The U.S. government has approved a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was signed into law late last year, is the second stimulus package, following the passage of the CARES Act in March of last year.

The second round of PPP loans, or PPP2, provides $284 billion in aid to small businesses suffering because of the pandemic. With PPP2, there are a few key differences from the first iteration. Here’s what you need to know:

Eligibility has changed

Unlike the first round, some 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organizations that have fewer than 300 employees may be eligible for funds if they meet limited lobbying requirements.

Businesses may qualify for a second loan

Businesses are eligible for a second PPP loan of up to $2 million if they have used up their first loan, have fewer than 300 employees, and experienced quarterly revenue declines of 25% in 2020 compared to the same quarter in 2019.

Additional expenses are covered

The first round of PPP stipulated that funds had to be used toward payroll, rent, mortgage, and utilities in order to qualify for forgiveness. PPP2 has added a few categories to that list, including operational expenditures, payments to suppliers, property damage costs resulting from public disturbances, and costs associated with protecting employees.

More time to use funds

The “covered period,” or the time the business was required to use the funds in order to qualify for forgiveness, was originally eight weeks. It was later amended to allow borrowers to chose a 24 week period. Under PPP2, borrowers have more options– they can choose any covered period between eight and 24 weeks.

Is it enough?

According to Greg Ott, CEO of Nav, a platform that matches small businesses with lenders, PPP2 is a “much-needed” improvement, but still falls short for some small businesses.

“The primary reasons for this,” he explains, “include the fact that the burden of navigating the complex and intimidating application process is too heavy for most small business owners struggling to survive day-to-day, the bill itself is written by people who don’t genuinely understand what these businesses need, and the traditional banking system simply isn’t set up to prioritize truly small businesses.”

“The new funds are certainly welcome, but it will unfortunately be too little and too late for many business owners,” Ott added.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

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