This program was approved by the Minnesota Legislature on June 12 with overwhelming bipartisan support, signed by Gov. Tim Walz on June 16.

Please note, Home-based businesses – except for licensed child care providers – are not eligible.

Read More Here:

Small Business Guide from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (MN DEED) issued the following press release on March 31, 2020. It details state and national programs that may benefit small businesses and self-employed people impacted by COVID-19 and related stay-at-home orders.

Self-Employed Freelancers, Contractors and Sole Proprietors Can Now Apply for Minnesota Unemployment Insurance

Congress recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The law includes several changes that may affect your eligibility for unemployment benefits. These changes include:

• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program – provides weekly benefit payments for self-employed people, independent contractors and others who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits, including self-employed people and independent contractors.
• Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – $600/week additional payments for people receiving regular or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
• Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – A 13-week extension of unemployment benefits for workers who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits.

Minnesota is quickly implementing the changes to Unemployment Insurance (UI) and has begun accepting applications from self-employed workers. Please see the following guide for specific instructions for applying for MN UI as a self-employed freelancer, independent contractor or sole proprietor:

UPDATE 4/24/20: Minnesota has begun paying out PUA benefits to certain groups of self-employed people and 1099 workers. We were one of the first states in the nation to implement all three of the new CARES Act benefits programs. More information for self employed people is available here:
Information for W-2 employees during COVID-19 can be found here:

UPDATE 5/5/2020: Updated guidance for requesting weekly PUA benefits for self-employed workers:
Step-by step guide for requesting weekly regular UI benefits during COVID-19 for W-2 Employees:

MNsure Special Enrollment Period Has Ended, Though Options Available

The special enrollment period ended Tuesday, April 21, but you may still have options for enrolling in coverage or increased financial help toward paying for your current plan:

• If you lost or will you lose your employer-sponsored health insurance you may qualify for a special enrollment period.
• If you have had a decrease or loss of income and are currently enrolled in a qualified health plan through MNsure, make sure to keep your account updated by reporting your current income to MNsure. You may be eligible for low- or no-cost coverage, or increased financial help toward paying for your current plan.
• Other qualifying life events—such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, or a move—may make you eligible to enroll now. Year-round enrollment is also open to those who qualify.

Please visit MNsure for most current information regarding the special enrollment period:

Safety While Shooting: the ASMP Guide

ASMP National has developed a master page for links and materials related to ASMP’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic specifically focused on Health, Safety, and Legal matters. This will be the home for videos, documents, and future content about these topics. This page will be continually updated as we receive advice form health, safety legal and legislative authorities:

Mental Health Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to the entire profession of photography. Amid cancellations, uncertainty, and unclear guidance, it’s hard to keep your head above water. This important ASMP Webinar was recorded April 1, 2020. Licensed Professional Counselor and therapist Mitch Isle discusses the best ways to cope with an avalanche of bad news, both personally and professionally: Coping with Uncertainty Webinar

On May 5, 2020, our friends at APA Chicago, in partnership with NAMI Chicago held a webinar to discuss the importance of mental health and wellness, especially in the face of uncertainty. Kasey Franco, NAMI Chicago’s Director of Training & Education led the discussion and gave insight into the Recovery Framework Model, managing COVID-19 and other stressors related to uncertainty, how to be supportive to others, and creating your wellness plan exercise: Mental Health Awareness Zoomcast

AdFed sat down to have a candid conversation about mental health in the advertising world because let’s face it, it is a crazy world out there and it takes a toll. While living through a global pandemic and civil unrest, many of us may be feeling bouts of despair, anxiety or profound sadness. These are emotions that people who struggle with their mental health feel every day of their lives (with or without a pandemic). Nearly one in five U.S. adults is impacted by mental health, and there’s mounting evidence that the ratios may be even higher for the creatively minded, like people in advertising. You can watch the whole conversation from June 5, 2020 here: Open Minds Webinar

Visit the ASMP COVID-19 Hub for Current Information and Resources

ASMP National has established a COVID-19 Hub for photography professionals impacted by the coronavirus. Please visit via the link below for current updates on the CARES act, Paycheck Protection Program, SBA Economic Impact Disaster Loans and current advocacy efforts:

The COVID-19 pandemic, information, and related actions by local, state, and federal governments are changing by the day. ASMP cannot guarantee or endorse the current accuracy of the information presented. The links and webinars on this page are being shared as additional resources to all visitors, though we always recommend caution and vigilance for outdated or incorrect information. Although the content we have created was accurate at the time of posting, that may have since changed given the fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation. As a result, please regularly consult federal guidelines and your state and local authorities for updates. Further, ASMP accepts no responsibility, and will not be liable for, the use of or reliance on the information provided. Bottom line? Check and double-check. We strongly recommend it.