Coronavirus Disaster Loans Available to Small Businesses, Including Freelancers
Posted: 03/25/2020 | Author: Terry M Cannon, Esq. for Creatives On Call
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While each of us do our part to mitigate the spread of the virus, businesses must also assess the state of their operations and ensure that they can make payroll and pay debts at a time of financial uncertainty. Thankfully, there is help for small businesses and startups in need of assistance to stay afloat. Didn't catch my last response to the Families First Coronavirus Act? Read about it here.
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers loans for businesses affected by a declared disaster. While we typically think of a “disaster” as involving physical damage to property, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) may be available to business owners who have suffered only economic loss due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
These loans are now available all 55 states and territories plus the District of Columbia.Business owners simply need to apply online.
Specific details of a loan will vary on a case-by-case basis. The SBA can provide loans of up to $2 million and interest rates are capped at 4 percent per year. Loan terms may be up to 30 years and will be determined by the applicant’s ability to repay. It is important to know that the loan amount will depend upon the amount of economic loss the business has incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are limits to how the money can be spent. For example, funds may not be used to refinance prior debts, but may be used to make payments on those debts. Read the terms of the loan carefully to ensure it is appropriate for your particular needs.
Who Qualifies? Small businesses (including freelancers); small agricultural cooperatives, and most private non-profit organizations that have suffered a substantial economic injury.
While there is no clear-cut definition of “small business,” if you are the owner of a small business affected by the COVID-19 disaster and are unable to meet financial obligations and pay ordinary and necessary operating expenses, you may be eligible for the SBA EIDL.
How to apply
• Go to http://disasterloan.sba.gov/ using Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. It is best to apply during off-peak hours (7pm to 7am) due to the large number of businesses eligible for the loans and high traffic on the website.
• Create an account: this only takes a couple of minutes
• After you create an account, you will be directed to the application process.
• You will be required to provide information including:
- Applicable insurance coverage
- A schedule of business debts and assets
- A personal financial statement
- Gross revenue and costs of goods sold for 12 months prior to the disaster
- Compensation from any other sources received as a result of the disaster
- Tax returns for 2016, 2017, 2018 (you do not have to have them, just complete the transcript request included in the application)
- Additional information may be required based on individual circumstances.
Businesses also can get information through the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or 1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The information provided in this post does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, call an attorney. Terry M Cannon, Esq. is a practicing lawyer for a local law firm. He graduated from University of Cincinnati Law and is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association.