Biden changes PPP rules. For 2 weeks, only businesses with less than 20 employees are eligible for pandemic relief loans.

  • Biden changes PPP rules so only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for loans.

  • The restriction will last two weeks from Wednesday.

  • The president is expected to officially announce the changes on Monday.

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President Joe Biden is expected to modify the main US coronavirus relief package for small businesses on Monday to try to reach minority-owned small businesses and sole proprietors left behind in previous rounds of aid.

Biden administration officials said that for two weeks starting Wednesday, the Small Business Administration will accept applications for the Paycheck Protection Program’s forgivable loans only from businesses with fewer than 20 employees, to ensure that they are not crowded out by larger companies.

Experts said demand for loans is slowing as businesses reopen.

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When the program launched in April, its initial $349 billion ran out within two weeks. Congress approved an additional $320 billion in May, but the program expired in August with about $130 billion in funds unused.

The program was relaunched in January with $284 billion in new funding from a coronavirus aid bill signed into law in late December. A Biden administration official said about $150 billion in PPP funds were still available.

But administration officials said many minority-owned businesses and very small businesses in low-income areas were unable to receive assistance.

The changes are designed to make it easier for businesses without employees – sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed workers such as housekeepers and personal care providers – who previously could not qualify due to business cost deductions. .

The Small Business Administration is set to revise the rules to match the approach used to allow small farmers and ranchers to receive assistance.

Officials said the program would also set aside $1 billion for businesses without employees in low- and moderate-income areas, mostly owned by women and people of color.

The SBA plans to provide new guidelines that make it clear that legal residents of the United States who are not citizens, such as green card holders, cannot be excluded from the program. The Biden administration has said it will eliminate exclusions that bar a defaulting student loan business owner from participating in the program.

Business owners with non-fraud felony arrests or convictions in the previous year are excluded from the program, but Biden administration officials have said they will pass bipartisan Senate proposals to remove that restriction unless the applicant is currently incarcerated.

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