Frustrated, self-employed, and left behind by SBA loan programs

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‘Our government has failed us’: Frustrated, self-employed, and left behind by SBA loan programs

Like many businesses across Ohio, Nathan’s Barber Shop in Marion County was ordered to close its doors amid the coronavirus pandemic. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has since extended the state’s stay-home order until at least May, and Nathan Riddle, the shop’s owner and operator, is running out of options. It’s been more than a week since he filled out the application for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Administration—but he has yet to hear back from the agency.

“I think the worst part in all of this would be our local government telling us that we are mandated to shut down, and then give absolutely zero clarity on how or when we will receive any assistance,” Riddle says.

His frustration is echoed by countless sole proprietors, self-employed workers, and independent contractors across the United States who say they are being left behind by loan programs meant to provide them with relief from the effects of COVID-19. In addition to the SBA’s disaster loan assistance, these workers—some running businesses in which they are the sole employee, and others working on a contractor basis as 1099 employees—were supposed to qualify for loans under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which allocated $349 billion for small business relief and was expanded to self-employed workers on Friday.

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