PPP Loan Changes Came Too Late for Smallest Businesses

Ruben Onsu

As Congress considers extending the government’s flagship small business coronavirus-aid plan, some of the smallest businesses want government officials to make some recent changes in the program retroactive. “These changes that they’ve done are supposed to be to help someone like me, and they’re not,” said Lorraine Lyman, who owns […]

As Congress considers extending the government’s flagship small business coronavirus-aid plan, some of the smallest businesses want government officials to make some recent changes in the program retroactive.

“These changes that they’ve done are supposed to be to help someone like me, and they’re not,” said Lorraine Lyman, who owns Savvy Success Unlimited, an Oakland, Calif., career coaching and college admissions consulting firm.

Ms. Lyman, 45, runs her business as a sole proprietorship and moved quickly to get a second loan through the Paycheck Protection Program when the initiative reopened in January. That was before the Biden administration announced changes to how the program calculates funding amounts for sole proprietors and other very small businesses.

She estimates the changes could have resulted in a $20,833 loan, versus the nearly $7,800 she received. But current guidelines don’t allow borrowers to seek additional funding if their loans were finalized before the first week of March, when the changes took effect.

Ms. Lyman, who is Black, said she was particularly disappointed because the Biden administration has said the changes were meant to help minority-owned small businesses, which tend to have few or no employees. “It feels like a kick in the gut,” she said.

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