Businesses might be missing out on disaster relief funds they did not know they were eligible to receive.
With a new mapping tool, business owners can determine if they are in a disadvantaged area targeted for $30 billion in relief funding. The U.S. Small Business Administration is relaunching its Economic Injury Disaster Loan, or EIDL, program, said Alejandro Contreras, director of preparedness, communication and coordination at the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance, during a webinar held last week.
“The low-income mapping tool I believe is really going to be an important tool for businesses, because many of them are probably not even aware that they’re in a low-income community that qualifies for this program, which could potentially provide them with up to $15,000,” Contreras said.
Applicants for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan may be eligible to receive up to $15,000 in SBA funding that does not need to be repaid. These “advances” are similar to a grant, but without the typical requirements that come with a U.S. government grant.
The Targeted EIDL Advance funding provides up to $10,000 for applicants with 300 or fewer employees in low-income communities that can demonstrate a 30% reduction in revenue during an eight-week period after March 2, 2020.
The Supplemental Targeted Advance provides a supplemental payment of $5,000 that does not have to be repaid for businesses in low-income areas with 10 or fewer employees that can show a 50% reduction in revenue for an eight-week period since March 2, 2020.
Businesses that have previously received an EIDL advance for the maximum $10,000 may still be eligible to receive the Supplemental Targeted Advance grant. A business could apply for an EIDL loan and choose not to accept the loan, but still be eligible for the Supplemental funds, which do not need to be repaid, Contreras said.
“They don’t have to be approved for the loan, and they don’t have to accept the loan if they are approved in order to move forward with a grant,” Contreras said. “They can still receive a grant even if they don’t receive the loan portion of the EIDL.”
A total of $30 billion has been allocated for the EIDL program, of which only about $1.5 billion has been spent, Contreras said.
The SBA initially focused on businesses that previously had applied but received no award when the program temporarily ran out of funds. In the coming weeks, the SBA is boosting its outreach efforts to contact businesses that previously had applied but did not receive funding.
“When the program was first enacted we were given priority groups that we focused on and those were businesses who had applied for EIDL assistance before Dec. 27, 2020 and maybe had received an EIDL advance last year in the spring of 2020 but didn’t receive the whole $10,000, or maybe received nothing at all,” Contreras said. “But now we’re opening it up to new businesses as well, so we want to make sure that everybody is fully aware.”
Businesses that were turned down previously are invited to provide documentation to show if an error had been made in their denial. Several applications were denied because the applicants incorrectly filled out their paperwork, Contreras said, cautioning business owners to take their time and carefully provide all information requested.