WASHINGTON—Businesses and non-profit groups with fewer than 20 people have one more day to take advantage of an exclusive application window apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans.
While this opportunity ends March 9 for very small businesses, they still can join all businesses and continue to apply for funding through the end of the March.
Businesses now also face less-restrictive rules covering PPP involving income, certain prior felony convictions, student loan delinquencies and eligibility for immigrants, according to the SBA.
New rules enacted by the Biden administration uses a gross income formula instead of net income formula to determine eligibility, said Patrick Kelley associate administrator of the Office of Capital Access in the U.S. Small Business Administration. "This is a really important change," he said on a webinar discussing the program.
Using a gross income formula in the application process is less restrictive and will open access to the program to more applicants.
PPP also is open to ex-felons who have not been convicted of fraud-related crimes. This change, Kelley said, is consistent with a bipartisan Congressional proposal.
Business owners with delinquent federal student loans also are eligible to apply for PPP funding after previously being excluded, he said. Delinquent student loan borrowers previously were disqualified from the program.
New rules also clarified that eligible immigrant-owned small businesses who are lawful U.S.-residents, but not citizens, now have access to PPP by using their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
"Small businesses are the engine of our economic progress," President Biden said when detailing changes to the PPP. "They're the glue and the heart and soul of our communities. But they're getting crushed. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 400,0000 small businesses have closed—400,000—and millions more are hanging by a thread."
"Getting our economy back means bringing our small businesses back. And that's what we're going to do," Biden said.
While PPP is slated to end March 31, Biden said his American Rescue Plan—the $1.9 billion relief package that includes $1,400 individual stimulus payments—includes $50 billion to support hard-hit small businesses beyond that date.