Loans for Small Businesses and Independent Contractors: The EIDL Program
On June 15, 2020, the SBA announced that it was again opening up its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant and loan program. This means that independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers are eligible to receive a $1,000 grant that does not have to be repaid.
Small businesses and agricultural businesses also may apply for the grant, equal to $1,000 per employee of the business up to a maximum of $10,000.
A loan for favorable terms from the SBA may also be available. There is some uncertainty as to the amount available, but up to $150,000 or $2 million has been reported.
Under the CARES Act passed on March 27, 2020, independent contractors, gig workers, and freelancers affected by the coronavirus crisis are eligible to receive the grant. The SBA sometimes refers to these grants as “advances,” but you are not required to repay this money to the government.
The application process involves filling out a simple SBA form requesting an Economic Injury Disaster Recovery Loan, which provides for the advance even if the loan is not granted.
Initially, $10 billion was allocated by the government for these grants, but due to the overwhelming amount of applications, the SBA suspended accepting new applications in mid-April 2020 due to a lapse in appropriations for the grants. But now the SBA has lifted the suspension because of legislation passed on April 24, 2020, that allocated another $60 billion for EIDL and grants thereunder.
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Who Is Eligible for the Grants?
The SBA disaster loans and grants include the following eligible claimants:
Independent contractors (for whom there is expanded eligibility criteria)
Sole proprietorships, with or without employees
Small businesses with less than 500 employees
You must have been in business as of January 31, 2020. The grants are available until December 16, 2020, but the SBA will quickly run out of money, so you should apply as soon as possible.