Was Your PPP Loan $150k or Less? Apply for PPP Forgiveness Directly Through the SBA Portal

Gusto Editors

The SBA direct PPP forgiveness portal will open on August 4, 2021. 

Some good news came out of the SBA this week: those who have borrowed $150,000 or less from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) can apply for PPP loan forgiveness directly through an SBA portal. This new program (called “direct forgiveness”) is aimed at streamlining and simplifying the PPP forgiveness process, and according to the SBA, will “help rush relief” to the small businesses that need it most. 

The majority of small businesses waiting for PPP forgiveness have debt under $150,000, so this streamlined forgiveness program will have a significant impact on borrowers. Lenders (meaning: banks)  are required to opt in to the program by registering at this link.  

PPP direct forgiveness details

Borrowers will be able to apply for direct forgiveness at the SBA portal starting on August 4, 2021. In order to work through the application process, you will need: 

  1. Your EIN, SSN, or ITIN number
  2. Your SBA Loan Number
    • This is a 10-digit number that was assigned by the SBA. You can find this number on your loan agreement or loan closing documents; if you can’t find it, contact the lender or call the SBA at 1(877)552-2692. Keep in mind that this is not the Lener PPP Loan Number, which was assigned by your lender. The SBA Loan Number was assigned by the SBA. 
  3. Be prepared and know which covered period you used (8 weeks, 24 weeks, or other) 
  4. Your gross receipts amount for 2019
  5.  Your gross receipts amount for 2020
  6. The number of employees you had when you applied for your PPP loan
  7. The number of employees you have today
  8. The amount of your PPP loan you spend on payroll
  9. The amount you are requesting for forgiveness

As you work through the application within the portal, the system may request that you upload certain documents—however, in many cases, you will not be required to submit any documentation. 

The SBA has created a step-by-step guide to the forgiveness application process, if you need help or hit a snag, call the helpline at: 1(877) 552-2692, Monday through Friday, 8 A.M. – 8 P.M. EST.

Commonly asked questions

Does this mean that the SBA will be making the decision on whether a PPP loan will be forgiven? Is the lender no longer the decision-maker on this? 

No. The lender will still make the decision. The SBA is just facilitating the process and making it simpler. 

What if I submit my forgiveness application through my lender and through the SBA portal?

Try not to do this. You should only submit one application for PPP forgiveness, but if this happens, contact your lender. Your lender will likely dismiss one of the applications. 

I only borrowed a first-draw PPP loan; can I still use the SBA direct forgiveness portal to apply for PPP forgiveness?

Yes. Both first and second-draw loan borrowers may use the portal to request forgiveness. The only requirement is that your loan amount was $150,000 or under. 

Does my lender need to opt-in to this direct forgiveness program?

Yes. If you, the borrower, wish to use the direct forgiveness SBA portal, the bank or institution from which you borrowed the PPP loan must opt into this program and register for it through the Institution Settings in the portal. 

Is there a cost to the lender to opt-in to this direct forgiveness program?


Can lenders opt-out of the direct forgiveness program?

Yes. Even if a lender has opted in, they may change their minds and opt-out at any time. 

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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