With more opportunities to get pandemic assistance – and more time to pay it back – business owners who have been impacted by the pandemic should take another look at government assistance programs. Here’s what you need to know.
As the end of the pandemic is on the horizon and much of the nation reopens, many small business owners are still reeling from the financial damage. If you’re among them, the good news is that there is still plenty of aid flowing to help small businesses rebound.
One big change is an increase in the maximum size of economic injury disaster loans (EIDL). As of April 6, the SBA will increase the maximum size from $150,000 to $500,000. The loans, which have an interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses, solo business owners and independent contractors, come with a 30-year maturity.
New loans in process at the time of the change will be automatically considered for the larger loan limits, according to the SBA. The agency also plans to reach out to existing loan holders with more information about how they can request a loan increase. Since the pandemic, the SBA has approved more than $200 billion worth of EIDLs.
The SBA also extended the deferment period for these loans and all other disaster loans on March 12. Payments on pandemic-related EIDLs will not be due until 2022 (but interest will continue to accrue).Meanwhile, the Senate just passed an extension for applications to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that moves the deadline from March 31 to May 31. The bill is headed for President Joe Biden’s desk, and he is expected to sign it. There is also an extension of the SBA’s processing period by 30 days for applications received by May 30.
If you run a live venue; a theatrical production company; a live performing arts organization; certain types of museums, zoos and aquariums; a movie theater; or a talent representation firm, you may be eligible for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, established by the Economic Aid to Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act. The program has $16 billion in funding. The grants cover 45% of their gross revenue, with grants maxing out at $10 million.
If you received a PPP loan on or after Dec. 27, 2020, your SVOG will be reduced by the PPP loan amount. If you apply for one of these grants, it will prevent you from applying for a PPP loan afterward.
See related: Should you get another round of PPP money?
Repaying your loans
If you have an SBA 7(a), 504 loan or a microloan but are having trouble paying it on time, you may also want to look into the debt relief program the SBA is now offering. Loan holders may be eligible for six months of principal, interest and associated fees if the loans were approved by Sept. 27, 2020.
If your loan has not been deferred, the SBA will make monthly payments and may have notified you of this. If your loan has been deferred, the SBA will start making monthly payments with the first payment that comes due after the deferment period.
It’s likely that we’ll continue to see updates to the various pandemic aid programs in 2021. Setting alerts for keywords such as EIDL, PPP and SBA debt relief in your favorite search engine will help you keep your finger on the pulse and apply for relevant programs as soon as possible.