What to know about the Paycheck Protection Program: Small-business loan questions answered

(Courtesy Fotolia)
(Courtesy Fotolia)

(Courtesy Fotolia)

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced March 31 new details about the Paycheck Protection Program, which is intended to help small businesses retain employees during the nationwide spread of the coronavirus. Many local businesses have been closed in recent weeks following orders from local and state officials.

Learn more about the program details below.

Is my business eligible?

The program is for small businesses with less than 500 employees; however, small businesses in the hospitality and food industries with more than one location may be eligible if the location employs less than 500 workers, according to the SBA. Other businesses can check the size of their business here.

How do I apply?


Business owners can apply though existing Small Business Association lenders, federally insured credit unions, federally insured depositories and through farm credit system institutions. Other lenders will be able to make these loans once they are enrolled. Individual businesses are advised to check with their local lenders.

When can lenders start approving loans?

April 3

Can the loans be forgiven?

Loans from the SBA will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. At least 75% of the forgiven amount must be used for payroll costs, according to the SBA.

Additionally, forgiveness also depends on the employer maintaining or rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. If an employer lowers wages or fires employees, the full loan amount will not be forgiven. The program mandates employees must be kept on the payroll for at least eight weeks.

When do I have to repay?

Loan payments will be deferred for six months. The two-year loans have an interest rate of 0.5%

When is the deadline to apply?

June 30

What other options do I have?

Business owners in each state are eligible to apply for disaster assistance as well as other debt-relief programs from the SBA.

Business owners can see a sample of the loan application form below.

By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


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