A Quick Guide to Small Business Loans and COVID-19 Relief Options
Small businesses were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a few weeks of the public health crisis, 43% of businesses had closed temporarily. A number of stimulus bills were passed to provide urgent capital—in the form of debt relief programs, loans, and grants—to the impacted small businesses.
While most of the programs have ended, some are still open. This guide will focus on the open small business loans and COVID-19 relief options that can help you with your budget. When submitting your loan application, use DoNotPay to draft a loan request letter that will help you secure the funding you need.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It was designed to provide temporary financial assistance to small businesses, primarily for operating expenses and debt refinancing.
As a federal agency that provides funding options for small businesses across the country in normal circumstances, the Small Business Administration (SBA) facilitates the so-called SBA loans. They are partially guaranteed by the agency and issued by partner lenders, such as banks and credit unions. Generally, SBA loans have better terms compared to other types of loans offered by different lenders.
Based on the CARES Act, the SBA used to offer several COVID-19 relief programs, but some are no longer active, including:
- Paycheck Protection Program
- Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
- Restaurant Revitalization Fund
The options that are still available are:
- COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
- Small Business Debt Relief Program
The COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides low-interest loans to support the recovery of small businesses and private nonprofits. These funds should cover working capital and help owners pay business debts (past, present, and future). You cannot use EIDL funds to expand the business or pay the startup costs of a new business.
The table below outlines the terms of the COVID-19 EIDL loans:
|Loan amount||Up to $2 million|
|Repayment term||Up to 30 years|
|Interest rates||3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits|
|Collateral||Required for loan amounts exceeding $25,000|
|Personal guarantees||Required for loans bigger than $200,000|
|Fees||One-time $100 fee for loans exceeding $25,000|
COVID-19 EIDL funds are reserved for businesses that have been operational at least since January 31, 2020. Sole proprietors, small businesses, tribal groups, cooperatives, and nonprofits can apply for the COVID-19 EIDL funds. You can find the detailed eligibility requirements for the program in Section 2 of the FAQ document. The program will end on December 31, 2021, or earlier if the funds are exhausted.
The COVID-19 EIDL program also provides two small business loan advances. Unlike loans, these advances don’t have to be repaid. You must apply for the COVID-19 EIDL to be considered for the grants. If you qualify, the SBA will send an invitation via email for you to apply for the advances once you submit your loan application. Even if you don’t get or accept the loan, you can still get the advance.
The COVID-19 EIDL advances are:
- Targeted EIDL Advance—This is a grant of up to $10,000 for small businesses with 300 or fewer employees operating in low-income communities. The business must have experienced revenue reductions of more than 30%
- Supplemental Targeted Advance—A grant of up to $15,000 is offered to small businesses that operate in low-income communities, have suffered a revenue reduction of more than 50%, and have ten or fewer employees
The CARES Act allows SBA to offer debt relief to small businesses that have received 7(a) loans, microloans, and 504 loans. For these loans approved before September 27, 2020, the SBA will cover principal, interest, and related loan fees for six months. Loans under the Paycheck Protection Program and EIDL do not qualify for loan forgiveness.
SBA offers debt relief automatically as follows:
- Regularly serviced loans—The SBA starts making monthly payments up to six months
- Deferred loans—The SBA will start making monthly payments after the expiration of the deferment period for no more than six months
DoNotPay is here to make it easier for you to find funding for your business. Even if your startup is not established, a clear and convincing loan request letter can persuade the lender that your business plan is viable.
Don’t know where to start? DoNotPay will help you create a professional loan request letter that your chosen lender will find hard to reject.
Follow these steps to get your letter in less than five minutes:
- Subscribe to DoNotPay
- Navigate to the Business Loan Request Letter tool
- Answer the brief questionnaire
- Upload the required documents
We will generate your letter instantly and submit it to the lender of your choice in your stead.
Don’t have any lenders in mind? Use our Online Business Loan Lender product to identify the available loan providers easily and quickly.
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