Last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration made major changes to the Economic Damage Disaster Loans program that helps small businesses negatively affected by disasters, including COVID-19. The program has been a lifesaver for many small businesses that need access to working capital due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their cash flow and operations.

Small businesses (and nonprofits) can now apply for up to $ 2 million in EIDL funds instead of the previous SBA limit of $ 500,000 through its loan portal at www.sba.gov. You can apply for up to $ 2 million starting today, but loan funds over $ 500,000 won’t be approved until after October 8. Loan funds of up to $ 500,000 can be awarded immediately after online applications are processed.

EIDL now also allows restructuring of existing commercial and federal debt, which means you can pay off current loans or debts with EIDL funds, increasing flexibility for most small businesses. With terms of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits for up to 30 years, this can be an important tool in reducing your debt burden at higher interest rates. You can still use the funds for rent, utilities, payroll, and other previously allowed business operating expenses.

The SBA application process should take about three weeks for applications up to $ 500,000, six to nine weeks for applications over $ 500,000. Applications over $ 500,000 cannot be granted until after October 8, as noted above.

If your business still needs additional working capital due to the impact of COVID-19, this may be another important tool provided by the SBA. There is no current forgiveness provision for EIDL, so these are loan funds, not grants. Make sure you understand the impact it has on your ongoing business operations before applying.

For more details on the EIDL program, feel free to visit the website at https://bit.ly/3tBHMs5.

Steve Bryant is Executive Director of the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington and Regional Director of the South Central Small Business Development Center.


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