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economic injury disaster loans

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Guide for Small Business Owners

Update: A follow-up to the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act was passed on April 24, 2020. Find out what new relief is available.


There is a wide variety of financing options available for small businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is one of the new financing options available from the U.S. federal government, providing loans of up to $2 million. The following information is drawn primarily from a summary provided by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

If you are interested in larger financing options, the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) enacted on March 27, 2020. You can use this Coronavirus Government Relief Worksheet to determine if you may be eligible.


Coronavirus Government Relief Worksheet

Answer a few simple questions to find out what government relief could be available.


Components of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program

Loan advance: up to $10,000

Small business owners can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance of up to $10,000. The advance is meant to provide economic relief to businesses that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to the health crisis. Funds will be made available quickly and do not have to be repaid. The advance may be used to keep employees on the payroll, pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations (including debts, rent, and mortgage payments). 

Any small business located in the United States can apply for the advance. You must first apply for an EIDL before you may request the advance. 

Bridge loans: up to $25,000

Small business owners who have an existing relationship with an SBA Express Lender can use the Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program to access up to $25,000 with reduced paperwork. These loans are designed to quickly help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue caused by the health crisis. The Express Bridge Loan can be used to bridge the gap while waiting for a decision on (and disbursement of) an EIDL. Express Bridge Loans can be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from an EIDL. 

Economic Injury Disaster Loan: up to $2,000,000

EIDLs are lower-interest loans of up to $2 million—with the principal and interest deferred at the SBA’s discretion—that are available to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses. You can apply online for a disaster loan related to COVID-19. 

EIDL eligibility

Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees that fall into one of the following categories are eligible for an EIDL:

  • Sole proprietorships, with or without employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Cooperatives and employee-owned businesses
  • Tribal small businesses
  • Small business concerns and small agricultural cooperatives that meet the applicable size standard for SBA are also eligible (you will need your 6-digit NAICS Code and your 3-year average annual revenue), and most private non-profits of any size 

How to apply 

EIDLs are currently available from SBA lenders. You can apply for an EIDL online or contact your local SBA District Office when applying for SBA assistance. You can also find an SBA lender near you at SBA’s website. For questions about SBA disaster loans, contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Ask a lawyer

If you are unsure about how to access government assistance or need legal help due to the coronavirus crisis, we’re here to help. Get free legal advice and access key documents for protecting your business in our Coronavirus Legal Center. You can also reach the Rocket Lawyer CARES support team toll-free at (877) 885-0088, Monday through Friday, from 6am – 6pm PST.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

Erik Riegler, Esq.

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