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How to apply for a COVID-19 EIDL

Follow these 10 steps to apply for government relief — until the program closes on December 31, 2021.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is a government-issued loan program for small businesses in states that have been impacted by the coronavirus. Unlike other Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs, applications are only available through the SBA disaster loan website. The SBA estimates that it will take around two hours to complete.

SBA expands COVID-19 EIDL program for business struggling with Delta variant

The SBA made a few changes to the COVID-19 EIDL in September 2021 to help companies cope with the Delta variant. Changes include:

  • Businesses that have already received an EIDL can apply for more funding, up to a total of $2 million in disaster assistance.
  • The maximum loan amount for an EIDL is now $2 million — up from $500,000.
  • The SBA is deferring payments for 24 months — up from 18 months. Existing loans with less than 24 months of deferment will also receive more time before payments start.
  • Businesses can now use the funds to pay off business loans. This includes federal loans and debt your business takes out after receiving an EIDL.
  • The SBA has simplified size requirements for certain industries, based on the requirements for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

The SBA will only be accepting applications for loans up to $500,000 until October 8, 2021. After that point, applications will be available for large loan amounts and businesses that have already received EIDL funding under $2 million.

Step 1: Make sure you qualify.

The SBA and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act expanded eligibility for this loan program since it was first launched.

  • Location. Disaster loans are available to small businesses in all US states and territories — previously you had to be in a declared disaster zone.
  • Size. For-profit businesses and agricultural cooperatives must either meet SBA size standards for their industry or have fewer than 500 employees.
  • Business structure. Sole proprietorships, nonprofits, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), agricultural and hospital cooperatives, and tribal businesses can also qualify — as long as they have fewer than 500 employees.
  • Time operating. Businesses must be operating as of January 31, 2020.
  • Credit score. You must have a credit score of at least 570 for loans of $500,000 or less. Loans over $500,000 require a 625 credit score.

Consider getting help with the application if it’s your first time

Making mistakes can get your application thrown out and waste valuable time. If this is your first time applying for government financing, consider reaching out to your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which can offer free assistance.

Many banks are also offering customers assistance with SBA disaster loan applications, though you still have to apply through the disaster loan website.

Step 2: Go to the COVID-19 application.

Go to the coronavirus disaster loan application on the SBA disaster loan website. Make sure it’s the application for businesses affected by the coronavirus — there’s a separate application for other SBA disaster loans.

It should say COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application at the top.

Step 3: Read the streamlined process requirements.

The SBA has changed its process a few times for these disaster loans since the start of the outbreak, so don’t skip this section. This is where you’ll find the most up-to-date information on your legal responsibility and how long it’s expected to take.

Step 4: Complete the eligible entity verification.

Select the option that describes your business — if none apply, you’re ineligible for a disaster loan.

Then, answer the eligibility questions about your business. If you answer “yes” to any question, you’re ineligible for an SBA disaster loan — with an exception for businesses that have filed for bankruptcy but are still operating.

Generally, you and your business must meet these criteria:

  • Not engaged in illegal activity according to federal law — including cannabis
  • No owner with 50% ownership or greater is more than 60 days late on child support payments
  • Agriculture industry applicants are either an agricultural cooperative, nursery or aquacultural enterprise
  • Doesn’t make significant revenue from adult entertainment of a sexual nature
  • Gambling makes up no more than one-third of business income
  • Not in the lobbying industry
  • Not an entity of the state, local or municipal government — or a member of Congress

Then, click Continue.

Eligibility Questions For An SBA Disaster Loan screenshot

Step 5: Provide information about your business.

In this section, you’ll provide basic information about your business.

Business name and registration

Fill in the fields with the following information about your business’s name and legal status:

  • Business’s legal name. The name you registered your business in — like Sharon’s Candles LLC.
  • Trade name. The name you use with customers, also called its “doing business as” (DBA) name — like Sharon’s Candles
  • Organization type. Select the type of business structure your company follows, such as an S corporation or general partnership.
  • Is the applicant a tribal small business concern? Select “yes” if your business is majority-owned by an Indian tribe. Otherwise, select “no” if your business isn’t
  • Business TIN Type. Businesses should select “employer identification number (EIN)” here. But sole proprietorships should select “Social Security number (SSN).”
  • Business TIN. Enter either your EIN or SSN.
  • Is the applicant a nonprofit organization? Check Yes if your company has 501(c), (d) or (e) tax-exempt status. Otherwise, check No.
  • Is the applicant a franchise? Franchise owners should check Yes. Otherwise, check No.
Business Information Application Screenshot

Primary Business Location and Mailing Address

Follow the instructions to enter the address business location that you included in your 2019 tax returns. If you didn’t file for taxes in 2019, then use the business address from your 2020 tax returns. This address cannot be a PO Box.

If the address is the same as your mailing address, check the box to automatically fill out the mailing address section of the application. Otherwise enter your business’s mailing address — which can be a PO Box.

Primary Business Location Application Screenshot

Additional business data

In this section you’ll add more basic information about your business:

  • Business phone number. Enter the number you officially use for your business. You can add another under the alternative phone number line.
  • Business email. Enter the email address you’ll be using for this application.
  • Date business in operation. Enter the date your business started making sales.
  • Current ownership since. Enter the date your business has been owned by the current individuals.
  • Business activity. Select the description of your industry and any applicable subindustry. If there is no subindustry that applies, select “none of the below.”
  • NAICS Code. Enter your business’s industry code — you can search for your industry code on the NAICS website, if you’re not sure what it is.
  • Number of employees. Enter the number of people that worked for your business as of January 31, 2020.
  • Current number of employees. Enter the number of people your business employs as of the date of this application.
Additional Business Data Application Screenshot

Business financial data

In this section, you need to provide information about your business’s finances. You’ll need your 2019 and 2020 tax returns handy for this section. Where to find the numbers you need depends on your business structure.

Self-employed

Line 1 of IRS Form 1040 Schedule C

Line 4 of IRS Form 1040 Schedule C

Not applicable

Self-employed (agriculture)

Line 9 of IRS Form 1040 Schedule F

Not applicable

Line 33 of IRS Form 1040 Schedule F

S-Corporation

Line 1a of IRS Form 1120-S

Line 2 of IRS Form 1120-S

Not applicable

C-Corporation

Line 1a of IRS Form 1120

Line 2 of IRS Form 1120

Not applicable

Cooperatives

Line 1a of IRS Form 11201-C

Line 2 of IRS Form 11201-C

Not applicable

Partnerships

Line 1a of IRS Form 1065

Line 2 of IRS Form 1065

Not applicable

Privately owned nonprofit

Line 12 of IRS Form 990

Not applicable

Line 18 of IRS form 990

Privately owned nonprofit (using EZ form)

Line 9 of IRS Form 990-EZ

Not applicable

Line 17 of IRS Form 990-EZ

Business Financial Data Application Screenshot

After you fill out the required information for this part of the application, the form will automatically calculate the amount you’re eligible to apply for. Under Applicant requested loan amount, enter any number of that amount or lower under. Then hit Next to continue.

Loan Amount Application Screenshot

Business contact information

Fill in the fields with the following information:

  • Primary business street address (not a P.O. Box)
  • City
  • State
  • County, if applicable
  • ZIP code
  • Business phone number
  • Alternative business phone number, if applicable
  • Business fax number, if applicable
  • Business email address

Time in business and activity

Answer the following questions about when your business was founded and its operations:

  • Date business established. Write the date your business was officially registered as mm/dd/yyyy.
  • Current ownership since. Write the date you or the current owner took ownership of the business as mm/dd/yyyy.
  • Business activity. Select your business’s industry from the drop-down list — for example, select Eating & Drinking Places if you have a restaurant.
  • Detailed business activity. Select the type of business you operate in your industry. For example, restaurants can now select Restaurant.
  • Number of employees. Write the number of people your business employed as of January 31, 2020 — not today.

After finishing this section, click Next.

Step 6: Complete the ownership information section.

In this section, you’ll provide information about business owners and any business entities that own it.

Business applicant parent entity

First, answer: Is your Business owned by a business entity?

If you check No, skip ahead to the Individual owner or agent section. Otherwise, check Yes and provide the following information about that entity:

  • Legal business name
  • Street address
  • City
  • State
  • Employer Identification Number
  • ZIP code
  • Business phone number
  • Business email
  • Business type (same as the organization type)
  • Ownership stake in your company

The business entity is also required to sign a guarantee on your loan.

