From now through March 10, the U.S. Small Business Administration will accept first-time Paycheck Protection Program applications exclusively from businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees.
An SBA press release says the two-week special application period, which started Wednesday, is meant to give the nation’s smallest employers a clear field to seek PPP help before the program’s latest round expires March 31.
Congress sought in authorizing that round “to reach small and low- and moderate-income businesses who have not received the needed relief a forgivable PPP loan provides,” the agency said.
It added that the smallest “first-draw borrowers” have only received $2.4 billion of the $15 billion set aside for qualified businesses that didn’t receive PPP loans in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thus far, “a disproportionate amount of funding” for first-time PPP applicants has gone to businesses that qualify but have more than 20 employees, SBA said.
Some businesses that got PPP aid in 2020 can qualify for an additional round of help if they lost at least 25% in gross receipts in any quarter of 2020 over the same period in 2019.
The program offers forgivable loans to cover 2½ months of payroll costs, mortgage or rent payments, utilities and other qualifying costs.