February 24, 2021: BREAKING—Exclusive PPP Application Period for SMBs Starts Today

Gusto Editors

February 24, 2021

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Special Edition: It’s never been a better time to apply for PPP

This week, we’ve pushed up our Friday send to share some exciting news: The White House has announced several updates to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help get loans to previously excluded or underserved borrowers. The following changes will take effect immediately or be rolled out by the first week of March: 

  • From today through March 10, PPP loan applications will be open exclusively to businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees, which represents 98% of small businesses. This means less competition and dedicated support for the smallest businesses over the next two weeks.
  • The loan calculation formula will be revised for sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to secure them more PPP funding. Plus, $1 billion has been set aside for businesses in this category without employees in low- and moderate-income areas.
  • The new rules eliminate the restriction on applications from business owners with any non-fraud felony conviction in the last year.
  • Eligibility now also extends to small business owners who are currently delinquent or have defaulted within the last seven years on student loan debt.
  • PPP applicants can now use their Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) to apply. This expands PPP access to non-citizen small business owners who are lawful US residents, like Green Card holders or those here on a visa.

The takeaway: The administration has committed to these and other changes that will help get funding to the small businesses who need it most. If you fall into any of the above categories, consider applying (or re-applying) for a PPP loan within the 14-day exclusive application period from now through March 10.

Still skeptical about applying for a PPP loan? In this week’s release, the White House also called out improvements to the program from last year:

  • The share of funding going to small businesses with fewer than ten employees is up nearly 60 percent
  • The share of funding going to small businesses in rural areas is up nearly 30 percent
  • The share of funding distributed through Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions is up more than 40 percent

Ready to apply? Get started here.

Streamlined PPP forgiveness starts Mar. 5

If you’re still waiting on forgiveness for your PPP Round 1 loan, now is a good time to check in with your lender about your application. 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) will begin processing  new streamlined forgiveness applications for loans of less than $150,000 on March 5, 2021—and according to Gusto’s Legal & Compliance experts, many lenders are currently going through their backlog of forgiveness applications in preparation.

If you’ve already submitted a PPP forgiveness application, contact your lender to see if they can push through your old application, or if they’d recommend that you fill out the new streamlined forgiveness form.

Find more relief options to support your business in our Small Business Relief Finder.

Want more small business news and resources? Check out past editions in our archive.

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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