The COVID EIDL program helped nearly 4 million small business owners receive critical funding at the height of the pandemic and brought the Small Business Administration (SBA) into public consciousness. Now the program has ended and millions of small businesses still need help to survive. As we near the 1 year mark of the program ending, we look back at the SBA COVID EIDL program: How did it end? Why did it run out of funding? And, what's next for entrepreneurs and small business owners — the backbone of the US economy — who still need help recovering.
For a more in depth history of what changes happened during the EIDL program Ryder covered a brief recap of the program in the video below.
The Beginning of the EIDL Program
In the spring of 2020 when the CARES Act was passed for pandemic relief, the COVID EIDL program was approved — with the goal of helping all US businesses get through the pandemic economic hardships.
Originally businesses could apply for up to $150,000 in funding and as part of that get "EIDL Advances" or grants, of up to $10,000.
Within those first several weeks, millions of US businesses and entrepreneurs were able to receive both EIDL Advances and EIDL loans.
EIDL Program Improvements Including Larger Loan Limits
The EIDL program had quick success but also major problems. Fraud was rampant in the early days. Billions of dollars in funding went to fake businesses. Income wasn't verified. In short, fraudsters took advantage of this program like so many other pandemic relief programs.
In 2021, the new SBA Administrator took over and a series of swift policy changes occurred:
- More verifications, including tax return verifications, were required for approval
- Loan limits were increased first to $500K, then to $2M
- Loan calculations were changed to 2 years of working capital
- Loan payment deferment was increased to 30 months from loan origination
The SBA Runs Out of EIDL Funding
With these major EIDL changes, millions of businesses went back to the SBA to ask for larger loan amounts. However, this process was not easy for some — who faced repeat EIDL increase denials, confusion in how to request reconsideration, or had issues with getting IRS documentation.
Despite the challenges, millions successfully were able to increase their COVID EIDL loan amounts, and as a result this quickly depleted available EIDL funding.
In early 2022, COVID EIDL funding was dwindling and a rush to secure funding ensued. In April 2022, for the vast majority of business owners, there was no more EIDL funding left.
Businesses Look To EIDL Alternative Funding Options
While the COVID EIDL program was a great low-interest 30 year loan option for small businesses across the US, it's far from alone.
Throughout the second half of 2022, millions of small business owners shifted their focus to other good funding options.
Here's a list of our top 5 funding options for 2023. If you're wondering what's the next EIDL program that will work best for you, go take a look through that post.