US venue owners considered 'dead' by government, denied Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

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  • Due to bureaucratic issues, some applicants have been shut out of the $16 billion relief fund.
  • US venue owners considered 'dead' by government, denied Shuttered Venue Operators Grant image
  • As venue owners across the US begin to receive their Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, some applicants are being met with unsettling news. The Small Business Administration-led fund, which offers over $16 billion in grants to closed venues, has been rejecting applicants because they've been considered "dead." Bob Hansan of Washington-based piano bar Bobby McKey's, The New York Times reports, received an email that opened, "Your name appears on the Do Not Pay list with the Match Source DMF." The issue responsible for this notification was false death data recorded in the Social Security Administration's Death Master File. Club owners like Hansan have been wrongly reported to be dead, making them ineligible for the grant. Founder of New York venues Bowery Ballroom and The Mercury Lounge, Michael Swier, was also told he was considered dead by the government. "What do I do? What kind of proof do they need?" Mr. Swier told the Times. "Can I say over the phone, 'It's me?'" The recent setback follows a major glitch in the grant application system back in April, which led to zero applications coming through on the first day applications opened. 13,000 people have applied for the grant, collectively requesting a sum of $11 billion. Eligible grant applicants can qualify for funds equivalent to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue. The maximum amount that can be awarded to a single venue is $10 million.