The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. This loan was created in the CARES Act and is administered by the Small Business Administration. The first round authorized $349 billion in forgivable loans. As of April 16, 2020, that first round of funding provided 1,661,367 loans for small businesses across the country. Congress later passed into law a second $310 billion round of PPP funding and applications went live on Monday, April 27th.

On April 24th, the office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle held a webinar detailing the PPP. The question and answer session was provided at the end of the webinar is below along with the information provided in the slide presentation.

Q: Can I include independent contractors in my application for this program for my employment expenses?
A: No, they must apply separately because they are considered separate entities. Only wage employees are applicable.

Q: Are there any other county level programs?
A: Cook County is currently assessing programs that have been announced by the federal government, state government, and Chicago city government. Cook County is looking for types of small businesses that are falling through the cracks, funding wise. A loan fund will be launched in the near future with a $10 million-dollar initial seed. We will target it to suburban Cook County businesses with 25 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in local revenue

Q: What are the differences between EDIC (SBA disaster loan) and PPP? Can I apply for both?
A: Yes, you can apply for both. The economic injury loan is something that was already established under the SBA. The PPP is a new program that provides $10,000 dollar grant upfront. That amount is taken out of the total amount you receive in your PPP loan.

Q: Are independent contractors eligible for Cook county funds?
A: Yes, they are eligible. Half of eligible income must be in 1099 work and they must make less than $100,000 annually.

Q: My regular bank denied my application. What are my options moving forward?
A: Understand why you were declined, first. Work with an appropriate contact to see if other organization could be of help. Only two reasons a bank would deny- eligibility and/or lack of documentation.

Q: My primary concern for my business expenses is rent. Is PPP the right program?
A: Probably not. PPP is designed for companies that have payroll expenses as their primary expense. Only 25% of the total loan proceeds can be used for rent. You don’t want to be stuck with a large loan to pay back because your loan isn’t forgiven as you didn’t pay enough for payroll expense.

Q: Can I still apply if I haven’t filed my 2019 taxes yet? Is there a required credit score?
A: You cannot use 2018 taxes. You must use 2019 taxes. Your credit score is not part of the determination.

Q: There are people who run a small business and hire themselves as an independent contractor. Can they apply twice?
A: No, they cannot apply twice. Each tax id number can only apply once.

Q: My bank said they are no longer accepting applications. Should I look to another bank?
A: Look to your community lenders and smaller lenders first. New SBA loans won’t start for a few more days. Get your applications in the queue.

PPP presentation

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