Congress Approves Paycheck Protection Program Extension
Lingering technical and administrative issues have had some business organizations calling for more time to apply.
Set to expire March 31, applications would be accepted until May 31.
The extension would also give the Small Business Administration an additional 30 days after the May deadline to process the loans.
The bill has already been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.
President Joe Biden, whose administration has expressed support for the program, is expected to sign the bill.
“The Paycheck Protection Program has served as a lifeline for many retailers and other businesses across the country, ensuring they can continue to pay their employees and keep their doors open,” said National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay in a statement following the Senate’s approval of the extension.
“Extension of the Paycheck Protection Program is vital to ensure that small businesses can continue to drive economic activity and job creation as we recover from this pandemic.”
Launched in April 2020 as part of a $3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the Paycheck Protection Program offers forgivable loans to small business owners.
Its rollout was fraught with issues, both administrative and technical.
Some of these issues are still plaguing the program, according to a March 15 letter from the NRF and nearly 100 other business groups.
In a letter voicing their support for the extension, the groups said members were “highly concerned” about processing issues, error codes, and application rejections related to issues with Taxpayer Identification Numbers.
“These delays and denials may put many applicants in danger of not making the March 31st authorization deadline,” stated the letter.
Even when the applications did go through, reports surfaced that the money was going to big businesses as mom-and-pop stores struggled.
The Biden-Harris Administration looked to address that issue by implementing some changes to the program in late February.
The updated program set aside a two-week period, from Feb. 24 to March 10, during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees could apply.
This group represents 98 percent of all small businesses but has received only 45 percent of PPP funding to date, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA).
The changes also provided greater support for self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, and independent contractors.
The problem surrounding the use of Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers was also addressed, with the SBA set to issue clear guidance to prevent eligible applicants from being denied access to the program.
To learn more about PPP or to apply, visit the SBA’s website.
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