The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was one of the pillars of the stimulus program the U.S. government enacted earlier this year to help small businesses keep afloat during nationwide lockdowns. However, today is the last day for small businesses to apply for PPP loans, which may be entirely forgivable under certain circumstances.
As The New York Times reports, to date the PPP has given out $520 billion in loans to businesses. The loans allowed businesses to keep their workers employed and paid during the initial lockdowns, and if the funds were spent within a certain amount of time, the loans could be entirely forgiven.
But the rules of PPP loan forgiveness changed during the program’s runtime, which led to confusion among small businesses. At first, businesses would be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness if they used the entirety of the loan they received in two months. However, that time was later extended to six months as it became clear the pandemic wasn’t going to go away any time soon.
Uncertainty around the rules of loan forgiveness is one of the factors that lenders say contributed to the Paycheck Protection Program still having $130 billion in its coffers for needy businesses. Yet under PPP rules, businesses that want access to that remaining cash need to make their loan application by today. At the end of the day, any unused funds in the PPP program will be held by the Treasury as lawmakers debate how best to use those remaining funds to help small businesses as lockdowns ease and the economy reopens.
To date, the PPP program has dished out loans to almost 5 million businesses across America.