President Joe Biden early Monday announced a series of changes to the Paycheck Protection Program designed to make the program more accessible to underserved borrowers. The changes:
- Starting Wednesday, February 24, 2021, only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for loans for a two-week period.
- The way loans are calculated will be revised so businesses without employees get more relief. The previous calculation — based on payroll — made the program ineffective for sole proprietors and independent contractors, including many businesses of color. The Biden administration also will set aside $1 billion in PPP loan funds for businesses without employees in low- and moderate-income areas.
- The elimination of an exclusion that prevents business owners with non-fraud felony convictions from accessing the program.
- The elimination of an exclusion that prevents business owners who are delinquent on federal student loans from accessing the program.
- Non-citizen small-business owners who are lawful U.S. residents will be able to apply for loans using individual taxpayer identification numbers.
PPP, the Small Business Administration’s principal pandemic-relief program, is scheduled to run through March 31.