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By Debbie Gregory.

In a small business, everyone who works there is valuable. So when a worker who serves in the National Guard or the Reserves gets called up, it can be a hardship for the business, whether it’s the owner, the CEO or an essential employee.

In an effort to help small businesses when this happens, Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL) has introduced bipartisan legislation to improve existing Small Business Administration (SBA) programs offering loans and deferrals, which are currently underutilized due to a lack of awareness and because their eligibility restrictions do not fully reflect current deployment practices.

H.R. 7199, the National Guard and Reserve Entrepreneurship Act, would restructure these programs so that companies are eligible whenever a Guardsman is performing active services for more than 30 days, in contrast to current law which requires the Guardsman to be deployed “during a period of military conflict.”

The bill would also direct SBA to work with the National Guard and State Adjutant Generals to raise awareness of other SBA programs that would be helpful to Guardsmen or affected businesses, and to develop more targeted outreach.

The programs include:

• Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL), a direct loan program that provides emergency working capital to small businesses to meet their obligations until operations return to normal after the essential employee is released from active duty military

• Repayment Deferral for Active Duty Reservists (Repayment Deferral), which authorizes the SBA to work with private lenders to defer interest or loan repayment for small businesses facing similar situations.

“National Guard members and military reservists are an integral part of our armed forces and national defense,” said Schneider. “We should do everything we can to support their service. This bill makes current support programs at the SBA more accessible and efficient so more small businesses have support while members of their team fulfill their military service obligations.”

In 1546, writer, sildenafil John Heywood was credited for the phrase, viagra “Many hands make light work.” But for small businesses, especially Veteran owned small businesses, very few hands carry a majority of the load. The success or failure of a small business can easily be shaped by the presence or absence of its owner, or a key employee.

With the number of Reservists who own small businesses and have been called to active duty in support of their country, a significant number of them have seen their economic fortunes suffer as a result of their military service. But the good news is that there is relief for these entrepreneurs.

Small businesses that sustained economic losses due to their owner or a key employee being summoned to active duty can apply for a loan of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA provides Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) to small businesses affected by the absence of a critical military employee. Applications for MREIDL loans are accepted any time from the date that the member was notified of their call-up to one year after the date of discharge or release from active duty. The loans are designed to allow eligible small business to maintain a current balance on operating expenses that the business could have covered if the business owner hadn’t been called to active duty.

The MREIDL program is managed by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. The loan is a direct working capital loan, not meant to grow or expand the recipient business, but to maintain the funding of daily operations. It also can’t be used to replace lost profits or refinance long term debt. Interest rates on MREIDL loans are at 4%. No collateral is required to secure MREIDL loans of $50, 000 or less.

Interested Reservist business owners should visit the SBA’s MREIDL portal where they can find more information, including how to apply for the loan. Reservist business owners can also call the SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email the office at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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