In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organizations or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19.
Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance funds will be made available within days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING PARTICIPATION OF FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS IN THE PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) AND THE ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN PROGRAM (EIDL)
1. Are faith-based organizations, including houses of worship, eligible to receive SBA loans under the PPP and EIDL programs?
Yes, and we additionally clarify that faith-based organizations are eligible to receive SBA loans regardless of whether they provide secular social services. That is, no otherwise eligible organization will be disqualified from receiving a loan because of the religious nature, religious identity, or religious speech of the organization. The requirements in certain SBA regulations— 13 C.F.R. §§ 120.110(k) and 123.301(g)—impermissibly exclude some religious entities. Because those regulations bar the participation of a class of potential recipients based solely on their religious status, SBA will decline to enforce these subsections and will propose amendments to conform those regulations to the Constitution. Although 13 C.F.R. § 120.110(a) states that nonprofit entities are ineligible for SBA business loans (which includes the PPP program), the CARES Act explicitly makes nonprofit entities eligible for the PPP program and it does so without regard to whether nonprofit entities provide secular social services.
2. Are there any limitations on how faith-based organizations can use the PPP and EIDL loan money they receive?
Only the same limitations that apply to all other recipients of these loans (such as that loan forgiveness will cover non-payroll costs only to a maximum of 25% of the total loan to a recipient). The PPP and EIDL loan programs are neutral, generally applicable loan programs that provide support for nonprofit organizations without regard to whether they are religious or secular. The CARES Act has provided those program funds as part of the efforts to respond to the economic dislocation threatened by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Under these circumstances, the Establishment Clause does not place any additional restrictions on how faith-based organizations may use the loan proceeds received through either the PPP or the EIDL loan program. See, e.g., Religious Restrictions on Capital Financing for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 43 Op. O.L.C. __, *7–15 (Aug. 15, 2019); Authority of FEMA to Provide Disaster Assistance to Seattle Hebrew Academy, 26 Op. O.L.C. 114, 122–32 (2002). In addition, the CARES Act does not impose unique burdens or limitations on faith-based
3. How will churches qualify if have not been informed of tax-exempt status by the IRS? Do organizations have to request and receive tax exempt status or just meet the requirements of 501(c)(3) status to be eligible?
Churches (including temples, mosques, synagogues, and other houses of worship), integrated auxiliaries of churches, and conventions or associations of churches qualify for PPP and EIDL loans as long as they meet the requirements of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and all other PPP and EIDL requirements. Such organizations are not required to apply to the IRS to receive tax-exempt status.
4. Will my organization be sacrificing its autonomy or its First Amendment or statutory rights if it requests and receives a loan?
No. Receipt of a loan through any SBA program does not (1) limit the authority of religious organizations to define the standards, responsibilities, and duties of membership; (2) limit the freedom of religious organizations to select individuals to perform work connected to that organization’s religious exercise; nor (3) constitute waiver of any rights under federal law, including rights protecting religious autonomy and exercise under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993
5. What legal requirements will be imposed on my organization as a result of our receipt of this Federal financial assistance? Will those requirements cease to apply when the loan is either repaid in full or forgiven? Receipt of a loan through any SBA program constitutes Federal financial assistance and carries with it the application of certain nondiscrimination obligations. Any legal obligations that you incur through your receipt of this loan are not permanent, and once the loan is paid or forgiven, those nondiscrimination obligations will no longer apply.