WASHINGTON — The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, a federal disaster relief loan designed to serve and support small businesses still feeling the effects of the pandemic.
In a statement, the SBA reported that it is ready to receive new applications immediately from small businesses looking to take advantage of these new policy changes.
“The SBA’s COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program offers a lifeline to millions of small businesses who are still being impacted by the pandemic,” says SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.“We’ve retooled this critical program – increasing the borrowing limit to $2 million, offering 24 months of deferment, and expanding flexibility to allow borrowers to pay down higher-interest business debt.”
Guzman also said that the SBA has also ramped up its outreach efforts to ensure it is connecting with the country’s smallest businesses as well as those from low-income communities who may also be eligible for the companion COVID EIDL Targeted Advance and Supplemental Advance grants totaling up to $15,000.
“Our mission-driven SBA team has been working around the clock to make the loan review process as user-friendly as possible to ensure every entrepreneur who needs help can get the capital they need to reopen, recover and rebuild,” she says.
Key changes being announced by the SBA include:
- Increasing the COVID EIDL Cap — The SBA reports that it is raising the COVID EIDL cap from $500,000 to $2 million. Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment and paying debt.
- Implementation of a Deferred Payment Period — The SBA says it will ensure small-business owners will not have to begin COVID EIDL repayment until two years after loan origination so that they can get through the pandemic without having to worry about operating expenses through the remainder of the pandemic.
- Establishment of a 30-Day Exclusivity Window — To ensure small businesses have additional time to access these funds, the SBA says it will implement a 30-day exclusivity window of approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans over $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period.
- Expansion of Eligible Use of Funds — COVID EIDL funds will now be eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.
- Simplification of Affiliation Requirements — To ease the COVID EIDL application process for small businesses, the SBA reports that it has established more simplified affiliation requirements to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
These enhancements to the COVID EIDL program, the SBA says, should allow more businesses greater and more flexible support from the more than $150 billion in available COVID EIDL funds.
Eligible small businesses and nonprofits in all U.S. states and territories can apply, the SBA says. More information about eligibility and application requirements can be found at www.sba.gov/eidl.