When can you apply for a CARES Act loan?

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The US Treasury Department has published improved guidelines and set dates when small businesses can begin applying for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans under the $ 2,000 billion CARES Act Phase III Stimulus Program in Aid, Relief and economic security (CARES).

Any small for-profit business with fewer than 500 employees is eligible for a CARES Act loan. The government made it clear that all CARES Act loan terms will be the same for each applicant. The federal government has set aside $ 349 billion for this paycheck protection program.

The CAREs Act loan amounts will be canceled as long as:

  • The loan proceeds are used to cover salary costs and most mortgage interest, rent and utility costs during the 8 week period after the loan is granted.
  • Employee and compensation levels are maintained.

Salary costs are capped at $ 100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee. Due to a likely high subscription, it is expected that no more than 25% of the amount donated could be for non-salary costs. Loan repayments will be deferred for 6 months.

Set of application dates

Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole traders can apply for and receive CARES Act loans to cover their payroll and certain other expenses through existing SBA lenders.

Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed people can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and certain other expenses through existing SBA lenders.

(Editor’s note: It’s unclear exactly how the government distinguishes between a “sole proprietor” and a “self-employed person,” but this is likely related to how the business is incorporated.) Other regulated lenders will be available to provide these loans as soon as they are approved and enrolled in the program.

Where to apply for a CARES Act loan?

Small businesses can apply through any existing SBA lender or any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and participating farm credit system institution. Other regulated lenders will be available to provide these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program.

The loan application is available here.

Manufacturers and integrators should consult with their local lender to determine if they participate in the CARES Act loan program. Visit www.sba.gov for a list of SBA lenders.


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