The Biden administration just announced additional relief for small businesses (including many freelance photographers) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is modifying the rules of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by upping the amount of money sole proprietors can receive and implementing a two-week freeze on loans to companies with 20 or more employees. The two-week freeze begins Wednesday, February 24.
Before Biden took office, many sole proprietors couldn’t get substantive loans because they didn’t turn a profit after expenses. Thousands of applicants were left out in the cold — or received loans as tiny as $1 — because their businesses were unprofitable.
Now, the focus is on a small business’ gross revenue; the calculations, done before expenses are deducted, allow unprofitable businesses to be eligible for loans. The SBA will be releasing the new formula soon.
In accordance with this more lenient approach to loan eligibility, the SBA is altering other PPP guidelines to widen the pool of qualified applicants. People who have recently been convicted of a felony that isn’t fraud-related are eligible to apply, as are individuals who are delinquent or have defaulted on federal student loan debt. Finally, the SBA has clarified that business owners who aren’t U.S. citizens but are lawful residents are eligible for these loans.