The COVID-19 pandemic has created not only a health crisis but also an economic crisis. The economic disruption that resulted from the virus has impacted both individuals and businesses, especially small businesses. The CARES Act was signed into law in March of 2020 with the goal of providing billions of dollars in relief for both workers and small-business owners.
The Paycheck Protection Program is a small-business loan program designed to assist businesses and their employees during the pandemic. This loan program was designed to serve as an incentive for business owners to keep their employees on the payroll. The Small Business Administration will forgive these loans as long as all of the criteria are met and the business owners use the funds for eligible expenses. The Paycheck Protection Program closed on Aug. 8, 2020. The SBA is not currently accepting applications.
Economic Injury Disaster loans provide economic relief for nonprofit organizations and small businesses that are experiencing a loss of revenue due to the pandemic. These loans are designed to help organizations meet their obligations and pay their expenses that otherwise would have been paid if the pandemic had not happened. Businesses can use the funds to cover normal operating expenses and as working capital for their business operations. Interest will accrue with these loans, but payments are deferred for one year.
Small Business Administration Express Bridge loans are designed to meet the needs of small businesses that already have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender. These bridge loans make it possible for small-business owners to access as much as $25,000. Business owners can use the funds to make up for a temporary loss of income due to the pandemic. These bridge loans are also useful for business owners applying for Economic Injury Disaster loans because the bridge loans can provide fast access to funds.
Small Business Administration Debt Relief involves the SBA paying six months' worth of principal, interest, and fees that business owners owe for current microloans in regular servicing status and those microloans that were disbursed before Sept. 27, 2020. This debt relief won't cover Paycheck Protection Program loans or Economic Injury Disaster loans. Small-business owners don't have to apply for this debt relief; the SBA provides it automatically for loans that are not currently in deferment as well as loans that are currently being deferred.