The Small Business Administration, starting April 6, plans to triple its maximum loan amount and extend loan timeframes for businesses affected by the pandemic, the organization said Wednesday.


New limits allow applicants to receive 24-month loans, with a maximum loan amount of $500,000, the SBA said in a statement. Prior to the update, small businesses and nonprofits could only apply for six-month, $150,000 loans at maximum. Recipients also will have more time before they are to begin repaying.


Loans approved prior to the update may be eligible for an increase too, SBA said. The agency will contact businesses closer to its April 6 implementation date. Those still in the application process will automatically be considered under the new limits.


“More than 3.7 million businesses employing more than 20 million people have found financial relief through SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which provide low-interest emergency working capital to help save their businesses,” Isabella Casillas Guzman, SBA administrator, said in a statement. “However, the pandemic has lasted longer than expected, and they need larger loans.”


Sonya Blake, chief executive of the Valley Economic Alliance in Van Nuys, said: “Administrator Guzman is right on point by increasing support for small businesses. One thing we’re very concerned about is how our businesses are going to repay their increasing mountain of debt. We’d like to see increased support for generating sustainable revenue streams in ecommerce, procurement and contracting, and exporting as well.”


Small businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to apply for pandemic relief loans beyond the end of the year, SBA said, despite implementing a Dec. 31 deadline.


Questions about SBA pandemic relief can be emailed to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or directed to SBA’s customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing).