The Small Business Administration wants all eligible small businesses to apply for its Economic Injury Disaster Loans and its Targeted EIDL Advance grant program — and it is trying to get the word out. In recent months, the SBA had been inviting small businesses who had previously been shortchanged by the grant program when funds ran out last year but now it is open to all eligible small businesses walloped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was always the plan to open it up to new businesses, and that’s the stage we are entering now,” an SBA representative said on a call with reporters Wednesday. “SBA is still accepting applications for our EIDL program, and we are encouraging stakeholders, partners and allies to help get the word out.”
How to qualify for grants:
- To quality, small businesses must apply for an EIDL in order to apply for an EIDL Advance grant. But the small business does not have to accept the loan in order to get the grant, or even be approved for the loan.
- The small businesses must have suffered revenue losses of at least 30% during any eight-week period beginning on March 2, 2020 or later. SBA said the small business needs to have a copy of its 2019 federal tax return for verification purposes.
- The small businesses must be located within a low-income community as designated by this SBA mapping tool.
- The small businesses must have fewer than 300 employees.
The SBA has been slow to disburse the $30 billion of grants allocated to the Targeted EIDL Advance program, with just more than $1.5 billion sent out to small businesses since the program reopened earlier this year. The Supplemental EIDL Advance, which provides additional $5,000 grants to small businesses, has only disbersed about $500 million of its $5 billion in funding.
Advice from the SBA: Double-check your answers on your application form, as many of their rejections stem from errors. The SBA also said there is an appeal process in place. “We would strongly encourage them to make sure they take their time and make sure they read their questions. In the cases where people said they were declined incorrectly, they are very easy to overturn,” an SBA official said.
The Targeted EIDL Advance cash grant program is one of the few remaining SBA Covid-19 relief programs with funds to disperse. The Paycheck Protection program closed to new applications at the end of May. The Restaurant Relief Program is essentially oversubscribed. The hotel industry has been pushing Congress for its own version of the restaurant grant program.