The programs and initiatives in the CARES Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers. This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA. To keep up to date on when these programs become available, please stay in contact with your local Small Business Administration (SBA) District Office, which you can locate here.
Keep in mind…the CARES Act Loans are NOT yet available. SBA and the Department of Treasury are still in the process of implementing all the new loan programs associated with the CARES Act including the Payroll Protection Program. There are several new policies, procedures, and guidelines that must be in place before lenders can begin making these loans. SBA is working on these as quickly as possible so that borrowers can begin applying. SBA does not have a timeline for when these guidelines will be issued, but until those full guidelines are available, details will be pending.
In the meantime, small businesses and most private non-profits in are still encouraged to apply for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Loans are available at 3.75% for small businesses (2.75% for non-profits) over 30 years.
Deciding Which CARES Act Programs Are Right For You
Struggling to get started? The following questions might help point you in the right direction. Do you need:
- Capital to cover the cost of retaining employees? Then the Paycheck Protection Program might be right for you.
- A quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you right now? You might want to look into an Emergency Economic Injury Grant.
- To ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or potential SBA loan? The Small Business Debt Relief Program could help.
- Just some quality, free counseling to help you navigate this uncertain economic time? The resource partners might be your best bet.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
The program will provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which will help workers remain employed, as well as help affected small businesses and our economy snap-back quicker after the crisis. PPP has a host of attractive features, such as forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels, no SBA fees, and at least six months of deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year. Small businesses and other eligible entities will be able to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. This program will be retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Loans are available through June 30, 2020.
SBA has delegated authority to lenders (banks, credit unions, etc.) authorized to make SBA 7(a) loans. Loan applications are not available yet, but further guidance should be out soon.
Debt Relief Program
This program will provide immediate relief to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular 7(a), 504, and microloans. Under it, SBA will cover all loan payments on these SBA loans, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out loans within six months of the President signing the bill into law.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans. To see if your state has been declared a disaster, check the running list of Presidential and SBA Declared Disasters on SBA’s website.
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the CARES Act, which provided additional assistance for small business owners and non-profits, including the opportunity to get up to a $10,000 Advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This Advance may be available even if your EIDL application was declined or is still pending and will be forgiven.
If you wish to apply for the Advance on your EIDL, please visit www.SBA.gov/Disaster as soon as possible to fill out a new, streamlined application. In order to qualify for the Advance, you need to submit this new application even if you previously submitted an EIDL application. Applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow your existing application.
Small Business Counseling
If you, like many small business owners, need a business counselor to help guide you through this uncertain time, you can turn to your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Women’s Business Center (WBC), or SCORE mentorship chapter. These resource partners, and the associations that represent them, will receive additional funds to expand their reach and better support small business owners with counseling and up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.
There will soon be a joint platform that consolidates information and resources related to COVID-19 in order to provide consistent, timely information to small businesses. To find a local resource partner, click here.
In addition, the Minority Business Development Agency’s Business Centers (MBDCs), which serve minority business enterprises of all sizes, will also receive funding to hire staff and provide programming to help their clients respond to COVID-19. Not every state has a MBDC. To find out if there is one that services your area, visit this site.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship has created a guide to the legislation included in the CARES Act. Download your copy now.
At the center of Growth Corp’s mission is a commitment to serve small businesses, and it’s something we take to heart…both during your times of growth and times of need. We’re here to support you and your business however we can. Don’t hesitate to contact us.