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Covid-19 Business Relief


Información en espanol.

Assistance from federal programs can make a world of difference for small businesses suffering economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the United States government agency that provides support to small businesses, and is expected to expand its offerings to address this crisis.

The SBA is currently offering the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.  Additionally, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on Friday, March 27th. This bill expands the EIDL and authorizes additional SBA programs to provide financial relief for small businesses.
Congress passed a bill approving a re-funding of the PPP and EIDL programs under the CARES Act on Thursday, April 23, and the president signed the bill on Friday, April 24, 2020.  The ICA Group will be providing up-to-date information on SBA programs for the business community, particularly employee-owned businesses.

The CARES Act helps prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic through small business loans, small business debt relief, and pay-roll tax relief:

1. Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program


Special Considerations for Cooperatives


2. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)


Special Considerations for Cooperatives


3. Small Business Debt Relief


4. Payroll Tax Relief


Read ICA’s Summary of SBA Programs and Application Guidance


FAQ for Immigrant-Owned Worker Cooperative Businesses on Federal Coronavirus Funding

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Navigating SBA Programs

As you review the programs that you may be eligible for, here is important information to keep in mind:

1. SBA loans are designed to be as accessible as possible, so don’t be afraid to apply and work with the SBA, even if you have bad credit or lack of collateral.

2. There is no cost to apply for SBA programs.

3. You’ll need to gather the following information. While these documents don’t all need to be submitted with the application, the information from them will help you fill out the necessary forms. Additionally, these documents might be requested to process your application. If requested, the SBA asks applicants to provide them within 7 days of the request.

  • Most recent Federal Tax Return
  • Year-End (2019) Profit and Loss Statement
  • A current Year-to-Date Profit and Loss statement
  • Monthly breakdown of sales figures


4. According to the SBA, the biggest reason for delays in processing is due to missing information. Double check all filing requirements to ensure that all forms are completed before submitting your application. If your application is incomplete, you will be notified about what is missing, but you will fall back in the queue of applications.

5. Submit your (completed!) applications as soon as possible. It typically takes one month for a loan application to be processed and approved. Apply for the EIDL program now. Do not wait for other programs to be offered before applying for what currently exists.

6. Make sure to use the same contact information (business name and name of all owners) that you use on your federal tax returns.

7. If your loan is approved, you are not obligated to accept the funds. Therefore, it’s worth applying now, even if you’re not 100% certain that you’ll need a loan.

8. SBA programs have an appeals process. If you are denied from a program, know that “no” is not always the final answer. If your request for an SBA loan is denied, you will be given up to six months to provide new information and submit a written request for reconsideration.

9. Discrimination is illegal. SBA programs are available to all who are eligible. If you believe you have experienced discrimination when obtaining services from SBA, you may file a complaint with the SBA.

10. You can get assistance from the ICA Group.  We know that navigating these programs can be overwhelming and confusing. Please know that you can email covid19relief@icagroup.org if you need help navigating the application process.

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Economic Injury Disaster Loan program

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is an existing SBA program that provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing due to COVID-19. EIDLs are working capital loans that can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had COVID-19 not occurred. EIDLs are not intended to replace lost sales or profits for expansion.

In determining loan size, SBA will look at the last three years of historical financials to determine what the business could have paid if the disaster would not have occurred. The interest rates are 3.75 percent for small businesses. Loan repayment is deferred for twelve months, though interest accrues during this period. SBA offers EIDLs with long-term repayments, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

The CARES Act:

  • Expands eligibility for access to EIDLs to include Tribal businesses, cooperatives, and ESOPs with fewer than 500 employees or any individual operating as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor
  • Gives SBA more flexibility to process and disperse smaller loans
  • Waives personal guarantee requirements for loans up to $200,000 for all businesses, including cooperatives
  • Allows eligible businesses that apply for EIDL to request an advance on that loan, in the form of Emergency Grants, which the SBA must distribute within three days of the request. Emergency Grants offer an advance of up to $10,000 to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave, meet increased costs to obtain materials, make rent or mortgage payments, and/or to repay obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses. The bill establishes that applicants shall not be required to repay advance payments, even if subsequently denied for an EIDL loan.

  • Allows SBA to approve and offer EIDLs based solely on an applicant’s credit score, or use an alternative appropriate method for determining the applicant’s ability to repay.


Who is eligible for EIDLs?

EIDLs are available to small businesses (including cooperative businesses and ESOPs with fewer than 500 employees), sole proprietors, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses, and most non-profit organizations in all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and territories.

In order to qualify, businesses must satisfy SBA’s small business definition, which is defined as a business with not more than 500 employees, or the applicable size standard for the industry as provided by the SBA. The size standard is usually stated as a number of employees or average annual receipts, and represents the largest size that a business may be to remain classified as a small business for SBA. The SBA offers a size standards tool to help businesses determine whether they fit the SBA definition of small.  

