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Federal disaster loan program applications no longer limited to agricultural businesses

Jovita Carranza, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, testifies at the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Hearings to examine implementation of Title I of the CARES Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 10, 2020.

Kevin Dietsch | Pool via Reuters

The Small Business Administration is reopening its Economic Injury Disaster Loan and EIDL advance grant portal to a broader array of eligible small businesses and nonprofits affected by the coronavirus pandemic, beginning Monday.

The portal had been accepting applications only from agricultural businesses for the last month, as demand was high, and those businesses had not been EIDL eligible in the past.

“To meet the unprecedented need, the SBA has made numerous improvements to the application and loan closing process, including deploying new technology and automated tools,” SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said in a statement.

The EIDL program has gotten less attention that the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, which has been popular on Main Street but had a rocky initial rollout with businesses delayed in getting funding and large public companies being shamed into returning funds. As of Sunday, 1.43 million loans had been approved for a total of $95.6 billion through the EIDL program.

The loans available under the program had been for as much as $2 million, but that number was dropped to $150,000 due to demand. The program’s emergency grant was also dropped from its initial amount of up to $10,000 per business, to $1,000 per employee, per business. 

As of Friday, the PPP had 4.5 million loans approved for a total of $512 billion, with nearly $130 billion left unallocated for small businesses. Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were questioned about the implementation of both programs last week by the Senate Small Business Committee.

Data from the National Federation of Independent Business from earlier this month found that of the respondents who applied for an EIDL loan, 57% have been approved so far, 38% have not heard yet about the status of their application, and 5% were denied. About 36% of EIDL applicants have received the loan as of June 2. Sixty-nine percent of those who requested the EIDL emergency advance had received those funds.

Unlike the Paycheck Protection program, which businesses have the opportunity to apply to through June 30, there is not currently an end date to apply for EIDL assistance.

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