Q: Are there any limitations on how faith-based organizations can use the PPP and EIDL loan money they receive?
A: Only the same limitations that apply to all other recipients of these loans (such as that loan forgiveness will cover non-payroll costs only to a maximum of 25% of the total loan to a recipient). The PPP and EIDL loan programs are neutral, generally applicable loan programs that provide support for nonprofit organizations without regard to whether they are religious or secular. The CARES Act has provided those program funds as part of the efforts to respond to the economic dislocation threatened by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Under these circumstances, the Establishment Clause does not place any additional restrictions on how faith-based organizations may use the loan proceeds received through either the PPP or the EIDL loan program. See, e.g., Religious Restrictions on Capital Financing for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 43 Op. O.L.C. __, *7–15 (Aug. 15, 2019); Authority of FEMA to Provide Disaster Assistance to Seattle Hebrew Academy, 26 Op. O.L.C. 114, 122–32 (2002). In addition, the CARES Act does not impose unique burdens or limitations on faith-based organizations. In particular, loans under the program can be used to pay the salaries of
ministers and other staff engaged in the religious mission of institutions.
This Q&A was based on information contained in the SBA’s “Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Participation of Faith-based Organizations in the Paycheck protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)” dated 4/3/2020. This CARES Act / SBA / PPP related issuance which addresses faith based organizations, including houses of worship (such as a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue) may be found here: https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/SBA%20Faith-Based%20FAQ%20Final.pdf