Many factors go into qualifying for an EIDL, but a primary one is that a small business has to show a loss effective January 31, 2020, to now and/or in the future, as compared to 2019 financials. 

EIDLs over $25,000 require collateral. SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available. The SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but requires borrowers to pledge what is available.

Guarantee requirements are waived on loans up to $200,000 to all businesses. The SBA may require personal guarantees on EIDLs above $200,000.

What is the application process for an EIDL?

To apply for an EIDL, visit the SBA EIDL application website. Read through the site to learn about process requirements. The streamlined application process requires you to:

1. Verify that you are an eligible entity.

2. Fill out “Business Information” section, which includes questions on business legal name; trade name; EIN; organization type; gross revenues for the twelve months prior to 01/31/2020; cost of goods sold for the twelve months prior to 01/31/2020 (leave blank if this is not relevant for your business); primary business address, phone number, and e-mail address; date business established; current ownership since; business activity; and number of employees (as of 01/31/2020).

3. Fill out “Business Owner Information” section for each Owner/Agent, which includes questions on owner’s name; phone number; title; ownership percent; email address; SSN; birth date; place of birth; whether they are a U.S. Citizen; and residential address.

4. Complete the “Additional Information” section, which requires you to disclose any criminal offense record.

5. Select whether you would like to be considered for an advance of up to $10,000, and fill in information about where to send funds (bank name, routing number, and account number). These funds should be distributed approximately 3 days after your application is submitted, though the high volume of requests may cause delays.

6. Submit your application. The SBA estimates that loans will be processed within 30 days after submission and that loans will be distributed approximately 5 days after that. The entirety of the loan will not be distributed as one lump sum, and instead in

The SBA disaster assistance customer service center is available to help applicants 24/7 via phone (1-800-659-2955) or e-mail (disastercustomerservice@sba.gov). Free assistance with reconstructing financial records, preparing financial statements and submitting the loan application is available from any of SBA’s partners. For the nearest office, visit: https://www.sba.gov/local-assistance.

How do you apply for an EIDL emergency advance grant?

EIDL emergency grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to borrowers within three days of applying for an EIDL. To access the advance, you must first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance may be available even if your EIDL application was declined or is still pending, and will be forgiven. If a business receives BOTH an EIDL advance AND a Payroll Protection Loan the EIDL advance will be subtracted from the PPP forgiven amount (see more info below).

Emergency grants are backdated to January 31, 2020 to allow those who have already applied for an EIDL to be eligible to also receive a grant. If you have already applied for an EIDL and wish to apply for the Advance, you need to fill out a new, streamlined application. In order to qualify for the Advance, you need to submit this new application even if you previously submitted an EIDL application. Applying or the Advance will not impact the status or slow your existing application.


If your business received the EIDL AND the PPP, the advance money must be rolled into the PPP. Any money you receive through EIDL as an advance is essentially deducted from the PPP loan, and you must either pay that money back through the PPP or apply it to the forgivable portion of the PPP loan.

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Special Considerations for Cooperatives


  • Personal guarantees are waived on EIDLs up to $200,000 to cooperative businesses.
  • Funds procured from an EIDL cannot be used for patronage.
  • The first section of the EIDL application requires you to verify that you are an eligible entity. Cooperatives should select “cooperative with not more than 500 employees.” 

  • The “Business Owner Information” section of the application asks for information about each Owner/Agent of the business. The application will allow up to 5 owners to include their information. If your cooperative has five or less members, include each member as an owner and provide the required information for each member. 
  • The “Business Owner Information” section asks for an SSN. An ITIN may be used in lieu of a SSN. 

  • If your cooperative has more than five members, one member of your cooperative with authorization to apply (i.e. the CEO, General Manager, or a member of the Board of Directors), should fill out the “Business Owner Information” section.

  • It is unclear how SBA will use the personal information provided by the member filling out the application. There is a chance that a credit check could be run on individual member-owners, which could affect that individual’s personal credit score. Providing personal information on the application does not mean you are providing a personal guarantee for the loan.

  • When you submit your application there will be an option to upload documents to support your application. The SBA recommends submitting an addendum that explains the cooperative ownership structure of your company and documentation authorizing the filing member to fill out the application on behalf of the cooperative. Not all SBA employees are familiar with the structure of a cooperative and having an explanation of your company’s structure could cut down on processing time by answering questions that may come up. The cooperative should also keep a resolution from the board on file that documents that the filer is authorized to apply for the EIDL.

  • The ICA Group is providing templates for both the recommended addendum and resolution for your reference:

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Paycheck Protection Program

The CARES Act authorizes $350 billion in support loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a new program under SBA’s 7(a) loan program. PPP loans are intended to help businesses cover their near-term operating expenses and provide a strong incentive for employers to retain their employees.

