Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Appeals Process
Some small businesses who received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (the “PPP”) are getting the unfortunate news that the U.S. Small Business Administration (the “SBA”) has denied forgiveness of the loan.
This news could be devastating for many small businesses who relied on the loan to navigate difficult times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of an unfavorable decision, the loan must be repaid to the lender, plus interest. Fortunately, a reversal or modification of the decision can be sought by way of an appeal lodged with the Office of Hearings and Appeals for the SBA (the “OHA”).
An appeal must be filed within 30 calendar days of receipt of the final SBA loan review decision from the lender. The appeal must be filed online through the OHA’s website portal and it can only be filed by the borrower or the borrower’s attorney, generally (the owner of an entity borrower does not have standing to file an appeal). The appeal must include the following:
- a copy of the final SBA loan review decision being appealed;
- a full and specific statement as to why the SBA loan review decision is alleged to be erroneous, with all factual information and legal arguments supporting the allegations;
- the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the borrower or the borrower’s attorney.
During the appeal process, lenders are required to place the loan in forbearance status. The borrower must provide the lender with a copy of the appeal to benefit from this mandate.
While a borrower may have legit arguments to overturn a decision by the SBA, it is extremely important to fully comply with the specific procedural steps and deadlines set out by the OHA in appealing the decision (find the procedural rules here). The OHA can dismiss your appeal on a technically and never address the merits of why loan forgiveness was denied in the first place. Please consult with an attorney to assist you with this process. Adam M. Stumpf of Chehardy Sherman Williams Law Firm has assisted clients with application for PPP loans at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and is now assisting clients with appeals of SBA decisions.