On Wednesday, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that federal economic injury disaster loans are available to small businesses, small ag cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations. The qualifier: That business must be in a county covered by the federally-declared disaster designation.
That's going to be easy since most counties in the Northeast U.S. were ravaged by of the combined effects of drought, excessive heat, and damage resulting from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee between April 1 and Oct. 31, 2011. By virtue of being in counties contiguous to Maryland, even Delaware's Kent, New Castle, and Sussex counties qualify.
"The Small Business Administration recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at county or state lines," says Frank Skaggs, director of SBA's Field Operations Center East in Atlanta. "For that reason, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included."
Under this declaration, the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. But, except for aquaculture enterprises, farmers aren't eligible to apply to SBA. However, nurseries are eligible. Farms are covered under separate USDA disaster programs.
Loan amounts can be up to $2 million, with interest rates of 3% for non-profit organizations and 4% for small businesses. Terms can be up to 30 years.
The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. The agency sets loan amounts and terms based on each applicant's financial condition.
These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.
Disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA's website at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
Those affected by the disaster may also apply for disaster loans electronically from SBA's website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than July 16, 2012.