The program offers loans of 250% of the employer’s average monthly payroll, with a maximum loan size of $10 million to cover fixed operating costs like payroll (including employee salaries up to an annual rate of pay of $100,000, hourly wages and cash tips, group health insurance premiums, paid sick or medical leave) and rent, utility, and mortgage interest obligations.

PPP loans will be forgiven in an amount equivalent to the sum spent on eligible fixed operating costs during an 8-week covered period that starts the day the PPP loan is dispersed to your business. The purpose of the PPP is to help you retain your employees, at their current base pay. If you keep all of your employees, the entirety of the loan will be forgiven (at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll; not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be used for non-payroll costs). If you still lay off employees, the forgiveness will be reduced by the percent decrease in the number of employees. Any amount forgiven will be excluded from gross income for tax purposes.

Any loan amount not forgiven at the end of one year is carried forward as an ongoing loan with a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 1%. Additionally, payment is automatically deferred for 1 year, and no fees or prepayment penalties apply to paycheck protection loans.

PPP loans will be available through SBA-certified lenders, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.


Who is eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program?

Small businesses (including cooperative businesses and ESOPs with fewer than 500 employees), sole proprietors, independent contractors (including “gig economy workers), other self-employed individuals, 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, 501(c)(19) veteran’s organizations, and Tribal businesses are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.

In order to qualify, businesses must satisfy SBA’s small business definition, which is defined as a business with not more than 500 employees, or the applicable size standard for the industry as provided by the SBA. The size standard is usually stated as a number of employees or average annual receipts, and represents the largest size that a business may be to remain classified as a small business for SBA. The SBA offers a size standards tool to help businesses determine whether they fit the SBA definition of small. 

The bill waives the “credit elsewhere” test for funds, as well as collateral and personal guarantee requirements typically provided under 7(a). It also provides “delegated authority” which is the ability for lenders to make determinations on borrower eligibility and creditworthiness without going through all of SBA’s channels. This delegated authority applies to all current 7(a) lenders who make these loans to small businesses and provides that same authority to lenders who join the program and make these loans. 

For eligibility purposes, the bill requires lenders to determine whether a business was operational on February 15, 2020, and had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes, or a paid independent contractor, instead of determining eligibility based on repayment ability, which is not possible to determine during this crisis. 

Importantly, the bill provides a limitation on a borrower from receiving PPP assistance and an EIDL through SBA for the same purpose. However, if you received an EIDL loan related to COVID-19 between January 31, 2020 and the date at which the PPP becomes available, you would be able to refinance the EIDL into the PPP for loan forgiveness programs. Remaining portions of the EIDL, for purposes other than those laid out in loan forgiveness terms for a PPP loan, would remain a loan. If a business receives BOTH an EIDL advance AND a Payroll Protection Loan the EIDL advance must be rolled into the PPP. Any money you receive through EIDL as an advance is essentially deducted from the PPP loan, and you must either pay that money back through the PPP or apply it to the forgivable portion of the PPP loan.

What is the application process for the paycheck protection program?

SBA-approved lending institutions began accepting PPP loans on Friday, April 3rd, and each bank has their own system for processing applications, which they provide information about on their websites. Banks had stopped accepting applications when the first round of PPP money ran out, but began accepting applications again when PPP was refunded.

The final application is available online for reference. Applicants are instructed to use this version of the application even if they’d previously filled out a different version of it. Additionally, applicants are instructed to provide exact numbers, not rounded numbers.

You’ll be able to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program at any lending institution that is approved to participate in the program through the existing U.S. SBA 7(a) lending program and additional lenders approved by the Department of the Treasury. This could be the bank you already use, or a nearby bank; if the bank where you have an established relationship is an SBA-approved lender, you should apply for PPP through them instead of trying to establish a relationship with a new bank. You can call your bank or find SBA-approved lenders in your area through SBA’s online Lender Match tool.

In order to apply, businesses will have to prove that they were operational on February 15, 2020, and make a “good faith certification” that the loan is necessary due to conditions caused by COVID-19 and that they will use the funds to retain workers and maintain payroll, lease, and utility payments. Applicants must also certify that they are not receiving duplicative funds for the same uses from another SBA program. 

When you apply, you must also submit documentation of your payroll backing up your amount. This can be payroll processor records, payroll
tax filings, or Form 1099-MISC. For borrowers that do not have any such documentation, the borrower must provide other supporting documentation, such as bank records, sufficient to demonstrate the qualifying payroll amount.

