PPP loan written on a chalkboard

President Biden signed into law Tuesday the PPP Extension Act of 2021 (H.R. 1799), which extends the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program application deadline to May 31 and extends the authorization of loans to June 30. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a 415–3 vote and was approved in the Senate by a 92–7 vote.

The PPP was created by Congress in March 2020 to help employers struggling to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic. As of March 28, the program has approved more than 8.7 million loans totaling more than $734 billion since it was created, according to Small Business Administration data. For all 2021 loans by the program, 78.4% are for $50,000 or less, and the average loan is $59,000. At least 130 senior living operators have taken advantage of the loan forgiveness program.

“Small business is the backbone of our economy, representing almost 50% of all the employees in America,” Biden said at the signing event.

Earlier this month, several lawmakers sent a letter to SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman asking for emergency rulemaking to allow previously eligible long-term care facilities and senior living communities to access the PPP’s “second-draw” loans. December’s Economic Aid Act streamlined the program’s eligibility criteria, preventing many smaller and regional operators from qualifying for additional loans. With help from Argentum, the letter helped garner the support of an additional 32 members of Congress requesting the administrative change. 

“The ability to continue serving seniors is very much in jeopardy as a result of the ineligibility of some to access second-draw loans,” lawmakers wrote. “Indeed, 90% of nursing facilities are operating at a loss, and two-thirds of those providers report that they will be unable to sustain operations over the next year under present conditions. Similar financial challenges confront half of senior living communities. It is estimated that the LTC industry is expected to lose $94 billion over two years due to the pandemic. The need for second-draw PPP loans could not be more urgent.”