SBA raises pandemic loan limit to $2 million

SBA loans

Revised rules widen uses for funds; business owners can apply now

The Small Business Administration has altered guidelines for the Covid Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to support businesses – including franchises – still hurting because of the pandemic, particularly restaurants, gyms and hotels. Small businesses may now receive as much as $2 million in EIDL loans, and the SBA is ready to receive new applications immediately. 

In announcing the changes Sept. 9, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said, “We’ve retooled this critical program – increasing the borrowing limit to $2 million, offering 24 months of deferment, and expanding flexibility to allow borrowers to pay down higher-interest business debt. We have also ramped up our outreach efforts to ensure we’re connecting with our smallest businesses as well as those from low-income communities who may also be eligible for the companion Covid EIDL Targeted Advance and Supplemental Advance grants totaling up to $15,000.”

Business owners who received loans through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) or Shuttered Venue Operators Grant are eligible for additional benefits from Covid EIDL relief. To learn more about the application process, visit

Here’s a look at the highlights of Guzman’s announcement:

  • The EIDL loan limit went from $500,000 to $2 million. 
  • Small businesses, nonprofits, and agricultural businesses in all U.S. states and territories can apply.
  • Funds can be used for operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, equipment purchases and repayment of debts. Pandemic EIDL funds may now be used to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.
  • The SBA has set up a 30-day exclusivity window for approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans exceeding $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period. 
  • Applications will be accepted now through Dec. 31. Applicants are encouraged to apply ASAP.
  • Small-business owners can delay repayment of EIDL loans for up to two years.
  • The SBA no longer has an application backlog so reviews should be swift. It has expedited loan processing from about 2,000 applications daily to more than 37,000 applications per day. Loan officers now review 15 applications per day compared with fewer than two per day previously. As a result, the agency has cleared a backlog of more than 600,000 applications. 

More than $150 billion is available in Covid EIDL funds, and a recent Goldman Sachs survey found that it is severely needed. The survey of 10,000 small business owners found that 44% reported they had less than three months of cash reserves; only 31% said they were confident they could access new funding.

Visit to learn more about eligibility and application requirements for Covid EIDL loans. For additional information on Covid EIDL and other recovery programs, please visit or call 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing) or email for assistance. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. Multilingual representatives are available. Small business owners may also contact SBA’s Resource Partners by visiting

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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