The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is for now out of money, but that doesn't mean you should sit tight.
With Congress in talks to add another $250 billion to the PPP, business owners who haven't applied yet should reach out to their lenders to find out if they're still accepting applications--and if so, start the process of applying, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and chief policy officer Neil Bradley.
"Most lenders we've talked to are continuing to accept applications from small businesses," he says.
Bradley's advice came during the fourth National Small Business Town Hall on Friday. Inc. and the Chamber are hosting the free weekly live webinars to help small-business owners stay informed about the resources available during the pandemic.
Registration is now open for the fifth National Small Business Town Hall on Friday April 24, at 12 p.m. Eastern.
Business owners who already have applied but haven't received their money, Bradley says, should try to get clarity on the status of their loan. If the financial institution has already approved an application, submitted it to the Small Business Administration, and received a distinct loan number, then your loan is part of the $349 billion in PPP loans that have been allocated but not disbursed. If not, then you'll have to wait for the government to replenish the PPP funds.
Bradley anticipates Congress striking a deal early next week. Democrats and Republicans are both in agreement on the $250 billion PPP figure but are negotiating other details such as financial assistance for hospitals and states.
The economic injury disaster loans (EIDLs), on the other hand, might take longer to replenish. "They're not the center of discussion in Washington right now, but I suspect that ... the EIDL program gets additional funding as well," Bradley says. If the program is replenished, he says, it's possible that the maximum amount of the loan's forgivable advance will be increased. The SBA originally said the advances could be up to $10,000 but later reduced that amount to the lesser of $10,000 or $1,000 per employee.
Businesses can apply for both PPP loans and EIDLs, but can't use both to cover the same expenses.
Additionally, the Treasury Department finally released PPP guidance for 1099 workers on April 14, four days after those individuals could begin applying for the loans. Bradley pointed out that those workers--which include independent contractors and self-employed people--should be aware the maximum size of their loan is 2.5 months' worth of income, but only eight weeks' worth is forgivable.
Bradley also talked about the Main Street Lending Program that's currently being established by the Treasury Department. Loans through the program will not be forgivable, but will come with significantly lower interest rates than standard small-business loans. "This will be an important source of financing as we head into summer and get into reopening," Bradley says.
As of now, the minimum size of the loans will be $1 million, but Bradley expects that number to come down. Additional guidance is expected next week, with the loans possibly becoming available around the end of April.