Federal and State Governments Offer Disaster-Relief Loans to Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 by Joseph L. Saka, CPA/PFS

Posted on March 16, 2020 by Joseph Saka

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced it will offer up to $2 million in low-interest disaster-recovery loans to support the nation’s 30 million small businesses suffering losses due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, the SBA will provide states and territories with federal aid to help qualifying small businesses and non-profit organizations in those jurisdictions alleviate economic injuries resulting from the pandemic. Loan recipients may use allocated funds as working capital to cover fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills required to maintain liquidity and continue operations in the wake of the pandemic’s impact. The SBA will provide specific information about disaster loan application requirements and processes to affected communities after a U.S. state or territory makes a designated disaster declaration.

The interest rate for SBA loans made to small businesses without credit available elsewhere is 3.75 percent; businesses with credit available to them from other sources are not eligible. The interest rate for loans made to non-profits is 2.75 percent. While the SBA determines loan terms on a case-by-case basis, depending on each borrower’s unique circumstances, most loans offer long-term repayment plans of up to 30 years, which make repayments more affordable for borrowers.

Relief for Florida Businesses

Beginning today, Florida small businesses with between two and 100 employees can also apply for a short-term, no-interest loan of up to $50,000 to bridge the financial gap until they can secure other sources of working capital, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is intended to help privately held companies in the state maintain operations through the COVID-19 pandemic. These one-year, interest-free loans of up to $50,000 per applicant require repayment. Any unpaid balance after the one-year period will incur interest at a rate of 12 percent. This is the 27th time the state activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program since it was first introduced in 1992 following Hurricane Andrew. For further questions, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 866-737-7232 or email

COVID-19 is having a profound effect on business and industry throughout the world. If you have questions or concerns about how you will be impacted or how you can better manage your business through this rapidly changing environment, please reach out to the advisors and accountants with Berkowitz Pollack Brant.

About the author: Joseph L. Saka, CPA/PFS, is CEO of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs, where he provides a full range of income and estate planning, tax and business consulting and compliance services, and financial planning expertise to entrepreneurs, high-net-worth families, family companies and business executives in the U.S. and abroad. He can be reached at the CPA firm’s Miami office at (305) 379-7000 or via e-mail at