App version: 0.1.0

Small Business Loans & Grants for Disabled Veterans

Small Business Loans & Grants for Disabled Veterans
Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward

Updated September 24, 2021
Share this article:
Editor’s note: At Lantern, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, we occasionally feature content that includes information about our partners and their products or services. We do not provide, endorse, or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendations—and our opinions are our own.
After serving in the military, many former service members find that launching a business is a natural transition. In fact, a recent survey of more than 3,000 entrepreneurs showed that veteran business owners felt their military career helped them prepare for entrepreneurship in the form of confidence, leadership ability, and discipline. But all business owners may eventually face the need for external financing, and that includes veterans. And disabled veterans who were injured in the line of duty do have some additional resources to tap into, as well as more traditional forms of business financing. Read on to explore the opportunities. 

Tips on Qualifying for Disabled Veteran Small Business Loans

As they would with any type of small business financing, disabled veteran business owners should focus on what makes the most sense for their financing needs when looking at loans and grants. The SBA Veterans Advantage Program, for instance, offers savings on fees for a variety of SBA loans. It’s important to have a plan in place so you know how much you need and what you plan to use the money for. Then you can narrow in on the most suitable small business loans.

Loans Available for Disabled Veterans

There are a number of small business financing opportunities designed with veterans in mind, regardless of their disability status, as well as options that aren’t exclusive to veterans but may appeal to them. 

SBA Veterans Advantage Program

The SBA offers the Veterans Advantage Program to reduce fees associated with its popular 7(a) loan program. For 7(a) loans less than $150,000, eligible veterans (regardless of disability status) get the SBA guaranty fee waived, along with the annual service fee. For SBA Express loans (which are less than $350,000), the program waives the guaranty fee.Non-7(a) Express loans may also be eligible for the veterans program and come with a 50% reduction of the upfront guaranty fee.

Military Reservists Economic Injury Disaster Loans

The SBA also offers a Military Reservists Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL). This can be used by any eligible company that cannot meet its normal operating expenses because an essential employee is called to active duty as a reservist. While this isn’t expressly designed for disabled veterans, the MREIDL is helpful for business owners who are committed to hiring the talents of other service members who still serve in a reserve capacity. The maximum amount for this type of veteran small business loan is $2 million and is determined by the SBA based on the actual economic injury sustained by the business.

Angel Investors

If you’re comfortable giving up equity in exchange for working capital, there are angel investors who specifically focus on veteran-owned businesses. For example, one is Hivers and Strivers. This angel investor firm provides early seed funding in amounts between $250,000 and $1 million. So not only is this an option for disabled veterans, it’s also ideal if your company is in the early start-up stage. Companies in its portfolio include Black Rifle Coffee Company, VetAccel, and True Made Foods.

Online Business Loans

You can apply for a small business loan online with any type of lender that looks like a match for your company. These loans are open to all business owners. Usually lending criteria include a certain amount of time in business and a minimum monthly or annual revenue. Funding is usually faster compared to other types of small business loans.

Small Business Line of Credit

A line of credit gives you access to working capital as you need it, rather than as the lump sum you’d get with a traditional business loan. It acts more like a credit card, allowing you to withdraw funds up to your credit limit. Interest accrues only on your outstanding balance.

Equipment Financing

Equipment financing is a type of funding that can help you purchase machinery and equipment. The benefit for using this as a small business loan for disabled veterans is that it uses the purchased equipment as collateral so you can minimize your responsibility for the loan. Typically, both new and used equipment is eligible for financing. Plus, you may be able to finance up to 100% of the total equipment cost, including soft costs like delivery. 

The Loan Process for Veterans with Disabilities

The loan process varies depending on the type of financing you choose. Online loans, lines of credit, and equipment financing likely have a shorter application and processing time. SBA loans and angel investors, on the other hand, typically have a longer approval period, meaning it takes longer to get funds.

Small Business Loans for Disabled Veterans With Bad Credit

It is possible to get a small business loan with bad credit, but you’ll probably experience some drawbacks. If your business has been around for more than a year, you may be more likely to get approved using your business credit rather than your personal credit score. If either score is poor, expect to pay higher interest rates. You may also need to supply more collateral than you would if you had good credit. If possible, you might want to add a co-signer to the loan to help strengthen your application.

Applying for Small Business Loans for Disabled Veterans in 6 Steps

The application process may vary depending on the lender and type of loan. Follow these steps to guide you through each decision you have to make. 
  1. Create a business plan: It’s important to know how you plan to use the funds and what type of outcome you expect. 
  2. Determine your needs: Once you know what you want to achieve, price it out so you have a specific funding request. You don’t want to get stuck with too little and not accomplish your goals. But you also don’t want to borrow (and pay for) more than you need. 
  3. Research lender eligibility requirements: Find out the criteria for different loan programs you’re interested in, such as time in business and annual revenue. This way you won’t waste time applying to lenders that aren’t a good fit. 
  4. Assemble required documentation: You’ll likely need both personal and business details, including financial statements and tax returns.
  5. Compare multiple lenders: As you complete your research, narrow down your list to the top lenders that match your needs. Find out if you can get a loan quote without impacting your credit score. 
  6. Choose the best loan option: Once you have rates, terms, and fees to compare, you’re ready to make a decision and submit your full loan application.

Small Business Grants for Disabled Veterans

In addition to loans for disabled veterans with small businesses, you can also look for disabled veterans business grants. Here are some places to start. 

GrantWatch

You may be able to find small business grants for veterans at GrantWatch. Search for grants based on filters such as:
  • Interest
  • Location
  • Funding source
  • Keyword 

Grants.gov

Grants.gov is a database that focuses on federal grants. Search by keyword, eligibility, funding instrument, agency, and/or category.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program

The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program through the SBA ensures that eligible businesses receive at least 3% of federal contracting dollars each year. In order to be eligible, 51% of the business must be owned by one or more service-disabled veterans.  

StreetShares Foundation

Another option to find small business grants for disabled veterans is through StreetShares Foundation, a nonprofit serving the military entrepreneurial community. You may apply to win a grant of up to $15,000. In addition to filling out the application form, you must also submit a two-minute pitch video in order to be considered. 

The Takeaway

Disabled veterans have a variety of financing resources to consider when growing a small business. In addition to taking advantage of grant programs and SBA financing discounts, consider all of your options through Lantern by SoFi. Get started today and start comparing rates from multiple lenders with one simple form. 
Photo credit: iStock/Martinns
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.SOLC0821157

About the Author

Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward is a personal finance expert with nearly a decade of experience writing online content. Her work has appeared on websites such as MSN, Time, and Bankrate. Lauren writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SoFi, including credit and banking.
Share this article: