President Joe Biden is slated to unveil changes to the Paycheck Protection Program on Monday (February 22). The changes, according to NBC News, will help get more small and minority-owned businesses qualified to receive relief amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Biden administration, at least 400,000 small businesses have permanently closed during the pandemic. Black-owned businesses are among those worst hit by the economic fallout of the pandemic, with a closure rate twice that of white-owned businesses, according to a report by Forbes.
The changes to the program would also help those who are self-employed and contractors, US residents, and business owners who have convictions that aren’t fraud related, according to Biden administration officials.
Businesses that employ less than 20 employees will be able to apply for relief funding during a two-week window beginning March 9.
During Donald Trump’s presidency, the program had helped large businesses, sparking backlash from leaders including Biden. To prevent a repeat, Biden officials say the changes in the program will specifically help women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses, and rural businesses.
Since the program reopened a month ago, the Biden administration has reported a nearly 60% increase in funding to businesses with less than 10 employees, and an almost 30% increase in relief to rural businesses. The program relaunched with fraud protections put in place, too.
The program is set to end on March 31.
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