Other information requested with your application will vary by bank. You may be asked for any of the following documentation for your application to be processed:

  • Articles of incorporation/organization
  • Bylaws/operating agreement
  • All owners’ drivers’ licenses
  • IRS forms 940 and 941
  • Payroll summary report with corresponding bank statement (If not available, employee pay stubs as of Feb. 15, 2020 with corresponding bank statement and breakdown of payroll benefits)
  • 1099s (for independent contractors)
  • Certification that all employees live within the U.S.
  • Trailing 12-month profit and loss statement (as of the date of application, so for February 2019 – March 2020)
  • Most recent mortgage or rent statement/lease
  • Most recent utility bills

We recommend that you start assembling these documents now and be ready to submit them when you submit your application.


The United States Department of the Treasury recently released an FAQ outlining important information about the PPP application and the forgiveness process.

What documentation will you need to submit for loan forgiveness?

The PPP loan is eligible for forgiveness at the end of the 8-week period after you take out the loan. Borrowers must work with their lender to apply for forgiveness and verify covered expenses and the proper amount of forgiveness.

It is recommended that applicants approved for a PPP loan begin immediately to compile the documentation needed for the forgiveness application, which will be due 8 weeks after receipt of funds.

SBA recently released an application and instructions on how small businesses can apply for PPP forgiveness. The Loan Forgiveness Application form has four components: (1) the PPP Loan Forgiveness Calculation Form; (2) PPP Schedule A; (3) the PPP Schedule A Worksheet; and (4) the (optional) PPP Borrower Demographic Information Form. Borrowers must submit (1) and (2) to their Lender. As with the PPP application, you should work with your bank to understand their requirements for this application and any other information they’ll want to collect from you.

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Special Considerations for Cooperatives

  • The “Applicant Ownership” section of the application asks for information about each owner of the business with 20% or more of equity. If your cooperative has five or less members, include each member as an owner and provide the required information for each member.
  • If your cooperative has more than five members, consult with your lender. You may use one member of your cooperative with authorization to apply (i.e. the CEO, General Manager, or a member of the Board of Directors), or some banks will accept the name of the cooperative as the “owner”.

  • It is unclear how SBA will use the personal information provided by the member filling out the application. There is a chance that a credit check could be run on individual member-owners, which could affect that individual’s personal credit score. Providing personal information on the application does not mean you are providing a personal guarantee for the loan.

  • When you submit your application there will be an option to upload documents to support your application. The SBA recommends submitting an addendum that explains the cooperative ownership structure of your company and documentation authorizing the filing member to fill out the application on behalf of the cooperative. Not all SBA employees are familiar with the structure of a cooperative and having an explanation of your company’s structure could cut down on processing time by answering questions that may come up. The cooperative should also keep a resolution from the board on file that documents that the filer is authorized to apply for the PPP.

  • The ICA Group is providing templates for both the recommended addendum and resolution for your reference:

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Small Business Debt Relief 

The Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act requires SBA to pay all principal, interest, and fees on all existing SBA loan products for six months to provide relief to small businesses negatively affected by COVID-19. The bill also requires SBA to encourage lenders to provide deferments and extend maturity of SBA loans in deferment beyond existing limits. 

What loans are eligible for Small Business Debt Relief? 

All existing SBA loan products are eligible for small business debt relief, including 7(a) loans not made under PPP, 504, and Microloan programs. The new Paycheck Protection Program loans are not covered. Additionally, the SBA is required to still make payments even if the loan was sold on the secondary market.

For borrowers with loans already on deferment, they will receive six months of payment by SBA starting at the first payment after the deferral period. Loans made up until six months after enactment will also receive a full 6 months of loan payments by the SBA.

What is the application process for Small Business Debt Relief?

Debt relief is automatic, but you should check in with your lender. Under the CARES Act, the SBA is directed to make payments within 30 days of the day on which the first payment is due.

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Payroll Tax Relief


As part of the CARES Act, the IRS will be offering refundable tax credits for small businesses. Businesses may apply a 50% refundable credit towards their payroll tax liability, up to $10,000 per employee each calendar quarter. Tax relief will not be available for businesses who have taken a Payroll Protection Program loan.


Deadlines for businesses to pay employer payroll taxes for 2020 have also been delayed. Half of employer payroll taxes are due on December 31, 2021, and the remaining amount is due on December 31, 2022.


Who is eligible for tax relief?

Businesses that suffer from suspended operations or experience at least a 50% decrease in gross receipts compared to the same quarter in 2019 are eligible. They will be able to access the credit until the business recovers to 80% of gross receipts compared to the same quarter in 2019. The credit is effective for wages paid after March 12, 2020 and before January 1, 2021.


However, qualifications differ for employers of different sizes. For employers with more than 100 full-time employees, qualified wages are only those paid to employees during the period that the employees are not providing services due to certain COVID-19-related circumstances. For employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees, all employee wages paid during the applicable period qualify for the credit, whether or not the employee is providing services to the employer.

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More Covid-19 resources and information for businesses and individuals