2013 National Defense Authorization Act allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to guarantee surety bonds that are worth as much as $6.5 million. The old SBA limit for performance and payment bonds backed by the SBA was $2mm. This should help a lot of contractors qualify for surety bonds that could not do so without the support of the SBA.
Getting a bond approved by the SBA is no easy task. There is basic underwriting criteria that must be met, a plethora of information must be submitted and the process can take a lot longer than the non-SBA underwriting process.