List of Financial Assistance Programs for Entertainment Industry Pros Impacted by COVID-19

For music and entertainment industry professionals and creators, this Corona Virus has certainly caused many to lose some serious cash. Our industry depends heavily on our interactions and engagement with the public and many us are self-employed and lack benefits that others may receive like health insurance, unemployment insurance, etc. Here’s a list of support options provided by the government in times crisis for freelancers, musicians, and content creators:

FEMA’s Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Fact Sheet:

If you do not qualify for your state’s unemployment insurance, you can apply for FEMA Disaster Unemployment Assistance program. This a program that covers those who are unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of a natural disaster.

To be eligible for DUA, individuals must:

  • File a regular unemployment insurance claim and be determine ineligible for benefits

  • Be unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of the major disaster.

  • Be able and available for work, unless injured as a direct result of the disaster.

  • File an application for DUA within 30 days of the date of the announcement of the availability of DUA benefits.

  • Have not refused an offer of employment in a suitable position.

Self-employed individuals who are unemployed as a result of a major disaster may be eligible for funds if they:

  • Have applied for and exhausted all regular unemployment benefits from any state and/or do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

  • Can no longer work of perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster

  • Are unable to reach their jobs or self-employed locations because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster

  • Became the breadwinner or major support for their household because of the death of the head of the household due to the disaster; or

  • Cannot work or perform services in self-employment because of injuries caused as direct results of disaster.

Learn more about how to apply for FEMA DUA here:

U.S Small Business Administration Disaster Relief Program

Business Owners can apply for a low interest disaster loan from the SBA. Disasters loans can be used to cover payroll, bills, working capital, and anything impacted by a disaster.

Search and see if your area has been declared a disaster area and apply here:

For those living in Austin and have been directly affected by the cancellation of SXSW, allows DJ’s, content creators, and freelancers post their lost income to receive donations.

Note: The site is specific to Austin, TX locals however they are working towards getting resources up for other communities


The Recording Academy MusiCares

Artists can apply for emergency financial assistance through the Recording Academy’s MusiCares program. The program is available to music people who have experienced an unavoidable emergency. To be eligible, you must:

  • Show documented employment in the music industry for at least five years or credited contribution to six commercially released recordings or videos

Documentation can be liner note credits, check stubs, flyers, newspaper articles, copies of contracts, and brochures.

For more information and to apply:

MusiCares FAQ (extended list of resources):

Actor’s Fund Entertainment Assistance Program

The Entertainment Assistance Program from Actor’s Fund functions as an entryway and guide through The Fund’s many programs when you’re facing personal or work related programs. It is also a conduit for emergency financial assistance in times of pressing need or in response to catastrophic events.

Any performing arts or entertainment professional may call on the Entertainment Assistance Program for support. Eligibility for financial assistance requires an application, documentation of your professional earnings and an interview and in general is based on:

  • A minimum of five years of industry paid employment with earnings of at least $6.500 for three out of the last five years, or

  • Twenty years of industry paid employment with a minimum of ten years of earnings of at least $5,000 for each of those years, and

  • Financial need

To learn more and apply:

Freelance Artists Resource

This site provides a list of resources for the freelance artist community:

Chicago Artists Relief Fund

Artists from Chicago can apply to receive funding from the Chicago Artists Relief Fund, a fundraiser organized by a small group of Chicago artists. You can contribute to the fundraiser here. You can apply to receive funding here.

The Creator Fund

The Creator Fund from ConvertKit provides small $500 mini grants for creators and small business owners of all kind. Click here to apply for funding.

Hope this list helps some one. Be sure to book mark this post and check back here as I will be adding to this list as I learn or more resources that become available.

Thanks for reading!

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