As of Nov. 18, the agency had approved about $300 billion in loans and grants, but more money is available. „It`s a mess. They never have a specific answer for us,“ Christian Friese, co-owner of Dynamic Promotions Inc. — a company that sells accessories available on the back of smartphones in Georgia — told Yahoo! Finance in an interview. Thanks to the EIDL, the SBA still has „billions of dollars more available to companies that continue to face uncertainty and challenges,“ Isabella Guzman, director of the SBA, told Yahoo Finance this week. Last week, the SBA updated the EIDL guidelines for applications for loans, advances and appeals. The agency touted the billions of dollars still available for COVID-19 help. However, as with other SBA recovery programs with high intentions and high demand, business owners have struggled to control the process to get the help they need. Time is running out for businesses to get COVID-19 support from the Small Business Administration (SBA), as the ramp-up of a new variant brings more uncertainty to the economic recovery. „These centers help companies prepare their capital, prepare for the market and develop strategies that really help them compete,“ she added. „The SBA has increased its EIDL processing capacity to 37,000 applications per day, or 22 times more.
The SBA has a proven processing time of about two weeks for most EIDL requests, provided the business owner responds promptly to requests for additional information,“ a spokesperson told Yahoo in a statement. The program has been „revised to improve treatment so that we can transfer these funds to small businesses that need affordable, patient capital of up to $2 million. These programs are available by the end of the year and we want to make sure that as many small businesses as possible have access to them, as well as the grants if you are in a low-income area,“ she added. At the beginning of the pandemic, the CARES Act allowed the Small Business Administration to approve emergency disaster loans without a tax record so as not to delay financial assistance to struggling businesses. But the SBA is looking at this information again, with the IRS still grappling with a backlog of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, thousands of other business owners have shared similar stories via the online platform Reddit. However, the SBA said it fixed the issues early in the summer and is now processing thousands of applications every day. The Economic Disaster Loans Program (LTS) was created to financially assist small businesses in meeting the financial obligations and operating costs impacted by the pandemic.
It is aimed at establishments that are still suffering from the epidemic, especially hard-hit areas such as restaurants, gyms and hotels. „If your business needs this type of financing, be sure to apply for these funds as soon as possible,“ Guzman said. Meanwhile, two Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee targeted the SBA`s ability to lend directly. With nearly $2 trillion in the recently passed Build Back Better (BBB) Act, the stakes for small businesses could be high. In the letter, lawmakers also quoted the SBA inspector general as saying „serious concerns about possible fraud in the economic disaster loan and early grant programs“ of the 2020 reports. Nevertheless, the agency defended its track record and loan criteria. The program expires on December 31; However, the SBA encourages businesses in low-income areas to apply for the $10,000 targeted advance grant by the end of the year, and then the final additional $5,000 targeted advance grant, Guzman said. „These grants unfortunately have to be processed by the end of the year, so if you think you`re eligible, you`ll need to apply by Dec. 10,“ Guzman added. However, requests for LTIS and targeted advance received by the end of the year will continue to be processed after that date until all funds are exhausted.
„The SBA has a proven track record of direct lending through our emergency disaster loan programs. However, gaps in access to capital for the smallest and most underserved communities persist, and direct lending will continue to be a tool to reduce barriers to entry for the opportunities and resources needed to thrive,“ an SBA spokesperson told Yahoo Finance in a statement. .