SBA Disaster Loan Assistance for COVID-19

Nothing on this page constitutes legal or financial advice. Please consult an attorney or trusted financial adviser for support in making decisions about taking out loans.


The Small Business Administration streamlined the process to apply for Disaster Loan Assistance. This process is new and a lot is changing, but it sounds like people applying now are getting into the queue and early applicants may have a higher likelihood of receiving funds. You can find the Eligibility Verification Form here to begin the process of applying: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

***Even if you submit the Eligibility Verification Form, you are not obligated to accept a loan if you are approved. If you apply and the terms do not match your needs, you can withdraw your application.

Working with the Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA works with certified lenders, including banks and community development financial institutions (CDFIs) like nonprofit lenders and credit unions. Typically, by submitting the eligibility form you are matched with SBA lenders in your area you can choose from to begin the process of applying for a loan. Each lender has their own requirements and process, and the SBA must approve each loan before it can be disbursed. The SBA is trying to speed the process up, but typically these loans can take 3-4 weeks or more (sometimes many months) to complete.

Before applying, you may want to ask the lender for more information:

  • If I decide to withdraw my application, will that impact my credit score or is there any kind of penalty?
  • What percentage of this loan is eligible for loan forgiveness and/or what percentage is eligible for forbearance? Loan forbearance still requires repayment and you’re still (usually) responsible for interest accrued. The lender may also mention deferments, which delay your loan payments for a period of time, after which you generally have to pay the full deferred amount at once.
  • When is my first payment due? Some lenders require a loan payment right away and others don’t require payments for a few months.
  • What interest (if any) is being charged on this loan (what percentage)? What additional one-time or ongoing fees are part of this loan? (What is the total cost of this loan to me, the borrower?)
  • If I cannot afford to pay back my loan, what happens? Under what conditions would you consider a workout? (A workout lets you restructure your payments or defer payments for a period of time). Typically if you default on a federal loan, you become ineligible for other federal loans, including student loans and home loans. 
  • Is this loan being reported to a credit bureau (will it have an impact on my credit score)?
  • What questions should I have asked you that I haven’t asked about this loan or any repayment conditions?