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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) is the new stimulus measure that provides relief options for ophthalmology practices during the COVID-19 emergency.
The act expands the eligibility to access Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses with fewer than 500 employees and to any individual operating as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor. It also provides funds for emergency grants to be advanced to economic injury disaster loan applicants.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
These loans are available through the Small Business Administration and can be for a maximum of $2 million. They carry interest rates up to 3.75% for companies and up to 2.75% for nonprofits, as well as principal and interest deferment for up to four years. The loans may be used to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses.
You can apply for these loans on the SBA website. The SBA will work directly with state governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and nonprofits that have been severely affected by COVID-19.
Emergency Economic Injury Grants
The CARES Act included $10 billion in funding to provide advance emergency grants of $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that also apply for a SBA economic injury disaster loan. These emergency grants will be provided to applicants within three days of applying for the loan.
The grant is available to small businesses, including physician practices, private nonprofits, sole proprietors and independent contractors, tribal businesses, as well as cooperatives and employee-owned businesses. In advance of disbursing the advance payment, the SBA must verify that the entity is an eligible applicant for an economic injury disaster loan. To do this, applicants must certify with the SBA under penalty of perjury that they are eligible.
Whether you have already received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) unrelated to COVID-19 or you receive a COVID-19-related EIDL or Emergency Economic Injury Grant between Jan. 31 and June 30, 2020, you may also apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan.
If you apply for both types of loans, you cannot use them for the same purpose. For example, if you use your EIDL to cover payroll for certain workers in April, you cannot use a Paycheck Protection loan for payroll for those same workers in April, although you could use it for payroll in March or for different workers in April.
If you ultimately receive a Paycheck Protection loan or refinance an EIDL into a Paycheck Protection loan, any advance amount received under the Emergency Economic Injury Grant Program would be subtracted from the amount forgiven in the Paycheck Protection Program.
The emergency grant does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an economic injury disaster loan. The grant may be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. Eligible grant recipients must have been in operation on Jan. 31.
Disaster Loan Assistance. Small Business Administration
Apply for an economic injury disaster loan or an emergency grant.