Individual owner or agent

You’ll need to fill out this section for each business owner. Provide the following information:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Cell phone number
  • Title or office in the company
  • Percentage of ownership
  • Email address
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth, written mm/dd/yyyy
  • Place of birth
  • Citizenship status
  • Residential street address
  • City
  • State
  • ZIP code

To add another owner, click Add Additional Owner. Otherwise, click Next.

Step 7: Give contact information for anyone who helped.

If you filled the application out on your own, skip this step. But if you signed up for assistance from a bank, SBDC or received any other form of help from an individual, provide the following information:

  • Individual’s name
  • Name of the company they work for
  • Phone number
  • Mailing address
  • How much you paid them

Check Yes to allow the SBA to contact the person you received assistance from.

Step 8: Provide your bank account information and certify your application.

Provide the following information for the account where you’d like the SBA to send the funds:

  • Bank name
  • Account number
  • Routing number

Then, read the certifications and review the penalties for misapplying the loan. Check the box verifying the information you provided is true. Click Next.

Step 9: Review the summary and submit.

Read over the information you entered on your application to make sure it’s correct. Click the Edit button if you need to make any changes.

Check the box certifying that you’re not a robot and click Submit.

Step 10: Wait to hear back from the SBA for approval

You should receive a notification confirming that you’ve submitted your application, giving you an application number. Take a screenshot of this number or write it down for reference.

Some business owners have reported not receiving a confirmation email. Having your application on hand can make it easier if you reach out to customer service — which can be reached at 800-659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The SBA will then notify you through the email address you provided when you’ve been approved or denied.

Where to find more COVID-19 assistance

The EIDL is one of the only federal COVID-19 assistance programs still accepting applications. But you may still be able to find funding through your state and local government. The best way to find options available to you is to set up an appointment with an SBA affiliate like an SBDC. These offer free advice and help you decide which programs are worth your effort.

Fast alternatives to an EIDL

Like other COVID-19 relief programs, the EIDL can take weeks to fund. Some of these providers offer financing in as little as 24 hours to cover expenses while you wait for approval. While they may be more expensive than an EIDL, the SBA now allows you to use disaster loan funds to pay off business debt. Even debt you take on after applying for an EIDL.

Fill out the form with information about yourself and your business to compare lenders you might qualify for.

Name Product Filter Values Loan amount APR Requirements

Biz2Credit business loans
Finder Rating: 3.75 / 5: ★★★★★

Biz2Credit business loans
$25,000 – $6,000,000
Starting at 5.99%
6+ months in business; $100,000+ monthly revenue; 500+ credit score
Get only the capital you need through secure, prescreened lenders with this highly rated company offering SBA, expansion, working capital and other loans.

OnDeck short-term loans
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★

OnDeck short-term loans
$5,000 – $250,000
As low as 35%
600+ personal credit score, 1 year in business, $100,000+ annual revenue, active business checking account
A leading online business lender offering flexible financing at competitive fixed rates.

Fora Financial business loans
Finder Rating: 4.1 / 5: ★★★★★

Fora Financial business loans
$5,000 – $500,000
Varies
6+ months in business, $12,000+ monthly revenue, no open bankruptcies
Get qualified for funding in minutes for up to $500,000 without affecting your credit score. Best for companies with at least six figures in annual revenue.

Lendio business loans
Finder Rating: 4.75 / 5: ★★★★★

Lendio business loans
$500 – $5,000,000
Starting at 6%
Operate business in US or Canada, have a business bank account, 560+ personal credit score
Submit one simple application to potentially get offers from a network of over 300 legit business lenders.

ROK Financial business loans
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★

ROK Financial business loans
$10,000 – $5,000,000
Starting at 6%
Eligibility criteria 3+ months in business, $15,000+ in monthly gross sales or $180,000+ in annual sales
A connection service for all types of businesses — even startups.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan available to small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak has a more streamlined application process than typical SBA disaster loans.

Read our guide on how to finance your business during the coronavirus outbreak for more options. Or, check out our guide to small business loans.

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